Harbingers of 1992: New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo is the latest prominent Democrat to be irritated by Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Paul Goldman, a top adviser to Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder (D).

Goldman told the New York Post last week that Cuomo was a "Wall Street Democrat" who "sounds like Ronald Reagan" because he favors tax cuts for the wealthy. Goldman was protesting what he said was Cuomo's recent endorsement of a cut in capital gains tax rates.

Cuomo responded that Goldman "was developing a Republican trait of trying to make progress by burying other people." Goldman also had criticized Sen. Charles S. Robb (D-Va.) for backing Wilder's 1989 Republican opponent, J. Marshall Coleman, for an administration post.

Cuomo aide Brad Johnson said Goldman misrepresented Cuomo's remarks, explaining that Cuomo would back a reduction in capital gains tax rates only "as part of a progressive tax package, along the lines of legislation this year by {Rep. Dan} Rostenkowski" (D-Ill.).

"We have no beef with Governor Wilder," Johnson said. "Our beef is with Paul Goldman, who tries to define his governor by misconstruing the views of others."

In addition, New York Democratic Party Chairman John Marino fired off a letter to Wilder stating that "your state chair has chosen to engage in a series of negative attacks on Governor Cuomo. . . . Such negative attacks are not in the best interests of Virginia or New York." Marino said Goldman had been "inaccurate with the facts."

"I have not said anything personal; I've tried to focus on the issues. How else are we going to pound out a message?" Goldman responded. "There is a double standard. When they criticize other Democrats, that's fine. When I defend my governor, it's not." Furthermore, Goldman said, "Brad Johnson criticized Doug Wilder first."