Indicators, Pundits, And The New York Times Would Say So -- And Have
"I am blind; I am not oblivious. . .I am running for Governor in 2010."
-- Gov. David A. Paterson
A tumbling local economy. Massive layoffs. Skyrocketing property taxes -- in fact, the highest in the land. Cuts, cuts, and more cuts. Increasing fees and decreasing services. Low voter turnout, especially among Democrats. An enormously unpopular Democratic Governor in a traditionally "blue" State.
New Jersey? New York? Corzine? Paterson?
Could we be talking about an interchangeable mindset in the two neighboring states, at least among likely voters?
If fate is the hunter, Jon Corzine having been shot down in the Garden State last Tuesday like a wayward deer lost on the Parkway, then Governor David Paterson, perhaps soon to be late (politically) of the Empire State, is surely the hunted.
Paterson may well have done, and be doing, all that is necessary and prudent to keep New York afloat, attempting to prevent its coffers from further sinking into the mire of indebtedness, contrarians and the GOP talking heads notwithstanding.
That won't change the perception of the voters.
It didn't in Jersey, where few, intellectually speaking, could truly fault Corzine for having his tenure as Governor fall squarely in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
The party in power -- in both New Jersey and New York, the Democrats -- will take the blame, whether deserved or not, and the wrath of the voters will come down hard on the incumbents.
If there is a lesson to be learned from Jon Corzine's defeat at the hands of Chris Christie (who, truth be told, really hasn't a clue as to what he's getting into, or an inkling as to what it will take to get NJ out of its fiscal bind), it is that it is sometimes better to save face -- not to mention the prospects of the Party -- and simply walk away.
Face it, Jon Corzine had President Obama, Vice President Biden, and every other popular Democrat in his corner, parading through the cranberry bogs and past the refineries, up and down the New Jersey Turnpike.
It didn't turn the tide. Not even close.
David Paterson, already saddled with the lowest approval rating of any sitting New York Governor -- even lower than Eliot Spitzer, on the ex-Gov's worst day -- won't have the President at his side along the campaign trail. Indeed, Mr. Obama, as has been widely reported, asked Governor Paterson to bow out of the 2010 gubernatorial race.
No dice, says Paterson, the writing jumping off the wall notwithstanding. [There'd be a "none so blind" comment waiting in the wings here, were it not so politically incorrect.]
Everyone, it seems, but for Mr. Paterson, understands, implicitly, that, absent pulling fifteen billion dollars or so out of a hat (and even then), the Governor is not electable. One has to wonder what his friends and close advisers are telling him. [Akin to the Emperor's new clothes?] Or have even the Governor's closest allies jumped ship, intellectually, if not physically.
The folks we confer with, on a regular basis, almost to a person, say that Paterson cannot win election in 2010. In fact, most say they would not vote for him. And these are Democrats.
Paterson has lost the Independents and the confidence once held in him by the Democratic base, who fear, perhaps more so than losing the Governor's office, returning the NYS Senate to the Republicans, who will then have the redrawing of district lines -- the once per decade redistricting -- in their pockets.
Most telling, in our opinion, is not what the average Joe or Jane on the street thinks. [No one cares about them except on Election Day -- if then.] It's The New York Times editorial page, that last bastion of left-wing liberal thought, opining that a liberal Democratic Governor in New York should forgo the 2010 race.
As suggested by The Times, the best thing David Paterson can do for New York -- not to mention the State's Democratic Party -- is to announce that he will not seek a full term next year.
Avoid both a primary challenge from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, which would prove both humiliating and divisive, and a fate at the polls next November (should he somehow make it that far) akin to that of New Jersey's now lame duck Governor, Jon Corzine.
The bell tolls for thee, Governor, loud and clear. We hope, for your sake, as well as that of your Party, and that of the good people of the great State of New York, that you hear and heed their warning.
And to NYS Democratic Party Chair, Jay Jacobs (also the Nassau County Democratic Committee Chair), if you're reading this blogpost, consider, on the heels of the near wipe out by a GOP Tsunami in Nassau County on November 3, having Governor Paterson bow out sooner (as in, by year's end) rather than later.
Let those who have a shot at actually winning -- and that would be, on the Democratic side, Andrew Cuomo -- have a clear and unobstructed path to the nomination.
As for David Paterson, a nice guy but ineffective leader, the foretelling of the future is, in this instance, not mystical, but a matter of simple deductive reasoning. The numbers just aren't there for Governor Paterson.
If, defying logic, the pollsters, the pundits, and the will of the people (not to mention The New York Times), Paterson does seek election to a full term as New York's Governor, well, to paraphrase Leo Durocher, David Paterson, nice guy, will likely finish last, and New York, with its State Legislature a dysfunctional (at best) embarrassment, may well be plunged into the abyss of oblivion along with him.