Tuesday, September 17, 2002

When I started reading this Signorile column about Cuomo's rather racist take on his primary saga I thought he was overstating the case a bit. But, by the end I was pretty convinced.

"The negative here," the former Clinton HUD secretary told Herbert, explaining why he did so badly in the polls and why he eventually pulled out of the race against New York State Comptroller Carl McCall, "is that I was running against the first African-American. It was his turn."

In other words: He was a white victim of a kind of political party-driven affirmative action–even though McCall has a resume a mile longer than that of Cuomo, who has never held elective office. If anything, McCall was for a while the victim of nepotism on a grand scale, running against someone whose entire career has been about trading on his famous father’s name. Wayne Barrett in the Village Voice makes the interesting assessment that Al Sharpton and others quietly threatened that if Cuomo went hard on McCall and McCall lost, they’d do to him what they did to Mark Green in the 2001 mayoral election: take their support over to the Republican in the general election and rail that the Democrat was racially insensitive. In that scenario, Cuomo, who has ambitions for 2006, pulled out early rather than be tarred for the future. Whether or not that is true, however, Cuomo’s arrogance, like Green’s, is still his greatest downfall: by making these statements, rather than bow out quietly and gracefully, he’s tarred himself.

But, even if you don't like that part stay for the end and some healthy all-American Noonan bashing.