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DNC Dispatch: The NY Experience

Thursday, September 06, 2012

A lot was packed into three day for New York’s Democratic delegation — some good and some bad.

Speeches from First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama  fired up the delegates, just as omitting language recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital from the party platform had them shaking their heads. Oh, and then there was also penciling in God.

"That will cost us Florida," said one highly placed Democrat.

But others focused on where they’d win and with what message.  The delegation’s morning breakfasts, housed under a huge white tent in the parking lot, had the feel of a late 19th century religious revival. It was housed under a huge white tent pitched in the parking lot of the hotel. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo's appearance on the last day marked the rhetorical climax of three days of barnstorming speeches on behalf of the re-election of President Obama.

Governor Cuomo, whose voice was too large for the space, was at his best when he went after the Republican argument that cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans releases a "great entrepreneurial spirit" that makes for broader prosperity for all.

"No! When you cut taxes on the rich. There is no spirit that appears. Rich people just get more money," Cuomo boomed.

Governor Cuomo skillfully weaved in a passionate re-election message for the president, along with a pitch for his administration's effort at restoring the greatness of what had become a faded Empire State. He also managed to link the re-election of President Obama as a way to finally win broader acceptance of gay marriage. "We can make the statement as a nation that everybody's relationship is the same and everybody's loves the same and whether you are gay or straight in the eyes of the law your relationship is equal."

It was clear at the convention that New York's Democratic party saw its prominence within the national party rise as a consequence of the passage of marriage equality.

"I can't stress enough how historic. and important this convention is and this president is," said Yetta Kurland, a Democratic partisan and civil rights lawyer. "He is the first sitting president in the history of the United States of America to come out in support of marriage equality."

At the end of the three days, many delegates were looking to a November win and what it might mean for the Empire State.

For State Senator Bill Perkins a potential victory for Obama , he believed, would encourage Governor  Cuomo to recalibrate left. "This president will have an unexpectedly important impact. If this progressive vision is voted back in office, our leadership in the state will take note," Perkins predicted.

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