As principled and in some ways personally admirable as Mario Cuomo appears in the obituaries and remembrances, it's hard to get around the fact that his policies failed.
This was brought home to me most emphatically when, in searching through some clips about Mr. Cuomo, I stumbled upon a New York Times dispatch by Sam Roberts from 1994, Mr. Cuomo's final year in office. It reported that Texas had surpassed New York to become the second most populous state in the nation, after California, which had surpassed New York for first place back in 1970. "New York has been hemmorhaging population to other states, including Texas," the Times reported then.
It was only last month that New York, under the governorship of Mario Cuomo's son Andrew, slipped another place back in the population rankings, to fourth, behind Florida. (Elliott Abrams has some thoughts on that over at the Weekly Standard.)
Mario Cuomo eventually lost to George Pataki at the polls. But in some ways the vote people make by exiting can be more telling than the one they make at the ballot box. It's the Tiebout Effect in action.
Some will no doubt chalk all this up to the technological innovation of air conditioning, which makes the Florida and Texas climates more habitable. But surely taxes and regulation have something to do with it too, no?