Friday, February 26, 2010

Say A Word For The Salt Of The Earth

David Paterson was the accidental governor. He probably had no business being there, but who could possibly have foreseen that Eliot Spitzer would turn out to be such a massive disappointment in his personal life?
Still, he was thrust into the limelight, unprepared, and tried to make the best of a bad situation. He was the voice of reason when the state senate was threatening to boil over into a militarist dictat.
Thank you, governor.
That said, I'm happy that he's come to this decision

Gov. David A. Paterson announced on Friday afternoon that he was ending his election campaign and would not run in November.

Mr. Paterson, his administration caught up in a whirlwind of allegations about its intervention in a domestic violence episode involving a top aide, ended his campaign less than a week after it officially began. But he defiantly denied any wrongdoing in the burgeoning scandal over his involvement in the abuse case.

The final straw was his special assistant, David Johnson, and allegations that he was a serial abuser of women. He was forced to turn the investigation of his administration over to his likely opponent in the Democratic primary next year, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

In short, he was screwed into office and now screwed out of it.

Paterson's was a landmark governorship. He was the first legally blind governor elected in New York State, as well as the first African American governor in our history. Paterson's accomplishments, his father's influence notwithstanding, are many, and we should take a moment and salute him for coming this far.

Sadly, he fell short, and accumulated ridicule almost from his first day in office for his open marriage. That admission did not inoculate him from sex scandal rumours, including one horrible abuse of the journalistic process perpetuated by the New York Times.

Apparently, despite a buildup that promised a story more salacious than Fanny Brice, Paterson got nebulously involved in the dispute between Johnson and the woman who alleged Johnson assaulted her, but even at that, his involvement sounded more like he supported her story than defended Johnson.

This was not the first time that Paterson sent chilling signals. He had state police investigate then-state senate majority leader (and now convicted felon) Joseph Bruno.

His administration was all but in the toilet anyway, and his popularity ratings made Dick Cheney smile. It's sad, but he could have been so much more and ended up so much less.