Showing posts with label 1984. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1984. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Richard Fong's amazing painting of Ronald Reagan (ca. 1984)

by Jack Brummet

In 1984, Richard Fong, a friend, co-worker, and San Francisco artist, gave me this oil painting.  We'd spent the election making twisted collages of Ronald Reagan and the Administration (to the chagrin of the owner of the commercial real estate appraiser's office where we worked).

It has hung on the wall everywhere I've lived since.  What I love most about this painting is that it captures the soul of Ronald Reagan, but also adds in—somehow!—a touch of Richard Nixon.  Other people, unprompted, have noticed this too.  It's been an inspiration for some 30 years now, and I've always been grateful for the gift.  Every time I look at it I remember Richard.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mario Cuomo quotes from the 1984 Democratic Convention

"It's an old story. It's as old as our history. The difference between Democrats and Republicans has always been measured in courage and confidence. The Republicans believe that the wagon train will not make it to the frontier unless some of the old, some of the young, some of the weak are left behind by the side of the trail. The strong, the strong they tell us will inherit the land."

"Maybe, maybe, Mr. President, if you visited some more places; maybe if you went to Appalachia where some people still live in sheds; maybe if you went to Lackawanna where thousands of unemployed steel workers wonder why we subsidized foreign steel. Maybe -- Maybe, Mr. President, if you stopped in at a shelter in Chicago and spoke to the homeless there; maybe, Mr. President, if you asked a woman who had been denied the help she needed to feed her children because you said you needed the money for a tax break for a millionaire or for a missile we couldn't afford to use."

"Maybe -- Maybe, Mr. President. But I'm afraid not. Because the truth is, ladies and gentlemen, that this is how we were warned it would be. President Reagan told us from the very beginning that he believed in a kind of social Darwinism. Survival of the fittest. "Government can't do everything," we were told, so it should settle for taking care of the strong and hope that economic ambition and charity will do the rest. Make the rich richer, and what falls from the table will be enough for the middle class and those who are trying desperately to work their way into the middle class."

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

George Orwell on political-speak

"Political language—and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists—is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."  - George Orwell 

Monday, September 19, 2011

If Only. . .No. 3: President Mario Cuomo

By Jack Brummet
Democratic Affairs Editor

As Number 2 in our series "If only. . .",  we want to present former New York Governor Mario CuomoHe was a master speaker, but he was bright (150 watts), with a heart of shimmering gold.  I used to listen to him on his radio show in NYC (what we'd now call a side-project) and got a pretty good measure of the man over many hours listening to him at night.  I voted for him for Mayor in the fall of 1977, a few months after I moved to NYC. 

Why did he decline to run for President, even when it seemed likely he could at the least capture the Democratic nomination?  We'll never really know; but we probably know,  or we can guess:

  • The best guys never run for President.  For all the reasons you've heard before.  Don't get me wrong--there have been plenty of ringers. . .good-hearted, decent, and very bright men (men, so far).  
  • The timing is never right. This is a perennial problem in Presidential politics--when do you make the contest? There are scores of factors (all of which, in reality, boil down to $$$) and infinite variations exponentiated with chicanery, skullduggery, treacherous to inept boardroom and office politics, and when and to whom various levels of payoffs, grease, compromise, blackmail, and even physical and psychological harm should be applied).
  • Skeletons rattling in the closet? Those skeletons were often alluded to, but none ever materialized.  If you ran for Mayor and Governor in New York, the rattling bones would have been shaken from the closet.  I never believed in those skeletons.
  • He didn't want to know if he would win or not. He wanted to keep that aura, which would  be sullied by jumping in to The Snake Pit.  For me  at least, this was one of the great political heartbreakers of all time.  OK, not RFK heartbreaking, but a little sad.  You don't throw yourself off a cliff over a woulda-shoulda-coulda. . .but still, I often think about Mario and wonder "what if..."
Check out text of Mario Cuomo's 1984 keynote address, here if you need convincing.  It is one of the greatest speeches of our time.

Other ATIT articles on Governor Cuomo:

The Man Who Should Have Been King
Mario Cuomo Nominates Bill Clinton at the convention