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Mario Cuomo

The false populism of George Pataki

The false populism of George Pataki

I keep thinking we're done with George Pataki -- but like an order of bad clams, he keeps coming back up on me.

The three-term Republican governor of a famously blue state seems like a serious 2016 presidential contender on paper -- until you read the fine print.

Mr. Pataki had a promising start. He beat Democratic icon Mario Cuomo in 1994. He cut income taxes 25 percent and trimmed other taxes as well. In his first two years in office, spending went down 2.5 percent.

If you had stopped the Pataki show there, he'd be the next Reagan. Similarly, if Napoleon had quit before invading Russia, he'd be remembered very differently, too.

It's a journalistic cliché...