Soon after putting up my last, insubstantial post, I checked out the news to discover that quintessential New York liberal Mario Cuomo has died. While I was really too young to appreciate "Uncle Mario", as my mom would facetiously refer to him, while he was governor, his legacy as a liberal giant who stood up for working people and assiduously opposed the death penalty, was something I came to admire. Roy, an astute observer of all things New York as well as All Things political, posted a wonderful memorial and Jimmy Vielkind of Capital New York wrote a beautiful wrap-up of other political figures' remembrances of the man.
In 1983, Governor Cuomo spoke out against the inhumane "small government" policies of Ronald Reagan (which really boiled down to small government for the little guy, and a huge defense boondoggle, naturally):
“Of course, we should have only the government we need. But we must have..all the government we need. A society as blessed as ours should be able to find..shelter for the homeless, work for the idle, care for the elderly and infirm, and hope for the destitute.”
He expanded on this theme in his speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention:
Thirty and a half years later, this speech sounds as timely as ever. Sadly, Governor Cuomo's son, Governor Cuomo, has decided to cast himself as a "Republican lite", all too eager to embrace the "austerity" route. I think Andrew lost his way somewhere between Albany and Albany.
Rest in peace, Zio Mario, you were a liberal titan, the like of which we need now more desperately than ever. Addio!