The Magazine

Cuomo’s Place

Feb 3, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 20 • By PETER WEHNER
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At the 1992 Democratic National Convention, the pro-life Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, Robert Casey, was barred from speaking. The message was if you are pro-life, you have no place in the Democratic party.

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The new attitude of the Democratic party, at least as represented by New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, is if you are pro-life, you have no place in a blue state.

During a January 17 interview with Susan Arbetter of WCNY’s “The Capitol Pressroom,” Cuomo, angry at Republican opposition to his agenda, offered his critique of the GOP. 

“Who are they?” Cuomo demanded to know. Are they wise, reasonable, and enlightened Republicans who happen to agree with him? That’s one possibility. Here’s the other: 

Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.

This statement was jarring enough that Governor Cuomo’s office later complained that his statements had been “distorted.” (They had not.) In fact, Cuomo revealed rather more about the philosophy and attitudes of modern liberalism than he intended.

What was on display was another example of the tendency, compulsively indulged in by the president, to characterize the views of one’s opponents as so extreme and benighted that they are unworthy of refuting. What makes the charge of extremism so risible in this instance is that according to Gallup, more Americans consider themselves to be pro-life than pro-choice—and by huge margins, Americans favor restrictions on the kind of late-term abortions Cuomo has been advocating (in a state whose abortion rates already lead the nation).

But there is an even more pernicious mindset among many on the left, including those holding high public office. It is that those who are pro-life, oppose certain restrictions on guns, and believe (as President Obama did for most of his first term) in the traditional view of marriage hold views that are so offensive they should take up residence elsewhere. Their views not only don’t need to be refuted; they should be treated as indecent and illegitimate. 

Governor Cuomo’s comments are all the more extraordinary given that they come less than a year after the abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for the death of three babies that prosecutors said were delivered alive and subsequently killed. If Gosnell’s “shop of horrors” troubled Cuomo even one bit, he has yet to say so. In the World According to Andrew Cuomo, the extremists are those who want to save newly born children rather than those who sever their necks.

It is quite a road modern liberalism has traveled. A political movement that once took seriously the term “social justice” and professed its solidarity with the weakest and most vulnerable members of the human community not only has made abortion its moral litmus test; it wants to treat those who have taken up the cause of protecting unborn and newly born children as unwelcome persons. In fact, those who seek to expand the circle of protection and concern for the most innocent and defenseless among us deserve more than a place in New York state; they deserve a place of honor.

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