Angry New Yorker

Friday, July 18, 2008
Accidental Governor. Intentional Buffoon.

We had hopes for Governor Paterson. After all, with the shame of Governor Spitzer preceding him as a touchstone virtually any comparison could only be positive. Unfortunately, as is wont in New York, Governor Paterson has and continues to demonstrate that not only is he not up to the massive challenges facing New York, but he remains enthralled to the usual Albany suspects (i.e., lobbyists, unions, campaign contributors, perpetual grievance mongers, etc.).

As the inimitable Henry Stern has highlighted at NY Civic, Paterson has raised $3.3 million in contributions since March and in the process discarded Spitzer's self-imposed $10,000 limit on contributions (which standing alone is indicative of nothing nefarious). However, his office expenditures, at a time of severe budgetary constraint is a shameful mockery of spending restraint. As The New York Sun noted yesterday, in its editorial, Bloat in Albany:
62 of Governor Paterson's aides earn $100,000 a year or more. The result is a governor's office annual payroll of $15.6 million. Massachusetts manages with a governor's office payroll of $4.8 million, Florida with $6.8 million. Texas, which has a larger population than New York, manages to staff its governor's office by spending about half as much money as New York does. In California, only 46 of the governor's aides earn $100,000 a year or more.
The sheer bald-faced lack of shame and abundance of gall in New York politicians today is utterly astounding. Some of us are still of the opinion that public service should be accompanied by some level of humility and recognition that the "public" is to be served and are not merely potential revenue sources for one's fiefdom.

Even with all this, however, Governor Paterson raised the bar on his ballooning buffoonery with his idiotic (there's no other word for it) speech before the NAACP, a once proud organization that today has degenerated into utter illegitimacy and demagoguery. We couldn't find a copy of Paterson's NAACP speech on his official website at, as the link provided for speeches only lists speeches made between Mar. 17th and April 25th, 2008 (one would think that with the legions of staffers someone could update the site on a timely basis). However, as reported in the New York Sun, the Governor " lash[ed][] out at the press for describing him as an 'accidental governor,' implying in a speech that the term's frequent usage was motivated by racial bias."

Excuse me, Sir? You ARE an accidental Governor. No one voted you Governor, and your ascension to the Governor's mansion is due only to the self-destructive implosion of Governor Spitzer. And to state that use of this term is somehow motivated by racial bias is paranoid buffoonery of the highest order.

Indeed, as the New York Sun states, Paterson's charge that few others in the analogous situation were dubbed "accidental" is contradicted by the facts:

Richard Codey, who filled in as governor of New Jersey for James McGreevey after the latter resigned in a sex scandal, was described as an "accidental governor" by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Observer (in a story headlined "the Return of an Accidental Governor), the Washington Post, the Star-Ledger (in several articles), the Associated Press, and the New York Times.

President Johnson was the subject of a 1967 book by Robert Sherrill called "The Accidental President." A 2001 book about President Bush and the 2000 election race by David Kaplan was titled, "The Accidental President: How 413 Lawyers, 9 Supreme Court Justices, and 5,963,110 Floridians (Give or Take a Few) Landed George W. Bush in the White House."

Playing the race card in such a manner is a disgrace. Worse, the Governor went on to then "suggest[] that the defeat of Senator Obama by Senator McCain in the presidential contest would be a victory for racism."

My God! if simply voting one's convictions against Obama is a "victory for racism" than precious little one does in everyday life is free from the taint of this noxious charge. If we decide to go to McDonald's, because we like their Angus burgers, instead of the Burger King next door, which happens to have a manager who is black, is this a "victory for racism" as a result?

Governor, you do yourself and New York no favor with this line of racial pandering and paranoia. And you damage your already tarnished image as Governor of the once great state of New York.

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