Tuesday, June 8

Mario Cuomo's Nominating Speech 1992

When former New York Governor Mario Cuomo was about to deliver his speech nominating Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic Convention, I knew we were in for something pretty special. So I tuned to the only New York City station which carried it live, WNET (PBS), which took NBC's feed and I rolled video tape.

I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I damn near took a cab to Madison Square Garden so I could kiss the guy on the lips.

The speech was not a breath of fresh air. It was a friggin' tornado - leaving a path of destruction all over George H. W. Bush's presidential record and taking out quite a bit of Reagan's turf for good measure. It was a breathtaking and ferociously intelligent work, the likes of which I haven't seen since - especially by the Democrats.

I must have watched that tape at least 20 times in the months following. What becomes apparent is that the shots of the crowd showed both rousing awakening and utter shock at Cuomo's balls-to-the-wall honesty as he tore the Bush record up one side and down the other.

A few weeks ago, I uncovered that video and sat back to revel in it again, only to be struck between the eyes by two new thoughts.

One being that this very speech would be hammered, beaten and buried six feet under by the Bush campaign and (as a result) the wingnut media as "shrill," "angry," "crazy" and "lunatic."

But the second thought is that this very speech - almost verbatim - can play again this year, quite possibly to a bigger audience than that night twelve years ago. Tax cuts, war, the environment, job losses - all the hallmarks of the Reagan and Bush administrations of the 80s are remarkably identical to the crapstorm the current Bush administration has conjured almost threefold today.

If you never saw it, or if you want to relive it in your head, you can read a transcript here. Sadly, the printed words do NOT do it justice.

As a preservation move, I transferred the video to DVD, complete with a fully-animated chapter menu. It took me about five tries to get it right, but the final product is pretty outstanding, considering the limited quality of standard play VHS Hi-Fi vs. DVD.

I'm thinking about offering the DVD for like five bucks to cover the materials and shipping to anyone who'd like to see it or just have this little bit o' history. If you're interested, leave a comment here or send me an e-mail, and then I'll start working on duplicating it and setting up a PayPal deal to make it easy on y'all.

It was an amazing speech - and the fact that it holds up today is a testament to Cuomo - and hopefully a look the testicular fortitude the Democrats are finally growing back.