Good morning, it’s Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. Andrew Cuomo, in the home stretch of his third term in Albany, finally acceded to the inevitable yesterday by resigning as governor of New York. The low-key lieutenant governor who will replace him is little-known, even in the Empire State, but she brings to the job of wealth of political experience and an entirely different temperament.
A Buffalo native, Kathy Hochul graduated from Syracuse and earned a law degree at Catholic University. She was a Senate aide to legendary New York Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan, served 14 years on a town council in western New York, as a clerk in Erie County, and one term in Congress. A self-described “independent Democrat,” which is rare enough these days, she displays none of the symptoms of the condition endemic among current Washington politicians, namely an allergy to bipartisan cooperation. Consequently, her succession was greeted with relief by state legislators in both parties, who sounded exhausted by the constant drama surrounding the combative Cuomo.
“As a lifelong western New Yorker, I look forward to working together with our state’s first female governor,” said Republican Assemblyman Michael Norris.
“We need a peacemaker,” added Democratic Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti. “I am hopeful she will be. That will be her biggest challenge: to bring everybody together.
That sounds nice, but politics, unlike the Olympics, doesn’t ever seem to take time off. Speaking of which, in a moment I’ll reintroduce you to an Olympian of yore. First, I’d direct you to our front page, which aggregates, as it does each day, an array of columns and stories spanning the political spectrum. We also offer a complement of original material from RCP’s reporters and contributors, including the following:
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One Month Ago, Cuba Changed Forever. Now What? Sen. Marco Rubio urges the Biden administration not to miss the fading opportunity to promote democracy in the communist nation.
Taking Critical Race Theory Bans to Court. Henry Kokkeler examines First Amendment and other issues sure to impact legal challenges to the teaching of CRT in public schools.
The Great Parent Revolt. Katharine C. Gorka lays out growing opposition to what’s seen as overreach by progressive school administrators, nonprofits and the federal government.
Ignore the Disinformation. Big Corporations Do Pay Taxes. Ted Alexander argues that major corporations pay billions of dollars in local, state, and payroll taxes.
Medicine Is Getting a Big Injections of Woke Ideology. The national racial reckoning over reparations and critical race theory is taking over health care, John Murawski reports in the first of a two-part series for RealClearInvestigations.
Why “Fat” in Your Stocks Diet Is Healthy. Ken Fisher explains at RealClearMarkets.
GOP Proves to Be the Party of Yes on Climate Solutions. At RealClearEnergy, Heather Reams spotlights the emergence of the Conservative Climate Caucus, which emphasizes reduced emissions while still producing affordable, reliable energy.
Three Ways Church Leaders Drive Away Visitors. At RealClearReligion, Deirdre Reilly offers advice to ministers concerned about declining membership.
How Progressives Rewrote American History. In the latest 1776 Series essay at RealClear’s American Civics portal, Bradley C.S. Watson takes a critical look at the work of Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Richard Hofstadter, among others.
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At the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, a Hawaiian swimmer with a memorable name set the world record in the 100-meter freestyle race. Although Hawaii wasn’t yet a U.S. state, Duke Kahanamoku swam proudly for the U.S. team. By today’s Olympic standards, his gold medal-winning time of 1:00.4 wasn’t remarkable (Katie Ledecky swam faster when she was 13). But his age was: Kahanamoku was 30 years old at those Summer Games. He was making up for lost time: In 1916, when Duke was in his prime, the Olympics had been cancelled by World War I.
And Kahanamoku first set a world record 110 years ago today, when he was still 20. The feat was accomplished at an AAU swim meet in Honolulu Harbor, and he swam so fast — breaking the existing 100-yard freestyle world record by 4.6 seconds — that swimming’s official organizations wouldn’t recognize it for four years.
The Duke, as he was known, showed ’em. The next year, he won gold and silver medals at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, becoming a household name in the process. Eight years later in Antwerp, he won gold in the 100-meter freestyle again and anchored the American 800-meter relay team in a first-place finish.
Four years after that, while in his mid-30s, he finished second in a storied U.S. sweep in the 100-meter freestyle at the 1924 Games. Johnny Weissmuller won gold, The Duke claimed silver, and his younger brother, Samuel Kahanamoku, took the bronze.
Duke’s Olympic career ended in 1932 at the Los Angeles Olympics. Nearing the age of 42, he was an alternate member on the bronze medal-winning U.S. water polo team. During those years, all he did when not winning swim meets was introduce the world to an ancient sport practiced in the Pacific.
Surfing — or “wave sliding,” as it was known — had previously been the provenance of Hawaiian royalty. Riding a 16-foot longboard that weighed over 100 pounds, The Duke showed the world that the big waves were accessible to anyone with the guts and skill to ride them. Known as “the father of surfing,” he was the first person inducted into both the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the Surfers’ Hall of Fame.
Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics