It's hard to believe Mario Cuomo is gone, but he is. He died on New Year's Eve.
Since I've been watching politics, the former New York Governor has been someone I've always admired and respected. Cuomo's views most commonly have fallen to the left of my own, but he was a man that was in the limelight of political thought for years after his retirement from politics. For someone other than a President or a national politician, that's very rare. People paid attention to Governor Cuomo because he always had something to say, and he believed it to his core.
Cuomo could certainly have run for President, and I think he could have handled the office well. Perhaps he was too far left to have been elected in a General Election fight, but he was a man of integrity. When given the choice to choose higher office or to stand up for the constituents he was elected to serve, he chose those he was elected to serve in 1992. He was a man of substance and was clear on his views. Cuomo was who he was, and that was a proud Italian-American who stood up for his culture and his State of New York.
Even though he has passed, his influence continues. His son, Andrew, is the current Governor of New York, and his younger son, Chris, is a well-known CNN anchor. His other children have made their marks in charitable organizations or in the fashion world. He also leaves behind his wife of 60 years, Matilda.
It's difficult to think of Cuomo without thinking about what might have been. His speech attacking Ronald Reagan's idea of the U.S. as a "Shining City on the Hill" is revered in liberal circles, and there's no wonder why. It's an amazingly well-constructed political speech that is, in many ways, as true today as it was the day that Cuomo delivered it on the Democratic Convention floor in San Francisco nearly 31 years ago.
Governor Mario Cuomo was 82 years old.