Here in the Empire State, Governor David Paterson is in trouble and there’s no two ways about it. Though his approval numbers have actually rebounded a bit lately, the upward trend still leaves him hovering in the neighborhood of 30 after hitting a low of 18 earlier this year. (Maybe he should run for Congress instead? Those sorts of approval numbers are par for the course there.) And in a way, you almost have to feel sorry for the Governor. Much of the tide he’s fighting was not of his own making.
He arrived on the heels of Eliot Spitzer’s resignation, a story we already know all too well, and it left a shadow on his own administration from day one. Also, he managed to arrive just when an already sour economy headed south in a big way and the perpetually deadlocked state legislature continued to paint the budget with red ink. In a desperate effort to turn things around, Paterson deserves credit for trying to push through some tough spending cuts across the board and bail out the fiscal ship. A coalition of groups which would have been affected quickly mounted a multi-million dollar media campaign encouraging voters to “tell Governor Paterson to stop endangering our state” and the efforts collapsed.
Now, though, Paterson is adding to his own problems. As primary season approaches, Democrats in New York are reading the bloody writing on the wall and thinking that they either need to get a new candidate fast or risk losing the governor’s mansion to the Republicans. Paterson, sadly, decided to almost immediately play the race card.
ALBANY – Gov. Paterson blamed a racist media Friday for trying to push him out of next year’s election – launching into an angry rant that left even some black Democrats shaking their heads.
He suggested that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the country’s only other African-American governor, also is under fire because of his race.
“We’re not in the post-racial period,” Paterson said.
“The reality is the next victim on the list – and you can see it coming – is President Barack Obama, who did nothing more than trying to reform a health care system.”
Paterson is quickly losing whatever sympathy he might have had.
“He’s given the media more than enough to feed on with the incompetence shown in his administration,” said state Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn), an African-American.
“To quote Michael Jackson, he should start with the man in the mirror,” Parker said.
Even state Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem), a black supporter of the governor, urged him to be more like Obama by staying “focused on the message.”
Governor, they’re not trying to push you out because you’re black, and I suspect you already know that. This is New York. We elect people of every color, religion and sexual identity here on a regular basis. (Well, except Republicans, but you know how they are.)
They’re out to get you off the ticket because your own party thinks you’re going to take down the ship with your dead weight. The state’s books are a mess, jobs are sill hemorrhaging away and you were just the right guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you try to blame your troubles on all those racist people in the New York media (*cough*) and among the voters, you’re going to make a laughing stock of yourself. Either find a plan to turn things around fast and put it in place with your name on it or get ready to pack your bags – whether of your own volition or on orders from the voters.