Monday, March 01, 2010

Can He Govern?

In a wonderfully understated-and unintentionally ironic-headline concerning a political pow wow in Harlem to discuss the fate of Davis Paterson, the NY Times asked: "Paterson Faces A Big Question: Can He Govern?" But, as the lawyers might say in court, "Asked and answered."

The reality is known to one and all-David Paterson is as incapable of governing now as he was before the current scandal hit the front pages. And one African -American politician with good sense on all this is Bill Perkins. As the NY Daily News reports: "There were fiery moments during the closed-door talk at Sylvia's Restaurant - with those who have criticized Paterson catching the heat. That included City Controller John Liu, who attended the sitdown, and Manhattan state Sen. Bill Perkins, who did not...Perkins later said if Paterson knows "the worst-case scenario will unfold, [he] should spare the public having to go through that."

But forgive us for being a bit taken aback by the picture of the assembled Harlem crew-with Rangel and Meeks gracelessly gracing the front of the assemblage (not to mention Slim Shady Sharpton). By the way, why were all the Latino pols relegated to the rear? This is the group of wise men and woman that we should heed on matters related to the stumble bum governor?

And considering all of the lynch mob mentality that was displayed against Hiram Monseratte, how in good conscience (please don't laugh) could such a group gather to defend a governor who may in fact have used the police to intimidate an alleged victim of domestic violence? Michael Daily underscores just how egregious this is: "The experts say that witness intimidation is most common in domestic violence and in organized crime. So maybe we should not be shocked that the head of the New York State Police sounded like a mob boss when he tried to explain why his troopers contacted a woman who had filed court papers saying she was assaulted by the governor's closest aide."

As Daily goes on to point out: "Section 215.10 of the New York State Penal Code states: "A person is guilty of tampering with a witness when, knowing that a person is or is about to be called as a witness in an action or proceeding, he wrongfully induces or attempts to induce such person to absent himself." The fact that Corbitt still has his job suggests Gov. Paterson may be complicit himself."

In the Times yesterday, Jim Dwyer highlights the out sized hypocrisy of the governor:

"The People may have been First, but he was not telling them anything about what he blithely referred to as “the latest distraction.” That distraction would be the revelations last week that a woman complained of being harassed by the State Police and contacted by Mr. Paterson himself after she tried to get a court order of protection from one of his aides, a former boyfriend she said had violently attacked her. This seems like high-octane gall. Right around the time Mr. Paterson called the woman, he was publicly proclaiming the importance of protecting victims of domestic violence from manipulation by their attackers. In that instance, of course, the governor was not talking about the woman who said she was attacked by his aide. He was complaining that allies of Hiram Monserrate, the Queens state senator whom his colleagues voted this month to expel, were in regular contact with a woman whose face the senator had sliced open. Such contacts showed, Mr. Paterson said, that Mr. Monserrate was not fit for public office. Mr. Paterson made no mention of that standard on Friday."

But let's give some of those in attendance at Saturday's meeting-particularly Rangel and Meeks, proper deference. In calling for the folks to forgive Paterson his sins, the governor at least was being judged by a jury of his true peers; pols who have seen public service as a form of self service.

Of course, these five fingered fabricators would endorse a governor who would characterize witness tampering charges in a domestic violence case as a, "distraction." They would overlook all of the foibles and inattention to the job that Paterson has exhibited over the past two years-seeing his closing down of a quixotic gubernatorial campaign as a form of selflessness.

The sooner this guy finds his way out of Albany, the better off all of us will be. It seems to us that it's only a matter of time before this all comes to a head-and Paterson is forced out on the heels of an indictment. To put the state through all of this while we are in fiscal meltdown is anything but, "putting the people first."