Saturday, January 3, 2015

Quips and Quotations (Hamlet of the Hudson Edition)

Mario Cuomo 1932-2014

I protect my right to be a Catholic by preserving your right to believe as a Jew, a Protestant, or non-believer, or as anything else you choose. We know that the price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is that they might some day force theirs on us. This freedom is the fundamental strength of our unique experiment in government. In the complex interplay of forces and considerations that go into the making of our laws and policies, its preservation must be a pervasive and dominant concern.

The American people need no course in philosophy or political science or church history to know that God should not be made into a celestial party chairman.

We must get the American public to look past the glitter, beyond the showmanship, to the reality, the hard substance of things. And we'll do it not so much with speeches that sound good as with speeches that are good and sound; not so much with speeches that will bring people to their feet as with speeches that will bring people to their senses.

I told them [a group assembled by onetime Chase Manhattan Bank head honcho David Rockefeller] that my grandfather had died in the Great Crash of 1929--a stockbroker jumped out of a window and crushed him and his pushcart down below.

We believe in encouraging the talented, but we believe that while survival of the fittest may be a good working description of the process of evolution, a government of humans should elevate itself to a higher order.

Unless people like you give us a new generation, willing to take on the challenge of self-government, willing to accept its responsibilities, to reform it, to change it, to make it fairer and more responsive — unless you do, the very rich will get richer, the poor will become fired in their desperation, violence will increase and here, as in so many places around the world, the purpose of government will be reduced basically to a matter of maintaining order instead of improving conditions. 

Every time I've done something that doesn't feel right, it's ended up not being right.

And, in case you're wondering about his nickname... 

I have no plans, and no plans to plan.

I said I didn’t want to run for president. I didn’t ask you to believe me


  1. Great quotes. Didn't know about the Koch signs.

  2. Bit of political skullduggery in Cuomo's past, I'm afraid. If he didn't know what his own campaign was doing, Kass, he should have known. I've admired Cuomo's oratorical skills, ever since he gave the keynote address at the 1984 Democratic Convention, and wished he would have run for President when he had his best shot of winning, in 1988. Still, it's useful to remind everyone no man is a saint, not even one who was a golden-tongued progressive. By the way, I did quotes rather than my usual full-fledged bio, because I don't live in New York, never have, and while it seems like he was a pretty good governor, I didn't feel it was up to me to decide. Still wish he had made it to the White House, though. Of course, to do that, you have to actually RUN!

    As for Ed Koch calling Mario Cuomo (or possibly his son) a "prick" from beyond the grave, here's what a few New Yorkers think about that:

  3. Thanks for the link, I think. OK, I guess I can say a fell-fledged 'thanks', since I don't expect much more from politicians.

    I'm with you, I thought Cuomo presented a very dignified persona while speaking.

  4. You don't have to give a full-fledged "thanks" if you don't want to, Kass. It's really the comments on that Gawker page I wanted you to read, if you had the time, to give you some idea the different views people living in the same city--in this case, New York--can have of the same man--in this case, Ed Koch.

    It remains to be seen, or heard, if Cuomo has anything to say from beyond the grave. If he does, I imagine it will be more eloquent than Koch, but who knows?

    I doubt anyone will ever top Art Buchwald's postmortem comment: