In all the stirring eulogies and remembrances leading up to the funeral of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, his greatest contribution to American politics went entirely unheralded. All the fawning tributes and tearful, pearl-clutching accolades have failed to include the one single thing about Mario Cuomo that will forever set him far apart from all the rest of the politicians of his ilk.
Mario Cuomo was not a total, complete liar all of the time. He was just a half-liar all of the time, which is a solid fifty percent improvement over all the rest of the kleptocrats that infest Washington these days, especially those who work for the party whose mascot is a jackass. That Cuomo was a member of this party of jackasses makes his half-honesty all the more notable.
Everyone seems to remember with such reverence Cuomo’s speech at the 1984 Democratic convention in San Francisco. In it he laid out the great liberal vision for America that tingled the spines of liberals of all ages, far and wide. Never since has a Democrat given such a speech.
That is because, of course, Democrats went on to lose the 1984 election in a landslide defeat and no Democrat wanting to win the presidency has dared commit political suicide by talking so openly about the real liberal vision for America again.
Now don’t get me wrong. These kleptocrats of the jackass party haven’t changed their beliefs. They have simply altered their “messaging,” as they like to call it around here.
Ever since, the only way members of the jackass party make it into the White House is by completely lying.
Remember when President Clinton assured us that the “era of big government” is over? Or how President Obama lectured about how the federal government isn’t the answer to all our problems? Or his promise about the “new era of personal responsibility?”
Lies. All lies. Lies designed to conceal their true vision of America and their deeply-held commitment for how to reach that ugly dream.
In his speech delivered in the year George Orwell predicted, Mr. Cuomo brazenly laid out his party’s platform that, indeed, the government is the answer to every problem there is, that personal responsibility is a hateful mirage and that only through government control over every aspect of our lives will America become that “shining city on a hill.”
He stole that line about the shining city on a hill, of course, from President Reagan, who often deployed the imagery to invoke the limitless promise of a free America. But to a liberal, such hopeful imagery is like waving a red flag before a bull.
Speaking with bitterness in his voice, Cuomo ran through a litany of ills that plagued so many in America from hungry children to teens dealing drugs to elderly people trembling in their basements.
“There is despair, Mr. President, in the faces you don’t see, in the places you don’t visit in your shining city,” Cuomo spat.
This is the kind of dark pessimism that dominates the minds of these people but their successful politicians have since learned to conceal it with lies about “hope” and such.
Yet the undergirding philosophy that guides these people is every bit the same today as it was thirty years ago. They believe that all of these ills reflect a failure of government somewhere and that the answer to every one of these problems is the federal government.
Instead of a bright land of limitless opportunity, they offer a bleak ghetto of false promises and failed guarantees.
Cuomo countered Reagan’s “shining city” with a “Tale of Two Cities.” (Brazen theft is an ingrained trait of the kleptocrats.)
In Cuomo’s dystopia, there is no individual. No personal liberty or industry or entrepreneurial spirit. There is no freedom to make good or bad decisions. It is only a world where government controls everything and takes care of everyone.
Nine times during his dreadful speech he spoke of economic “class” in America, betraying his Marxist stripes.
The whole speech was delivered in the most divisive, small, stingy, hateful rhetoric that you would never hear from a politician today. Which is why Cuomo gets credit for being half honest. He could never muster such false optimism that this modern crowd of kleptocrats peddle with such ease.
In fact, the only appealing thing about the late Mario Cuomo’s terrible convention speech of 1984 is that if you close your eyes and forget the meaning of his silly words, for a moment or two you can trick your mind into thinking you are listening to Michael Corleone deliver one of his desolate tirades in a lost scene from The Godfather Part II.
Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter at @charleshurt.