It's a long time until 1988, and the Democrats are taking a closer and closer look at New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, the star of last year's Democratic nominating convention in San Francisco. The governor now has Fred Martin, a former Walter Mondale operative and a Geraldine A. Ferraro speech writer during her vice-presidential campaign, working in the New York State office on Capitol Hill. He's there, the official word is, to work for New York's interests in the growing tax-reform battles that ironically have made political partners of Cuomo and Republican Sen. Alfonse D'Amato. But Martin's also well positioned to help Cuomo in his testing of the political waters for 1988.

Cuomo will be making another major political splash June 19 when some of the biggest stars in his party gather at the Washington Hilton for his roast. The third in what has become an annual fundraiser for Independent Action, a political action group founded by Rep. Mo Udall, will feature Sens. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Bill Bradley, House Speaker Tip O'Neill, Rep. Charles Rangel and Democratic National Committee Chairman Paul Kirk as the roasters. Ferraro is expected as a special guest. Now that even former president Richard M. Nixon has said he expects Cuomo to be the candidate in 1988, look for Cuomo to get roasted frequently on that one.