Michael Gerson: The liberal politics of intimidation in New York

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  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Jan. 23, 2014 8:14 p.m.

    Holding Mr. Obama's feet to the fire on his disastrous record does not quality as hate speech. I have never heard anyone attack him personally(in spite of his countless lies). His record in the oval office is another matter entirely. Then again do not blame me or my family, none of us voted for BO.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 23, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    @Quaker "I don't think the commenters here understand what Liberal means. It's not Libertarian."

    One of the definitions of 'liberal' in a modern dictionary is 'favorable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms.' This is what I was hoping we could expect.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Jan. 23, 2014 6:46 a.m.

    Things like this always seem to happen when any one group has too much clout. Viable competition keeps us honest.

  • Mickey Kovars Tampa, FL
    Jan. 22, 2014 9:18 p.m.

    A Quaker from Brooklyn, NY seems intent on showing that Cuomo's remarks were not as bad as portrayed: Cuomo meant only, we are told, to disparage alleged radicals running for office as Republicans in his state. If so, Cuomo's remarks are still bad -- there are plenty of pro-life politicians in NY who are honest and ethical, and a lot of the sheriffs in NY's many counties have complained that the anti-gun SAFE act is punitive against the wrong people and so poorly written as to be virtually unenforceable. I get the feeling that A Quaker is trying to put out a fire by making comments in all newspapers that carried the Gerson article. It won't work: Cuomo's speech was still a nasty piece of work.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 7:33 p.m.

    I thought the "right to life" was part of our Declaration of Independence. But apparently in Cuomo's and liberals world that isn't true.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Jan. 22, 2014 7:21 p.m.

    I just looked for this Gerson editorial on his home newspaper's site. Printed there, it includes a number of hypertext links not reproduced here. Of note is his reference to Glenn Beck's take (The Blaze) on Cuomo's interview. So, it's not clear to me that Gerson ever listened to the interview himself. His dudgeon is second-hand and very out of context.

    But, every reader here can go listen to it with their very own ears, and I would recommend that. Cuomo is clearly speaking about the ELECTORAL PROSPECTS of hard-right-wing Republican politicians in State government, given the State's recent voting history and polling. Mostly, though, he's speaking about the schism and struggle for control within the Republican Party.

    It was Friday, January 17 on "The Capitol Pressroom" public radio show, with interviewer Susan Arbetter. The podcast is posted on the website of Syracuse public radio affiliate WCNY.

    Just google: WCNY Arbetter, pick the first result and scroll to January 17.

    Skip to 7:00 minutes if you're impatient.

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 6:38 p.m.

    Nothing like ignoring context. cumo was sepecificly talking about the growing divide within the Republican Party and far right candidates that do not reflect the reality of moderate politics in the state iof NY. Were his comments politcal hyperbol? Of course. Were they a declaration that no one with such views are welcome in NY as this letter writer and posters are claiming? Hardly. Are they any different from the political hyperbol we hear on a regular basis about any Utah politician that dare show any liberal leanings? No.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 6:35 p.m.

    Cuomo's comment just prove that the democrat "big tent" is a lie.

    The power in this country's constitution and it's liberty and freedoms lies in allowing even protecting dissenting view and voices.

    People have different and legitimate views on guns and abortion and so forth, but they are, apparently, not welcomed in small tent progressive states like New York.

    @A Quaker

    No, it's not milder. And it demonstrates the controlling tendencies of the progressive left. Name one conservative governing leader that has said liberal/progressive voices are not welcomed.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 2:21 p.m.


    There are requirements to be president, and verifying that someone has met the requirements is a far cry from telling a people, "We don't want your kind here". I am sure if you think about it for a while, including reversing roles, you can see the difference.


    Where has Governor Herbert said that? Source please, and exact quote? Good luck. I don't believe it exists. Without substantiation you claim is just a cheap shot at the Governor, "...just throwing everything at the wall to see if it sticks." (B. H. Obama)


  • Melanna Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 22, 2014 1:40 p.m.

    So it is okay for Herbert to treat gays as second class and indicate they don't represent Utah values and should live in a state that allows gay marriage, but it is not okay for Cuomo to say that about conservatives in New York.

    Nice double standard there!

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 12:34 p.m.

    "Your kind don't belong here" is hate speech. Liberals could see this as hate speech if it were directed at them, or at Blacks, or illegal immigrants. But they are blind to it when it is directed at conservatives, or Christian citizens."

    Both sides use statements like these to marginalize the other. How many times has a DN poster stated "If you don't like it, you can leave."? Statements like these indicate one has nothing constructive or intelligent to add to the discussion.

    I'm not sure it qualifies as "hate speech" but I do see your point. Many conservatives don't like a liberal's views on America, and vice versa. Both sides have double standards. Hypocrisy isn't the sole realm of just one side. Both sides believe "free speech" only applies to them, not others.

    Gov. Cuomo doesn't speak for every liberal in NY, just as Gov. Herbert doesn't speak for every conservative in UT. Neither one of them speak for me. His words have more power and meaning due to his position. He should have kept this belief in his back pocket.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    "What "vile things" have people said about Obama?"

    He's regularly called a communist, a fascist, compared to Hitler or the Nazis, sometimes Stalin if they feel like being more original. It's asserted that he's racist, wants to destroy the nation, is a dictator... There's even a group of people who feel he's illegitimate under the belief he was born in Kenya (I wonder how many of them are Cruz supporters). Or I guess now you can just look one comment below yours.

    "It worked for a certain politician in Germany in 1933."

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 12:30 p.m.

    @KJB1 "That's just hypocrisy."

    Here's what's hypocrisy: going around preaching tolerance, and then being intolerant.

    I have nothing against giving and receiving criticism. I do have something against self-proclaimed liberals who would deny other people their liberty.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 12:27 p.m.

    "I have yet to hear even one of the most extreme people tell Obama that there is no place for him here in the USA. "

    There are representatives in Congress that believe Obama is not a US citizen and therefore shouldn't be president.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Jan. 22, 2014 12:20 p.m.

    Duh. I don't think the commenters here understand what Liberal means. It's not Libertarian. It means wanting to use the government to benefit society. Things like proactively enforcing civil rights, protecting the air and water from pollution, preventing consumer fraud, and enacting social support programs like Social Security, foodstamps and Medicare. Those are all Liberal uses of government.

    Gerson errs in conflating Cuomo's comments during an appearance on a radio show with Christie's use of federal funding to gratuitously feature himself in post-Sandy ads. While they're both arguably self-serving, Cuomo only used time already allotted for his appearance on a show dedicated to him expressing his political opinion. How is that the same thing?

    Plus, there is no use of government power here. Cuomo can't ban anyone from government, or from speech, or from the state. His expressed opinions were far milder than anything we hear on the radio from Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, Beck, Schlessinger, Ingraham or Michael Savage. And that's all they were, expressed opinions.

    Gerson is far off base with this one.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 12:12 p.m.

    The subtle, nuanced, openness of liberalism has been tarnished by Cuomo. Ask a communist to speak at a large university and they will be welcomed. Ask a conservative to speak and there will be demonstrations, protests and interruptions in an attempt to silence them. The free exchange of ideas has become acceptable only if you pass the liberal dogma litmus test. Cuomo has entered the downward spiral of totalitarianism; demonize your enemies first, then persecute them. It worked for a certain politician in Germany in 1933.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Jan. 22, 2014 11:32 a.m.

    @KJB1: What "vile things" have people said about Obama? If someone criticizes Obamacare, is that saying something vile about Obama? If someone questions is actions regarding Benghazi, or his inept foreign policy, or his utter failure to keep his promises when he ran for president in 2008, is that saying something vile? Or is it vile to think Obama is hypocritical if he meanly criticizes a man with good character like Mitt Romney and then turns around and gives the Presidential of Medal Honor to Bill Clinton who has a severely compromised character? With all due respect, I sense a double standard, Mr. KJB1.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 11:00 a.m.

    At the end of the day, Govenor Cuomo speaks for New Yorkers just as Gov. Herbert speaks for Utahns. The people of both states can vote their Govenors out of office if they feel they're not representing them. Just as a lot of the DN bloggers, and presumably the majority of Utahns, view NY as a liberal bastion of unwanted values the same can be said of New Yorkers views of Utah conservative values. The irony is I don't want either Govenor speaking on my behalf, as their views do not represent my values of equality, tolerance and acceptance. It would be personally rewarding to see both Govenors voted out of office by the people.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 10:26 a.m.

    KJB I have yet to hear even one of the most extreme people tell Obama that there is no place for him here in the USA. The most rabid anonymous posters don't even say it. But the GOVERNOR of NEW YORK said it to conservatives.

    Wow, just wow.

    Total abuse of power. Total incivility. And then you rationalize for him.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Jan. 22, 2014 10:07 a.m.


    They absolutely should have been allowed to say those things, but then they turn around and cry when some of it blows back on them. That's just hypocrisy. Aren't they the ones going on about "personal responsibility"?

  • Mickey Kovars Tampa, FL
    Jan. 22, 2014 9:45 a.m.

    Cuomo's comments underline the liberals' fear of honest debate on such issues as abortion, guns, gay marriage, and others. They know that there are powerful and persuasive arguments on the other side: better to disqualify them -- get them out of the ring before the fight so that their arguments needn't be responded to.

    What conservatives need is a strong politician who will take the fight back to Cuomo and Obama and their friends and not worry about the media criticism that would inevitably follow. Right now there is no such person -- the Republicans are being much too passive. Maybe someone like Donald Trump? Speaking of which, maybe he should run against Cuomo for NY governor.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 9:38 a.m.

    @KBJ1 "After all the vile things they've allowed people to say about President Obama..."

    Do you think people should not have been allowed to say those things? That's kind of the point.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    This kind of talk is rampant among the common liberals and liberals who have comedic roles on TV, but to have a governor say it is a whole other issue.

    What is next, a Gov. Boggs style extermination order, "Drive them out, or kill them."?

    Is the next defense for assault or murder in New York, "He/she was an ultra-conservative."?

    Perhaps Gov Herbert (he would never do it as he is a civilized gentleman) should tell all left wingers they are have no place in Utah. That wouldn't be the right thing to do, but it would be equal to Gov Cuomo, equally wrong that is. As people with conservative values we know that this is wrong.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    Who is amazed? Shocked? Who honestly thinks that the modern Democratic party stands for liberty in anything? They stand for libertine --all sex, drugs and alcohol, with abortions paid for by the rest of us. But liberty? Freedom to disagree?

    Not a chance. They have a massive, full court press out to marginalize any "dissent." Remember when dissent was patriotic? Now, if you disagree with gay marriage you should lose your job. You don't think a baby at 9 months should be ripped from the womb and torn limb from limb? You don't belong in New York. Obama said, "I won! You can't disagree with me!"

    They really should change the name of the Democratic Party to the Fascist party. Or maybe the Communist party--it's what they want. Government as God, Government ├╝ber alles!

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Jan. 22, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    Really? After all the vile things they've allowed people to say about President Obama, conservatives are going to freak out about this? I love how a bunch of "rugged individualists" turn out to be a bunch of thin-skinned whiners. If Cuomo advocates an armed overthrow of the Republican Party, then they get to talk.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    "Your kind don't belong here" is hate speech. Liberals could see this as hate speech if it were directed at them, or at Blacks, or illegal immigrants. But they are blind to it when it is directed at conservatives, or Christian Religious citizens.

    The double standard is astounding. I guess free speech only protects some people's free speech.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 8:01 a.m.

    Amazing coming from a liberal Democrat. New York, conservatives don't belong here. Wow. Imagine how much cover that gives anyone who says the same in any other state about a minority group. I do think that this spells the end of any Cuomo ideas of running for President. Too bad in a way, as Hillary needs some competetion.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    Being a liberal used to mean you were a proponent of liberty.