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Our Vote Goes to the First Man to Deliver an Education Speech

September 24, 2010

After a long period of inactivity, we now have a spirited gubernatorial campaign in New York.  We should be relieved and encouraged, right? 

Not exactly. That’s because we don’t have a debate; we have a name calling contest. 

You’re a racist. 

You have no cojones. 

You’re unfit to govern. 

You’re Pinocchio. 

Who is at fault? Certainly both candidates, but we blame Andrew Cuomo the most. We know we’re going to anger people when we say that, but here’s why. 

Cuomo had the better part of a year to frame this race as a choice about the direction of the state. But what did he do? He sat on the sidelines. He couldn’t even deliver a single policy speech. 

It’s only now, when confronted with the possibility of a competitive race, that his campaign swings into action. But rather than talk about issues, it’s all about undermining the other guy’s character. 

His defenders will insist that he’s been trying to stay above the fray, that he’s not the one engaging in “gutter politics.”  This is complete baloney. His people have been peddling the Paladino-is-a-racist and Paladino-is-a-wacko stuff for weeks.   

But our mothers were right. It doesn’t make a difference who started the fight. The only thing that matters now is who is going to be the bigger man? Who is going to start talking about what really matters? 

For example, does anyone in this race have a vision for education reform? There are extraordinary efforts underway all across the nation to remake schools. And surprisingly, the often-maligned corporate sector is the catalyst for this experimentation. 

A hundred years from now, historians won’t remember diddley about the details of Cuomo-Paladino race, but they will take note of the movement at the beginning of the century to produce a more educated and productive workforce. 

Will they say that this positive development was advanced by visionary elected officials, or will they say it occurred in spite of them?

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