Saturday, January 3, 2015

So let it be with Mario Cuomo

The evil that men do lives after them:
He was rendered such a museum piece that the current governor of New York, who only is Mario Cuomo's son, is unrecognizable as his political heir. […]

Now Mario Cuomo is dead, and his absence from our national discussion is being used in some quarters as a cautionary tale to the rising progressive movement within the Democratic party. The same forces that worked to marginalize him will be brought to bear at some point against Elizabeth Warren. (Read Panchito Bruni's love letter to Wall Street Muppet Gina Raimondo in Rhode Island, if you don't believe me. Cut them pensions! "Reform" them entitlements! Third Way!) You can count on that. Now Mario Cuomo is dead, and that seems like little more than confirmation of something we all suspected for decades.
The good is oft interred with their bones:
Cuomo managed to squeak into office then, and continued to stand up for the old-fashioned lunch-bucket Democratic values that pretty much everyone else in his Party was abandoning for third-way, neoliberal bullshit. He wasn't perfect, but he was one of a very few prominent, powerful liberals in the 80s and 90s who hung tough and held the line against the rapid sell-out of the poor and middle-class to the rich. Look at Jacob Weisberg marveling in 1994, "Nor has Cuomo gotten into the spirit of deregulation... Nor has he tried to get rid of rent control..." Weisberg meant these as criticisms, but after decades of asset-stripping by armies of Lehrmans, I see them as badges of honor.

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