History comes to mind after hearing remarks New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made on a radio show last week. His father, the former Gov. Mario Cuomo, may have no place in his son’s New York. What’s more, by his own standards, even the current governor’s place may be in jeopardy.
The governor complained about conservatives during his appearance on “The Capitol Pressroom” radio show Friday, defining them as, “Right-to-life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay.”
He closed his thoughts with this topper: “If that’s who they are, they have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”
The problem is, when reminded of a mayoral campaign the senior Cuomo allegedly waged in 1977 — one in which the younger Cuomo had a role, the two can not be excluded from the anti-gay category with 100 percent certainty.
The late New York Mayor Ed Koch was very private about his sex life and his sexual preference. When the lifelong bachelor was asked whether he was gay or straight, he shot back, “It’s none of your f—ing business,” the New York Daily News reported.
Although Koch was right — it was no one’s business but his own — remarks like that set tongues wagging, and allegedly prompted the elder Cuomo to use the gossip to his own advantage.
During the ugly 1977 New York City mayoral primary battle between Koch and Mario Cuomo, Cuomo campaign signs appeared throughout Queens — Cuomo’s home turf — reading, “Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo.” Cuomo’s son Andrew, then 19, worked alongside his father on the campaign.
Both father and son denied they had anything to do with the dirty trick, according to Gothamist, but one has to ask, who benefited from the smear? No one but Mario Cuomo.
The New York Times released a 2007 interview with Koch after his death a year ago, and confessed he had never forgiven either of the Cuomos for the incident.
“I always held it against him. I also held it against his son, Andy Cuomo,” he said in the videotaped interview, the Daily News reported.
“Social relationships, where we meet, are good,” Koch added, noting his meetings with the elder Cuomo following the primary. “Underneath, he knows, I know, what I’m really thinking: ‘You pr—.’”
First of all, the campaign slogan, “Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo,” assumed something that hadn’t even been established — that Koch was gay.
Second, the signs implied that if Koch were gay, that would make him somehow less qualified to run the Big Apple.
Third, the pejorative “homo,” the gay equivalent of the “n” word, was chosen to make the point.
If that doesn’t meet the younger Cuomo’s definition of “anti-gay,” I’m not sure what else would.
Note: This post has been revised from its original version