Saturday, July 17, 2004


Cuomo Disses Edwards

During the Q&A section after a recent speech about Lincoln - his new book is called 'Why Lincoln Matters - Mario Cuomo was asked (first question) who Kerry should pick for VP (BTW, C-SPAN happened to air this a day before Kerry made his announcement). Notwithstanding his token attempt at circumlocution, it was very clear what he meant: Kerry shouldn't pick Edwards. Cuomo - of all people - did allow that, yes, the ability to give a good speech is important (!), and yes, you have to win to govern, but suggested that Kerry needed someone with....wait for it....gravitas, like Gephardt or Clark. He cited what he called Edwards' "one skimpy little term in the Senate", and finished with the crowning insult: the implicit comparison of Edwards to Dan Quayle, whom Cuomo then, bizzarely, claimed to know to be a 'very intelligent guy'.

What tha'...?

Now, I'm surely not alone in long-thinking that Cuomo has always been a bit overrated - his 12 years as Gov. of NY were not really notable; I admire him for his decency and principled opposition to the death penalty, but he was not a remarkable Governor. But this is a new, and sort of touching, crank-dom. A gratuitious branding of Edwards as a 'lightweight'. Isn't it amazing how often our particularly elective criticisms of others apply perfectly to ourselves? Cuomo's star has fallen while Edwards' is rising - Edwards even has the 'speechifying' skills which were Cuomo's only real claim to fame.

Perhaps Mario is just getting old. It's happens to us all. But I wouldn't expect him to be very high-profile at the Dem. convention.

suswah writes, "Tim Russert asked Cuomo about his presidential aspirations during the MSNBC interview. He replied that he was not really good enough for that job. I don't know if that is false modesty. Or really how he feels." Kind of heartbreaking, really. The intention of this post is not to sneer at Cuomo, but rather to spark serious thought about the failures of the Dems and liberalism in the last 25 years; for many, Cuomo is still an icon, the best Dem of all ('if only Cuomo had run for pres.'). Clearly one necessary step is to - humanely - question our conventional wisdom now and then.

(I couldn't find a transcript for Cuomo's speech, but here is an attempt at a link to the video. The Q&A starts at about 41:25)

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