Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking the most minimal role possible at the Democratic National Convention on September 3rd, only showing up for one day and not even speaking to the crowd. However, before the state party’s own policy-oriented convention in Manhattan this morning, he gave a convention speech in exile, proclaiming the Democratic Party’s values as the ultimate key for effective governance.
“Fundamentally the Democratic Party believes in government: We believe in the concept of government. We believe government is the vehicle for community. And that’s the essence of what the Democratic Party is all about,” Mr. Cuomo declared. “The Democrat is arguing is arguing that government as a vehicle for the collective can make a difference, and we should try that.”
“We can find a way to use our collective strength to help the individual and raise us all in the process,” he continued. “The fabric of society, the fabric of community, that’s what the Democratic Party is talking about. And if you believe in community, and you believe in the collective, and you believe in society, and you believe in us, and you believe in together, then the vehicle for that collective action is government.”
The policy conference, co-hosted by the state Democratic Party, the Center for American Progress Action Fund and Third Way, was sparsely populated with only a couple of elected officials showing up to munch on breakfast and hear Mr. Cuomo’s opening speech at that point in the morning. Nevertheless, the event is likely to fill out later in the day as panelists discuss progressive topics like green jobs and campaign finance reform.
For his part, Mr. Cuomo connected his broader ideas about collective action to what he’s been able to accomplish. Indeed, Mr. Cuomo argued, in order for Democratic values to win out, they have to be able to deliver concrete accomplishments.
“What is government?” he asked himself. “Government is us. Government is us. We will form a committee to do that which we cannot do individually, we will elect a head of the committee and that committee is government. And if you believe in us and you believe in our capacity and you believe in our power, then government has to work.”
Reflecting on his record since he took office in January of 2011, he declared that the people’s trust in government is on its way to being restored.
“That’s what the 18 months in the story of New York State have been all about,” he said. “I believe we’ve made progress over the past 18 months. We’re starting to restore the trust, we’re starting to reconnect with people. We’re starting to show that government can actually work and it’s something we can be proud of. I believe we’re starting to vindicate the fundamental concept of community, and the collective. The best success and the sweetest success is shared success. And it is possible.”
The audience clapped approvingly.