Deukmejian and Cuomo

January 27, 1985

Bill Stall's article (Opinion, Jan. 20), ". . . A Date in '88," prompts this letter.

The chances that Govs. Mario Cuomo of New York and George Deukmejian of California will cross paths as presidential candidates of their respective parties in 1988 are just about as good as Dustin Hoffman choosing Brooke Shields for his next leading lady.

I am not a zealous Democrat or even an idealist. The fact is that I am usually Republican and I agree with little of Cuomo's rhetoric, but I love to hear him speak. Whether on the podium, in the classroom defending his feud with an archbishop to Catholic students, or on the Phil Donohue Show, he comports himself with style, persuasiveness, grace, and even (I hate to say it), charisma. Unfortunately, all of these qualities are absent in our own Gov. Deukmejian.

Stall compares the two in this article, much like an extraterrestrial visitor might compare a Lamborghini and a Subaru. While it is interesting to note their similarities, the big story, unless you consider the fact that you can't spell either of their names, is the difference between them.

Cuomo is an inspiring, dynamic speaker. He represents the future of public politics in the United States today. He is what the television-viewing electorate want to see; what it demands to see. Deukmejian is among the last of the private (or back-room) politicians to sneak into a very public position. Although he may not in reality live up to it, he represents what most of the electorate wish did not exist: the day-to-day, "in-crowd" compromise politics we all teach our kids to hate.

Everyone who has any knowledge of Cuomo has a good idea of just what he stands for. Although Deukmejian's views may be just as strong, possibly more popular, you really have to hunt for them. Convictions aside, Cuomo is the Ronald Reagan of the Democratic Party. Reagan did not succeed by the public perception that he was a good speaker (even though that is invariably pointed out by news people), he succeeded by being a good speaker; he got his views across. Deukmejian, on the other hand, is the Republicans' answer to Walter Mondale.

Next time you hear either of these two men speak, you decide which one has the potential to become anything other than the subject of a question in the "Me Generation" edition of "Trivial Pursuit." I can't believe Deukmejian has a shot in '88. Then, again, I hear that Brooke has applied to Yale Drama School.


Corona del Mar

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