Convention keynotes are a funny thing. They are meant to provide a projection, a vision, for the Party, but they often devolve into a laundry list of policies without an overarching theme. Those who are able to convey a theme often reap the rewards. One of those was Mario Cuomo.
At a time when being liberal wasn’t cool — in the midst of the Reagan revolution — Mario Cuomo showed why liberalism was the only answer. Because it was compassionate, because it ensured that a rising tide really did lift all boats, liberalism represented the philosophy of America; it conveyed the real wishes of the founding fathers during a turbulent time.
Governor Cuomo used Ronald Reagan’s image of a city on a hill to talk about two Americas; and one of them was struggling just to survive. It anticipated the theme of John Edwards campaign decades later, and though the messenger in that case was flawed, Mario Cuomo was not. He espoused the true compassion of the liberal philosophy and showed why it was required to ensure no one got left behind.
Mario Cuomo has been sorely missed for many years now, and one still doesn’t know how he could have refused to run for President. His campaign would have paralleled Barack Obama’s 2008 message; moreover, after becoming President, his governance may have been superior.