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John C. Miller

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.

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

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

It's a journalistic cliche...