Monday, September 21, 2009
Paterson Bucks the White House
New York has always been larger than life - now it's becoming downright surreal. While the Governator tries to toss every program he can find overboard to keep California from sinking below the economic waves, New York's governor has somehow managed to survive one political misstep after another.
Don't get me wrong - he hasn't come through it all unscathed - New Yorkers are withering in their assessment of his job performance. But he's still in office - and he's decided he can get elected again even if the White House wants him out.
If you haven't heard, President Obama, who is visiting New York today to continue his PR for health care reform blitz, sent word to Governor David Paterson that he doesn't want him to run again. It's a political move, an effort to make sure the Democratic party remains in control of the state in the next election.
Why not Paterson? Well, let me count the problems. 1. He played coy with the hopefuls who lined up to replace Hilary Clinton when she left the Senate. There was a definite echo of nyah nyah nyah coming from the Governor's mansion. 2. He was downright rude to Caroline Kennedy, an Obama buddy and an apparently blameless individual who just wanted to get into politics. Was she the best person for the job? I couldn't say - she didn't appear to be a good shmoozer, but maybe that's a good thing. 3. He was told that the one person the White House DIDN'T want in the Senate was Kirstin Gillibrand - she was seen as a weak candidate and one likely to get ousted in the next election. He appointed Gillibrand. 4. He totally lost control of the legislature and ended up sitting on his hands for a month while the Senate refused to work. 5. Why are his poll numbers down? Paterson blamed racism.
All in all, he's a liability for the party. And he's clearly not loyal to the president. In politics, loyalty is everything. Paterson's loyalty is to the New York Democratic machine. He does what it wants, and has from the start. Things have been running well for the machine since Hilary Clinton left - she was, bless her, an irritant. She didn't take marching orders nor did she have to. I didn't appreciate her til she was gone.
So Paterson says he can do it on his own. It promises to be an interesting match - the governor versus the president.
Meanwhile, Paterson finally got around to endorsing NYC Controller Bill Thompson in his race to oust NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bet that's making Bill feel great.