Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things to like about Gov. Paterson

For starters, one of the first things he said as Governor was along the lines of, "I don't want this job." How many -- how many!! -- people in political power haven't lusted all their lives for it? How many of them don't fantasize about all the ways they can use it to their advantage, fulfilling all kinds of bizarre wants? So, Paterson might have lusted to be Lieutenant Governor, a cushy job with a salary, perks, a cool office and an official sounding title. But not the real thing! No way! That, in our opinion, qualifies him more than all the ruthless aspirants to power that hold every other elected position in the US. We acknowledge that's not saying much, but it's a key distinction.
Next, he doesn't seem to know the party line. Consequently, he doesn't spout it at every opportunity. The state is broke, he says it's broke. Budget cuts are going to have to happen, he say so. The halls of government resist them tooth and nail, and he says, "they won't let me cut the budget." That kind of candor is refreshing, and the people deserve it.
The next item follows from the previous: Obama doesn't like him. That's a really good thing for the institution of public service, even if it means Paterson has no political future. At least he isn't on Obama's string. On the "enemies list," perhaps, but so are a lot of good people.
Next: He took advice -- that means he's advisable, teachable, humble. At least it means he felt desperate, which is the opposite of arrogant, which, again, distinguishes him from every other instance of political animal we can think of. Right after his former boss, the disgraced barbarian Elliot Spitzer was forced out of office and into a sabbatical for whoremongering with a 23 year old "call girl," Paterson confessed marital infidelity right up front. Good move, if having to own up to such a disgrace can be called that.
Finally, he's got a loveable demeanor. Something about that look on his face makes him a great target for harmless jokes. He provides much-needed comic relief.
So, we're not saying he's a paragon of virtue, only that there are some things to like about the fact that he's governor. The biggest thing, of course, is that it means that Elliot Spitzer is not.


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