Sunday, September 20, 2009

White House asks Paterson to end election campaign

As New York Gov. David Paterson's approval numbers hover around 30 percent, a report the White House has asked the governor to pull out of the 2010 gubernatorial campaign is nothing short of extraordinary.

The New York Times reported today Congressman Gregory Meeks [D-N.Y.] conveyed the administration's desire to Paterson. Newsday said Meeks broke the news to Paterson at a Manhattan dinner on Friday night, but two officials told the Times the White House has grown increasingly concerned about the governor's unpopularity and its potential impact on local and Congressional Democrat's prospects next fall.

Paterson, who took office in March 2008 after Gov. Eliot Spitzer became embroiled in a prostitution scandal and resigned, repeatedly asserted to local media outlets his gubernatorial campaign will continue. He and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick are the country's only two black governors, but the White House's apparent intent to dissuade Paterson from his election campaign is nothing short of a stunning shot over the bow that adds even more writing to an already covered wall.

New York politics remains largely based on racial, socio-economic and other identity-driven demographics. Paterson is, in many ways, a product of the city's black political machine. His handling of the process to nominate Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's successor to the U.S. Senate and his repeated assertions last month the president would face racially motivated criticisms that are similar to those he contended his opponents have lobbied against him, however, are among the growing list of things that made him something of a pariah or even a persona non grata in political circles on both sides of the aisle.

Paterson's personal story remains an inspiring example of how anyone can overcome exceedingly difficult obstacles, but one can easily conclude his governorship is nothing short of an abject failure. Republicans and Democrats alike will almost certainly continue to urge the governor to put himself out of his own misery and step aside. These calls will almost certainly grow louder and more public. And the White House's desire indicates the end could come for Paterson far sooner than he would certainly like.

Stay tuned...

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