Another Tainted Legacy
What Govenor Paterson didn't see
Monday, March 22nd, 2010
He should have seen it coming. Governor Paterson will be remembered in history as the blind governor, as the blind man who lead a state that for all intents and purposes was blind itself.He will be remembered as the man who took the reins from Eliot Spitzer, who, by having the mother of all politician extramarital affairs, so severely marred the post of governor of the state of New York that no one from now on will be free from fine-tooth-comb scrutiny.
Instead of living the graceful, retired-politician life of lecture tours and consulting gigs, remembered fondly for his productive and helpful deeds and actions, Paterson will instead be remembered for his misdeeds, blunders, and the physical characteristics his critics have so easily caricatured.
Try as he might, he will not be remembered as the governor that helped New York through its darkest and longest financial hour in recent history, nor will he be remembered as a champion of gay-marriage or for appearing at the 2008 gay pride parade. He will certainly not be remembered for his stance against capital punishment. He won’t be remembered as the governor that started a dozen new tax initiatives, such as malt beverages, movie tickets, the “iTax,” and an additional 4% tax on a half-dozen already taxable items. Instead, scandal and the accusation of idleness will be the essence of his political legacy.
Because he followed a governor whose term was cut short by scandal, Paterson deserves exactly what he is getting in the media and popular sentiment: insensitive joking regarding his disability and the way he’s handled his term as governor, specifically his inability to learn from the mistakes of his predecessor.
One thing Paterson did learn from Spitzer, however, was to be upfront about his affairs. His only shrewd move in the political damage-control department was to publicly announce the fact, only one day after his inauguration, that both he and his wife had had affairs, as if anyone would care. And therein exists the genius: By announcing it himself, he avoided a significant deal of criticism.
Unfortunately, however, the tactic wouldn’t work with his most detrimental and recent scandal, his witness-tampering cover up of his aide’s domestic abuse, the humiliation that led him to announce that he would no longer seek the gubernatorial nomination for 2010.
But aside from his major blunders are the everyday missteps that led to a term of much lower than average approval ratings. He is a boring man, a temperate politician whose very demeanor begs for caricature.
In the land of the blind the half blind man is king, but in the land of New York, the half blind man makes one sad example of a governor.
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