The gubernatorial debate -- 36 years ago

The clip embedded above is a New York gubernatorial debate from 1982, a matchup of Democratic lieutenant governor Mario Cuomo and Republican Lewis Lehrman. It's hard to imagine watching a debate like this today.

The debate was posted on YouTube by the Empire Center as part of a piece by EJ McMahon contrasting the level of dialog then with what passes political discourse now. We saw the post earlier this month and thought about it again last night while watching the debate train wreck between Andrew Cuomo and Marc Molinaro.

The back and forth in the debate is often pointed -- and they use some of the same annoying debate moves that show up today -- but it's also detailed and suggests two people with differing perspectives trying to solve problems.

It's also notable that some of the prominent topics Cuomo and Lehrman discussed -- including New York's relatively high taxes, and the exodus of people and jobs from the state -- are still among the big topics now.

By the way
It's remarkable seeing Mario Cuomo freestyle about policy and values in this debate with such rhythm and speed. It's like watching the inspiration for an entire cast of Sorkin characters.

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