Gay-Marriage Envy

Sometimes I wish my personal overriding cause were gay rights. Then I could get up in the morning and feel that my side was making real progress.

It is thrilling to see how a movement for human decency has made immense gains. Executive leadership married to millions of acts of personal courage in a strong grass-roots movement can be transformative. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is the hero of the hour for using all his political skills to move just enough Republicans in the New York Legislature into the Yes column on same sex marriage.

Maureen Dowd's Wednesday New York Times column quotes Cuomo: "For a moment, you had people in this state capital who really heard their better angels and responded. Government has a renewed bounce in its step."

Dowd, valorizing New York Cuomo's leadership, notes that he "debuted with a flawless six months as a social liberal and a fiscal conservative (he passed an austere budget with a property tax cap and no tax increases.)"

But what's so flawless about that? Where are the leaders who twist arms and motivate politicians to listen to their better angels when the issues are jobs and social investment and fighting middle class insecurity and poverty?

It's a joy to see progress on same-sex marriage and the broader acceptance of sexual difference, a fight that is far from over. It would be nice to also see some progress on the pocketbook issues.

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