Rest in Peace Mario Cuomo

I adored Mario Cuomo. I saw him speak at the 92nd Street Y in January, 2010. It feels so recent to me. He was still so strong and vigorous and SMART. I was looking for a copy of his speech, but I couldn’t find it. What I did find was his answer to an audience question about advice for President Obama.

1. Mr. President, you shouldn’t have started with healthcare. With everything else falling down around us, there were other issues that needed tending first. However, now that we have gone down this road, we must finish what we started. We must get some kind of heathcare bill passed. And yes, Mrs. Pelosi, you have to go get those Senate votes by any means necessary. The bill won’t be perfect. We aren’t going to get a complete fix to healthcare, but we have to at least have a bill that is a start down the road to improvement.

2. You, Mr. President, are the most burdened President in modern history. Not even FDR had the troubles you have in this current state of the nation: healthcare, education, the energy crisis, Afghanistan, and this dreadful economy. You won’t get it all done in 4 years. Think of it as work to complete in 8 years. This will help us take 1 issue at a time.

3. Please, Mr. President, don’t lose heart. In this next year you will have to fight and fight hard. While you are the most burdened President in modern history, you are also the most brilliant and the most eloquent. What you lacked was experience, and in your first year in office, you got plenty of experience.

Heavy sigh. How I wish you could have lived, and governed, forever. You would have made such a great Supreme Court Justice, but apparently you really and truly didn’t want that job.

My friend Howard reading to the granddaughter of a friend of ours. I’m so mad her face is blocked! I didn’t notice at the time, I took the shot so quickly (Howard does not like having his picture taken).


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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