Governor Cuomo for Governor
A Whitney Global Media Editorial of the Air
WVOX and WVIP
by William O’Shaughnessy, President
November 1, 2018
He is Mario Cuomo’s son.
And in his best moments, he resembles his magnificent and graceful father.
That being said … no one knows the minutiae of governance or the complicated levers of government like Andrew Cuomo. Not even his father of sainted memory.
Sure, Andrew knows how to play the powerbrokers and the union warlords. He knows how to fist bump and chest pump and back-slap better than anyone.
But for those who think he doesn’t yet possess the rhetorical skills of his father or Joe Biden, for that matter … they should have heard Andrew speak passionately and movingly at the Central Synagogue in Manhattan earlier this week. (attached)
Indeed, there was soaring eloquence in the air despite the solemn occasion. We were almost tempted to observe: there was Mario in the air at the podium.
So much for those who dismiss the Governor as a mere “mechanic.”
His mother, the estimable and greatly respected – and I would say quite universally beloved – Matilda Raffa Cuomo – calls Andrew “The Energizer Governor.” And we can’t do better than that.
In his first two terms, Andrew has rung up an impressive list of solid accomplishments: gun control, the strongest in the nation … minimum wage … gay marriage … property tax caps … long-needed improvements to bridges and airports. He’s also doing his level best on the subways, no easy task with Mayor DeBlasio’s ambition in the way. And the Governor deserves great credit for pushing to eliminate all the wasteful overlap in services among the thousands of redundant local jurisdictions.
He’s also made every move humanly possible to improve the diminishing fortunes of upstate New York … everything short of murdering the damn weathermen who prescribe those brutal, freezing, snow-covered winters west of Albany. If there was a way to fix the drodsome weather … you can be sure Andrew would find it.
He’s not at all perfect. Although he has carried forth his father and Hugh Leo Carey’s revulsion and disdain for the Death Penalty … we’re not crazy about where he is on the other, fundamental and essential Right to Life issues: i.e. the awful Abortion question. But one can only hope that he shares his father’s personal revulsion for the killing of innocents, despite his reluctance to impose his religious beliefs on others.
A great deal of attention has been paid by our colleagues in the public press to a few who may have disappointed the governor and let him down.
But he’s also had some very intelligent and able counsellors on his quest for good and effective government: the classy William Mulrow … Michael DelGiudice … Steven Cohen … Joe Spinelli … John Marino … Rick Cotton … Alphonso David … and the late Andrew Zambelli.
We’ve been quoted in national journals that “It’s not easy being Mario Cuomo’s son.” It’s not at all easy when a prominent newspaper – the Boston Globe – calls your Father “the great philosopher statesman of the American nation.” Nor is it easy when a family friend Tony Bennett, the last of the great romantic crooners, tells his audiences, “I’ve sung for five presidents of the United States … Mario Cuomo is the greatest man I ever met.” I mean that’s heavy, very heavy stuff to lay on a young man who is in the “family business.”
And then you have Joe Biden who is a politician the way the men of our father’s time imagined them to be: “I’ve been in politics since I was 19. But the minute I saw Mario Cuomo … I knew he was better than I was.”
So he is a son and heir of Mario Cuomo and in his best moments Andrew resembles his father of sainted memory.
Listeners to these radio stations know of our enthusiasm and admiration for President Trump. While none can deny Andrew’s use of the bully pulpit which attends the governor of New York … one can only hope Andrew will continue to devote his remarkable creativity and energy and his considerable talents to the $168-Billion enterprise over which he now presides and focus on the welfare of the 20-million souls in his daily care and keeping.
We cringe when we see him marching in patriotic parades in Chappaqua with Bill and Hillary Clinton. And it doesn’t exactly win points when the Governor seems always to be accompanied by so many outriders and security people at every event. And the glib, booster-like slogans plastered on the podium often distract from the message and the worthwhile things he is trying to achieve.
And it’s perhaps a small thing … but to his great credit Andrew ordered that his own name not greet motorists on the many highways and byways leading into the Empire State. Every other governor before him couldn’t resist those “Welcome to New York State (fill in the name), Governor.”
We know little of his Republican opponent Marc Molinaro who certainly didn’t hit it out of the ballpark when he had the opportunity to debate the Governor provided by our friends Marcia Kramer and Rich Lamb of WCBS-TV.
Indeed Stephanie Miner, the former mayor of Syracuse who, for a time, also headed the State Democratic Party, has been quite the most impressive among those others who aspire to lead our state.
Andrew is who he is. Everybody knows he’s dynamic and driven. But our recent interview with the governor showed him to also be a brilliant, introspective and altogether thoughtful fellow … qualities he often seems reluctant to reveal.
To get a grip on what Andrew is really about … read the piece posted on Thursday by the Times gifted political writer Shane Goldmacher, himself a great student of the Cuomos – pere et fils.
He may not have Nelson Rockefeller’s charisma and ease with retail politicking … or his father’s graceful brilliance and beautiful soul … but no one has ever worked harder as governor. No one. Period. No one.
In our far-ranging, recent interview, we asked the governor if he wanted to be loved … or respected. With the facile brain inherited from his father, he quickly replied, “I want to be loved by those I respect.
In case you haven’t figured it out … our stations have tremendous respect for Governor Andrew Mark Cuomo.
And, God forgive me … I’m afraid we do love him as well.
Thus our Whitney Global Media radio stations WVOX and WVIP enthusiastically and with great confidence – and affection – endorse the Democratic candidate: Governor Andrew Cuomo for governor of New York.
He’s a damn hard worker.
And he’s Mario Cuomo’s son.
This is William O’Shaughnessy.
Remarks of Governor
Andrew M. Cuomo
Central Synagogue Interfaith Service
New York City
October 30, 2018
We gather tonight on a somber moment, because this is a dark and frightening time in our nation. Our better angels are being overpowered. The character of America is being perverted. And the power of hate is overtaking the power of love.
We mourn and embrace the families of the 11 victims in Pittsburgh and grieve with them. We mourn and grieve for the African American community in Kentucky. We suffer with those who endured the anxiety and threats of mail bombs last week.
But we would not be here tonight if these were isolated incidents. They are not. There is a frightening pattern developing on many levels of American society. Anti-Semitic incidents have increased 57 percent nationwide. Neo-Nazi groups have increased 22 percent in this country. Nativists and white supremacy groups are on the rise. At the demonstration in Charlottesville in August, 2017, members of the Ku Klux Klan felt so empowered they didn’t even need to wear hoods to hide their faces. The societal fabric of America is stressed and frayed. We gather to pray and to marshal the voices of support and love as an antidote to the forces of division and hate.
Elie Wiesel said, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” As Governor, I pray with you this evening. But as Governor, I also state in the strongest terms that we are a nation of laws and we are a state of laws, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination or hate in the State of New York. (applause)
Hate is not protected by our law, not in speech and not in action. Quite the opposite. And our State has the most aggressive hate crimes laws in the country. And I announced today that we are doubling both our security efforts and our prevention efforts. You have my word as governor that we will stamp out the evil of discrimination wherever it rears its ugly head. The Jewish community is an important member of the Family of New York and we will protect our family–all together, all united. (applause)
But I am afraid that enforcing the law, while an essential, important step is not the only step. Being prepared to fight the fire is necessary, but we must work to prevent the fires from starting in the first place.
I feel as if we are standing in a field of dry grass with smoldering embers surrounding us. And a strong wind is shifting directions. We must stamp out the embers before they become flames and we must reduce the winds of hate that threaten the fields of peace.
There are those who now will wrap themselves in the flag of America and then go out and do violence in the name of America. But they could not be more wrong or more misguided. They do not begin to understand the character of America, and they disgrace the very flag they carry. Our Founding Fathers would be repulsed by these ignorant acts of violence.
In school, one of the first lessons we learn about America is when we are asked to raise our hands to the Pledge of Allegiance. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Indivisible! With liberty and justice for all. Whatever your religion, whatever your race, whatever your creed, we are indivisible!
Our Founding Fathers anticipated there would be differences because we were born as a collection from across the globe. But we would have, as Jefferson said, “a decent respect” for the opinions of others. One of our Founders’ first acts was to pass a law to make the Motto on the Seal of the United States, “E Pluribus Unum”—out of many, one. It set the tone of unity and commonality. The very same Founders didn’t fear immigration, they embraced it! It was the British government’s bid to block migration to the colonies, that was among one of the reasons for the Revolution and the Declaration of Independence.
The tremendous right to practice your religion in freedom was a powerful magnet drawing many to America. The Pilgrims were separatists from the Church of England. The Huguenots settled the Hudson Valley. French Protestants were fleeing persecution in Roman Catholic France. English Catholics under George Calvert colonized Maryland … Quakers in Pennsylvania … Jewish people in Rhode Island, all seeking the religious freedom established by Roger Williams.
One year into his presidency, George Washington visited a synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island as the First Amendment was being debated. To his Jewish hosts, Washington wrote a remarkable letter. He reasserted that the Government of the United States “gives no sanction to bigotry, no assistance to persecution, and requires only that the people who live under the protection of the government conduct themselves as good citizens.”
Washington quoted the Bible to remind them that, in effect, they had reached their Promised Land: ‘May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.” George Washington.
There was no period that tested our unity more than the Civil War. And as the war closed, President Abraham Lincoln pointed the nation to the future in his Second Inaugural Address, saying: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds — to achieve and cherish a just, and lasting peace.” (applause)
Lincoln’s invoking God is relevant and instructive. We are one nation under God. It is not just our government that instructs peace and tolerance, but our religious heritage as well.
We are gathered in a house of worship today. Christianity teaches us tolerance. Matthew 25 instructs us Catholics to do for the least of our brothers. Judaism speaks to the concept of Tikkun Olam … to reach out and heal the breach … and the concept of Tzedakah … charity, but, more broadly, the concept of social justice.
Buddhism, Islam, virtually every religion speaks of tolerance, acceptance, and condemns violence.
The victims in Pittsburgh were engaged in a sacred Jewish naming ceremony of a newborn — a bris — celebrating the joy of a new life, only to perish in the face of hate.
We will not let them die in vain. We must once again, in Lincoln’s words, “bind up the nation’s wounds.”
We must rise above our traditional political divisions. We must refrain from fanning the embers of hate before the flames are out of control. Our American values override our political, partisan differences. Intolerant voices of division must be condemned by all, and not episodically, but consistently. (applause) Not only for public consumption, but genuinely, with personal commitment. Political debate must honor Jefferson’s mandate of civil discourse. Our political leaders must heed this wisdom today.
At this time of chaos, confusion, ignorance and fear … this nation needs a light to follow. And Let that light be the torch that is held by the great lady in our harbor.
Let New York State once again serve this nation as an example to follow. That is the legacy of this great State … throughout history, a beacon of progressive values. We are home to 19 million people from every nation on the globe. New York State is the laboratory of the American experiment in democracy. We are not threatened by diversity, we celebrate diversity. Generations of immigrants stepped off ships and planes onto our shores. This State has thrived because we have no tolerance for discrimination. Not in our laws, and not in our spirit! (applause)
We are a people of differences, but we have forged community through chords of commonality. This state exemplifies the best of the American spirit.
The Rabbi asks us what we can do. Let us commit ourselves this evening to a constructive course of action. Let New Yorkers exemplify what it means to be a true American patriot.
Let New York show this nation what the flag actually means.
Let us lead forward in the way of darkness. Let us lead as a government, as a community and let us lead as individual citizens. Let us lead this nation at this time of confusion by the power of our example.
There is no place for hate in our State. And New York lives by the credo: that the most powerful four-letter word is still love.