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Feb. 25 2010 - 12:09 am | 1,272 views | 1 recommendation | 3 comments

Amid latest scandal, New York Governor David Paterson screws likely opponent

New York Governor David A. Paterson speaks aft...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

New Yorkers are going to wake up tomorrow morning to news that Governor Paterson has suspended David W. Johnson, one of his senior aides. This is an administration that never should have been, and now it’s in a profound crisis. The question is whether or not it’s an administration that’s still going to fool around with the fiction that it can actually be elected to a full term in the governor’s office.

I don’t want to get too caught up in the question of Mr. Johnson’s relationship with a woman who apparently had sought a protection order against him after an altercation. That’s for the courts to work out, and not for me to speculate on.

But Governor Paterson does not seem to be contesting the fact that he called this woman prior to a scheduled court appearance. And following on that admission we get this unbelievable act of chutzpah, that the governor’s office has asked Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Paterson’s likely Democratic primary opponent, to investigate his actions. The New York Times:

Many details of the governor’s role in this episode are unclear, but the accounts presented in court and police records and interviews with the woman’s lawyer and others portray a brutal encounter, a frightened woman and an effort to make a potential political embarrassment go away.

The case involved David W. Johnson, 37, who had risen from working as Mr. Paterson’s driver and scheduler to serving in the most senior ranks of the administration, but who also had a history of altercations with women.

On Wednesday night, in response to inquiries from The New York Times, Mr. Paterson said in a statement that he would request that Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo investigate his administration’s handling of the matter. The governor also said he would suspend Mr. Johnson without pay.

I mean, this is just nuts. If Cuomo issues an adverse finding against Paterson, the Governor can argue that the investigation was politically motivated by a fellow Democrat who is hoping to unseat him. If Paterson gets a finding that is either neutral, or not negative, or if Cuomo declines to pursue the case, he will spin that to his political favor. Cuomo isn’t damned if he does or damned if he doesn’t. He’s just damned by the consequences of a man who wasn’t ready to be governor being elevated to the office in Albany after Eliot Spitzer’s untimely fall from grace. What’s worse, Cuomo will need to announce his own candidacy in the weeks ahead just as his office is digging into the particulars of this grody case.

For a man who is legally blind, Paterson’s sure got good aim.

Back in September I praised President Obama and team for making it clear to Paterson that he should duck out of the 2010 governor’s race before it really got underway. My concern then was more that a bruised Paterson would build momentum for a Giuliani bid for governor. At this stage, the Republicans don’t really have a strong candidate to run against the Democrats in November. But Paterson appears to be intent on turning the governor’s mansion into something like the Union Carbide plant of India’s famous Bhopal disaster, spewing a toxic cloud over the surrounding region that ruins everything indiscriminately. By trying to drag Cuomo into his personal mess, Paterson is confirming to us that he’s not really good at being governor, he’s just good at engaging in dirty politics. It’s something New York simply doesn’t need.


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  1. collapse expand

    David Paterson must resign immediately. Criminal charges must be filed against David Paterson regarding obstruction of justice.

    According to police records, David Johnson a top aide to David Paterson, choked the women, stripped her of much of her clothing, smashed her against a mirrored dresser and taken two telephones from her to prevent her from calling for help.

    It is beyond comprehension that David Paterson would pressure a citizen to drop pursuing an order of protection, especially so against a known women batterer? Doesn’t David Paterson understand the implications of that phone call? Doesn’t David Paterson have any regard for this woman’s safety?

    For too long David Paterson has used his office as an employment agency for his unqualified friends and associates. This practice needs to stop.

    Paterson is just up not up to the task of governing. He does not have what it takes to govern effectively. “The Democratic Conference Organizational and Structural Report” detailing the workings of Paterson’s office while he was Senate Minority leader is an objective assessment of this clowns ability to manage or more precisely mismanage.


    This scathing report indicated that Paterson’s Senate Minority office, headed by the supremely incompetent Michael Jones-Bey, was completely dysfunctional. Mr. Jones-Bey, a childhood friend of Paterson, who is now incredulously Director of Division of Minority & Women’s Business Development at Empire State Development Corporation, was reported to be more interested in partying and boozing up with staff than working.

    Wow! You can be a total bozo, ex-felon, or women batterer, but if you a friend and work for David Paterson you get promoted for such behavior.

  2. collapse expand

    Well Patterson has some uncanny luck too, can’t blame him for not giving up or in.

  3. collapse expand

    I wouldn’t have thought Patterson clever enough to set Cuomo up so well. I’m surprised.

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