David Paterson cannot remain in office for even a single day longer unless his ego is larger than his commitment to New York. That’s a definite possibility.
The allegations that emerged last night from the New York Times that Paterson asked aides to direct an allegedly battered woman to describe her confrontation with a close adviser as “nonviolent” have effectively ended his term as governor. He will no longer exercise any influence in Albany or Washington, DC. He is a disgraced, governor who is now a “former governor” in all but name.
Miraculously, the nation’s premier feminist organisations are not yet calling for his head. This reflects a regrettable attachment to the Democratic political machine. But it is only a holding pattern. By the end of the day we expect they will come forward and call for his resignation.
Paterson regards himself as a victim of the press. We are willing to entertain the idea that he did not realise the implications of asking aides to influence the alleged battery victim. Resolving conflicts, particularly when they regard close aides, is in the blood of the former state legislator. But there’s a world of difference between a state senator attempting to influence a complaining witness in an embarrassing lawsuit and the man who runs the state government doing the same. Paterson’s failure to realise this is an indictment against his fitness for office.
Paterson and his aides may face criminal charges for attempting to influence a witness in a criminal procedure. One of his closest aides has already wisely lawyered up.
There is no way for Paterson to effectively govern the state at this point. He needs to go now. Every day he stays in office is a testament to his inability to recognise this fact and evidence that he is dangerously out of touch with reality.
No doubt Paterson’s partisans will say that the New York Times has it out for the governor. They will point fingers at attorney general Andrew Cuomo, who harbors gubernatorial ambitions. But this is a distraction from the cold hard fact that Paterson is done.
It’s time to go, David. Every hour you remain in office represents a loss for the state you say you are dedicated to. Resign now and you may salvage a bit of your dignity. The chance for a graceful exit is quickly closing.
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