Word today that former New York State Governor Hugh Carey has died at age 92. Carey is regarded by many as one of the best governors of the modern era, saving the state and New York City from the fiscal crises of the 1970s. He was an adroit politician, negotiating and cutting deals that kept NYC from going bankrupt.
Last year, when the dysfunction in Albany was at its highest, I opined on this blog about how this state needed a Hugh Carey now more than ever. Well, we got Andrew Cuomo so perhaps out prayers were answered. We shall see.
Reading about his career, I'm struck at how people like Carey couldn't get elected today. He was not flashy or exciting. He wasn't born to great wealth or into a political dynasty. He wasn't a party machine hack. He was just a public servant to wanted to serve. And his record of service was outstanding.
Most of all, Carey failed the "guy I'd want to have a beer with test." He was a very odd person, fathering lots of children, married a very creepy woman for his second marriage, and eventually alienating all of his friends and allies. He was downright weird and, after he left office, faded from the public eye. Carey was all too human but he saved this city. And for that we should be eternally grateful.