The clarification was as bad as the comment — but the comment gave Democrats a new campaign slogan.
Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo came down with a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease when, during a speech Wednesday, he told a crowd that, “We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great."
The remark immediately prompted gasps, howls, and even scattered applause from the audience.
It was meant to denounce President Donald Trump with an obvious reference to his 2016 presidential campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” It was also designed to pander to his audience — he was speaking at an event for New York women and girls.
“We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women — 51 percent of our population — is gone," he explained.
In response to a storm of criticism directed at Cuomo, his office released a statement, purportedly to clarify what he’d meant.
"The governor believes America is great and that her full greatness will be fully realized when every man, woman, and child has full equality," Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever said. "America has not yet reached its maximum potential."
But it didn’t help — it only made matters worse. National Review editor Charles C.W. Cooke observed that the clarification was a total denial of the governor’s remarks. And they were prepared remarks at that, not off-the-cuff.
“Not [only] did he say in prepared remarks that it wasn’t great, he also said it hadn’t ‘reached greatness,’” Cooke observed. “This wasn’t a flub.”
New York Post columnist and Commentary editor John Podhoretz interpreted the clarification thusly: “Cuomo clarifies: ‘I am a blithering idiot.’”
Commentary associate editor Noah Rothman observed, “He’s very not good at this.”
The governor’s attempt to use his reelection campaign appearance to bash the president isn’t anything new for Democrats — they’ve been seeking re-election on anti-Trump campaigns all year, which isn’t likely to help them on Election Day.
“[Democrats] are hysterically anti-Trump, in fact, to the point that they have harmed their own credibility,” said Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro. “They cannot hope to win seats simply by shouting ‘Impeachment!’ and then waiting for political manna to fall from heaven. They must make proposals. They must offer a firm, ideologically grounded opposition.”
Even some Democratic operatives and left-leaning publications agree that this isn’t a winning strategy going into the midterms.
In a New York Times op-ed headlined, “Enough Trump Bashing, Democrats,” Democratic strategist Joe Trippi said, “The reality is that much of the country has come to see Washington as a hostile, hyperpartisan, divisive place filled with bitterness and chaos — and incapable of finding common ground on things like DACA that a vast majority of Americans agree on.”
In a Washington Post opinion piece headlined, “Should Democrats campaign on impeaching Trump?,” columnist Paul Waldman addressed the impeachment issue as a campaign device head-on.
“Impeachment might well end up being the best response,” he concluded. “But until Democrats control Congress, we probably don’t need Dem candidates out their (sic) pushing the idea.”
Never fear. Actor James Woods observed that in addition to bashing the president, Cuomo offered his party a new campaign slogan, wholly independent of the “Impeach 45” mantra.
“#Democrats adopt new campaign slogan: ‘AMERICA SUCKS!’” he tweeted.
It’s admittedly short, spiffy, and would make for an interesting bumper sticker, but that one isn’t likely to work either.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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