Mario Cuomo on Principles & Values
Former Democratic Governor of New York
In our second century as a nation, we began to pool our resources, through government, to cushion ourselves against the unavoidable perils of the free market. We improved our living standards and working conditions, provided services that benefit and strengthen us, and protected and nurtured our most vulnerable members. In doing so, we amplified our potential for greatness.
Republicans claim that the social safety net woven during the New Deal and the Great Society has become a “hammock”-fostering the image of lazy poor folk lolling about while the rest of America sweats.
[My main criticism] of the Contract is: it demands no more of our political leaders than that they set sail in whatever direction the political winds seem to be blowing. The Contract essentially abdicates any responsibility for genuine political foresight, offering us instead the top ten popular complaints and top ten appealing home remedies.
It is also the ancient wisdom. The Hebrew sages told the Jews that their role in life is to repair the entire universe: tikkun olam. Christians are taught that their task is to complete God’s work in the world, that we are all, no matter how small, “collaborators in creation.”
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George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)