When New York Gov. Mario Cuomo announced he would not seek the Democratic presidential nomination, Michael Dukakis said, "I'm not surprised at his decision. Had I been working on my fourth deficit in a row in 1987, I wouldn't have done it." A former Democratic state chairman from Georgia, John Henry Anderson, was less diplomatic. "For once in his life, Cuomo did something right. He was going to get the hell beat out of him and send the Democrats to the cleaners again."
Whether Governor Cuomo's decision was "right" is debatable; xTC the process he engaged in, though, was anything but right. It was wrong for his own reputation. He became a joke, advising would-be supporters to stand by, hiring an airplane, preparing an entrance-fee check, then bowing out 90 minutes before the deadline.
And it was wrong for his party. The party's national chairman and many other loyal Democrats urged Governor Cuomo repeatedly to make up his mind by early last month. He said he would. It took him 70 days, a time in which the media and the public paid more attention to Governor Cuomo's indecision than to the other Democratic candidates, who lost a valuable chance in those 70 days to gain more nationwide attention. The leading candidates are three men little known to the country at large. Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska have got a lot of campaigning to do if they are to become household names and gain voter preference when a president is chosen.