David Paterson's deepening dilemma
Something's not right about the big mess in which New York Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.) finds himself. He made domestic violence a signature issue, expanding who is covered under the state's abuse laws. Yet he stands accused of downplaying the accusations against a senior aide. He swears he didn't abuse his office, "not now, not ever." And yet, the New York Times blares on its front page today that "Paterson is said to have directed calls to accuser." That sound you hear is the governor's loosening grip on power.
The latest revelation is chum in New York's roiled political waters. Some are even trying to say race is playing a part in Paterson's problems. Oh, brother! The best way to stay out of trouble is to stay out of trouble. For Paterson, the story line that has emerged so far has nothing to do with race and everything to do with an abuse of power. Today's story based on information from "two people with direct knowledge of the governor's actions" will increase calls for the governor to resign. And yet there was a paragraph in today's story that serves as an asterisk on the entire thing. "But the governor’s state of knowledge about the alleged assault and personal involvement in the administration’s handling of it have remained murky," the reporters note.
As long as there are doubts about what Paterson knew and what he did, he should continue to fight to stay in office. Maybe I'm holding out hope that this whole sorry episode is a big misunderstanding and that Paterson's reprehensible actions will be explained away. But if state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's fast-moving investigation proves that there was nothing murky about Paterson's involvement, then he'll have to go.
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