Odd man out

December 23, 1991

After months of equivocation Mario Cuomo at long last says he won't run for president. This announcement no doubt brought a great sigh of relief in the Bush White House.

Like Ronald Reagan, albeit in a very different way, Mario Cuomo is a made-for-TV candidate in a time in which perception often overwhelms reality. And as a television-age candidate, Cuomo is an incandescent personality who throws off 1,000 watts while George Bush is a whiney personality who throws off about as much wattage as a small Christmas candle.

No other Democratic candidate generates anything close to the wattage of Cuomo. Alas, this probably means that the smear-artists like Roger Ailes and the late Lee Atwater (who begged forgiveness with his dying breath) will again seek to carry out in 1992 the political rape they committed in 1988 against the hapless Michael Dukakis. Rest assured, every effort will be made to affix the amorphous charge of "liberal" to whatever Democratic candidate finally emerges from the fray.

Cuomo's candidacy would have meant that there was at least a chance that the 1992 election campaign would be waged on real issues -- jobs, housing, health care and the like. Whether that can be done without him is problematical indeed.

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