Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Lyin' in Wait by the Exit

To us, it appears that state senator Bill Perkins is prescient for his observation that the governor should be packing up to leave, given his intimate knowledge of just what really happened in what is turning out to be a Nixonian-style cover-up. The NY Times has the lastest unraveling-and it's only a matter of time before Paterson will be forced to resign: "Gov. David A. Paterson personally directed two state officials to contact the woman who had accused his close aide of assaulting her, according to two people with direct knowledge of the governor’s actions."

This is known as obstruction of justice-and Clyde Haberman reaches for the Nixon parallels: "For some refugees from the 1970s, Nixon came to mind the other day as they watched Gov. David A. Paterson raise his right hand, like a witness at a criminal trial, and swear his innocence. His hand flourish was not particularly Nixonian. But his words were. “I give you this personal oath,” the governor said. “I have never abused my office — not now, not ever.” His statement evoked Nixon’s “I’m not a crook” statement, uttered in 1973 as the horror show known as Watergate enveloped him and ultimately forced him into exile."

All of this underscores the extent to which Paterson's accidental governor's status is, well, a continual accident waiting to happen-and his resignation is on the clock as more facts emerge about the effort to cover up his aide's episode with a girlfriend. The question is, Why did he feel the need to intervene in such a heavy handed fashion if he wasn't personally involved with the woman?

And with no real good explanation forthcoming as of yet, we are left to speculate that the aide had such an intimate knowledge of the governor's activities that Paterson was compelled to do everything in his power to protect him-and himself-from the burgeoning scandal. But, as Michael Daily points out, resignation is inevitable: "This is not just some scandal involving some chippy who took her clothes off. This involves a mother whose clothes were torn off and who was choked and then was pressured by people with guns and badges. Now we know that the governor himself stepped in, first by proxy and finally personally. And that means he can no longer be the governor, no matter how hard he lies."

So, what we are left to observe is that this is someone who has always been insulated from reality-first by his father, and then by his disability. He went from one arranged gig to another without anyone holding him accountable for his actions. When his poll numbers should have been giving him the clear signs that it was time to exit gracefully Paterson, living in his own self-delusions, prepared to run a race that was impossible to win-even for someone who was talented and accomplished.

If he had declined to run at that opportune moment-sometime in November or December, let's say-he could have avoided all that has come after. No one would have been haunting his every move, or investigating his life as meticulously as the Times has done. But without the ability to reality check-and overly enamored with the trappings of office-Paterson sped headlong into the abyss. A victim, yes, but of his own character flaws and lack of genuine ability.