Friday, February 26, 2010

Farewell Governor Paterson

I have mixed feelings about David Paterson's announcement today that he won't be seeking election to his own term as Governor of New York, having become governor when Eliot Spitzer resigned and Paterson as Lt. Governor assumed the office.

I still have not forgiven Paterson for not appointing Caroline Kennedy to fill Hillary Clinton's seat when she was appointed U.S. Secretary of State.  I've come to admire Kirsten Gillibrand's position on many issues - including support of the public health care option, by reconciliation - but I still think Caroline Kennedy in the Senate would have been a game-changing appointment that could have really helped our nation progress.    Paterson had the chance to appoint her, and he blew it.

On the other hand, his treatment by the mainstream media, in particular their running with the Internet rumors that he was going to resign because he himself had been caught in some sort of sexual scandal, and the NY Times was about to publish a story about it, was disgraceful.   As I told Chuck Scarborough in an interview on the NY Nightly News - see video below - the news media should be reporting stories, not potential reports of stories.

It turns out the New York Times story was not about Paterson, but his aide David Johnson, who's accused of domestic abuse.   And Paterson's decision not to run is due to his possible involvement in trying to get Johnson's alleged victim not to proceed with the charges.   Paterson has denied this, it's not by any means in the same league as being involved in some sort of sexual scandal himself, but apparently the focus he'll need in defending against those claims, and being Governor, leaves no room for his running for office.

It's a sad day for Paterson and a tough day for New York.  He's done some very good things as governor, such as signing into law a bill that extends health coverage to children under their parents' policies until the children are 29.

The one good thing that we can get out of Paterson's announcement not to run for election is that at least he's not in the U. S. Senate, where every vote counts more than ever in these volatile times.

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