Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cuomo Hedges on Obama


Here's looking at you, Dems. Geraldine Ferraro (top), former VP candidate, brayed like a donkey. Mario Cuomo (bottom), former NY governor, orated like a statesman. Coming onto November, the Democrats might weigh Cuomo's comments.

I've already held forth on Ferraro. She has marginalized herself back to another century and seems to speak like a 19th Century man. For a view from another angle, over at The Root, Marjorie Valbrun brings down the class and privilege hammers in Black Women Are Not Feeling the Feminists' Pain. She tears the rag off the bush.

For a jollier treatment, head over to Lunch with the FT: Mario Cuomo. This is just the latest in an addictive series of conversations with famous folk in all areas of business, politics, the arts and beyond. You even get to see what they ate and drank, and what it cost.

The wonderful Financial Times has an odd fixation with food and drink. Their weekend edition has impossible-to-source recipes from a famous chef, Rowley Leigh — the recipe equivalent of those movie critics who write primarily to show they've seen and analyzed everything, you plebe. On the top end though, the casual tabletop chats over lunch are masterworks of eavesdropping.

Cuomo is a Clinton leaner, whose son, NY AG Andrew Cuomo, has endorsed Hillary. Yet, his one voiced trepidation about Obama's candidacy is a much sharper expression than the same idea by others.

His version is worthy of consideration even to those of who who disagree. Regular readers here know that I am a bit nervous about a President Obama stumbling as our governor, Deval Patrick, has in not being able to get consensus from the incumbent reactionaries. Yet, I believe that this is a chance well worth taking.

As background, be aware that Cuomo is not some isolationist who fears immigrants. He sees America as having benefited from each wave of newcomers, not a melting pot but a mosaic in his terms. He adds that either Clinton or Obama can win because we are "open to excellence of all kinds." He thinks Americans are not so bigoted as to reject a great candidate.
"I honestly, objectively conclude, a good Greek-American could have won: Dukakis. A good Italian could have won: Giuliani – given the correction of certain moves. A good Irishman: obviously Kennedy. A good black … I don’t think there’s any question." A woman? "Absolutely."
In that light, were he is nervous about Obama related to that oft-quoted aphorism he coined, "You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose."

He told the editor, Chrystia Freeland:
Obama can give a speech. He’s very, very strong personally. His persona is wonderful, just like Reagan. Reagan went out there and said, "Morning in America", we’re going to change everything. That’s all he had to say because everybody was unhappy with the previous period. So they’re unhappy with the previous period now...Nobody promised better than Reagan and what he offered us was an utter failure.
Coming up for voters in Pennsylvania and the remaining primary states, and particularly superdelegates, will face that optimism/cynicism choice. Both sides on this have fallen back to the I'm-only-being-realistic pose of those who must rely on gut feelings. Clinton's camp promises she offers solutions and not speeches, despite her scant and spotty record of achievement. Obama's asks us to trust and hope, the standard progressive slogans.

Those would be two very different presidencies. After being beaten and burned by GOP controlled for stymied Congresses and the past seven years of abject failure, this nation is certainly as ready for big changes, as they were in electing Reagan. Yet, do we go for the wonk or the crusader?

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