Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sex, Lies and Politics

Oh good grief! This sex stuff is getting us so uncomfortable that an additional shower or two a day may well be in order. Now it's David Paterson's turn on the spit-with a joint press conference with his wife Michele Paige Paterson about the couple's infidelities. Here's how the NY Times sees it: "With his wife standing by his side, Mr. Paterson, 53, expressed regret for past mistakes but said he was coming forward to clear the air and avoid any “innuendo” or speculation that might arise. “I didn’t break the law,” he said, toward the end of his news conference, at the State Capitol in Albany."

For crying out loud, is this where we are headed? Will candidates from now on have to list all of their sexual partners before they announce for public office? It's one thing to break the law, but quite another to violate a private covenant; and it's about time that the media got its nose out from under the bedroom door.

David Paterson is facing some grave challenges; our economic situation is indeed precarious. And we're going to need a strong hand at the helm-with David having to perhaps re-evaluate some of his past political positions in these troubled times. As Bob McManus tells us in the NY post yesterday: "And think back to the inauguration of Hugh L. Carey, in 1975. Carey was, essentially, a hail-fellow-well-met machine pol from Brooklyn - of whom not much was expected. But when it counted, he transcended those expectations - did he ever! - and New York was saved from fiscal disaster. Carey, of course, had surrounded himself with high-caliber advisers and appointed a quality cabinet. In the crunch, that paid off. Paterson can do no less than that if he expects to weather the troubles now on his horizon."

So let's get away from the tawdry on on to the serious job of governing. Paterson needs to be scrutinized for his policy navigation not his marital indiscretions. The state faces some dire prospects and Errol Louis rightly worries that the governor's speech the other day failed to take on the reform mantle" "But months from now, after the last "good riddance" jokes about Spitzer have been told - and the final bucks raked in by America's best-known whore - New York will remain the most taxed state in the union, and Albany will still be a place where lobbyists, unions and corporate pitchmen wield far too much influence over who gets the sweet slices of the $124 billion budget cake."

We believe that David Paterson has the ability to transcend the expectations, and it is incumbent on the press to dramatize the policy issues and leave the kiss and tell stuff to the Hollywood gossip mongers.