New York's New Governor: David Paterson

New York Gov. David Paterson will take over on Monday.

He is New York's first African American Governor. He is legally blind. He's highly respected and well liked.

I hope he puts repeal of the draconian Rockefeller drug laws at the top of his agenda.

Paterson is a super-delegate for Hillary Clinton.

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    this all sounds (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:14:25 AM EST
    great.  sorry about what happened to Spitzer but aside from that it sounds good.

    A SIlver Lining (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:15:31 AM EST
    Glad it is not Bruno or one of his pals.

    Unfortunately (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by litigatormom on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:31:26 AM EST
    there is no procedure for appointing or electing an new Lt. Governor, so Bruno becomes the de facto Lt. Governor.  Every time Paterson is out of state, Bruno becomes "Acting Governor."  If God forbid something happens to Paterson in the next three years, Bruno becomes Governor.

    Let's all pray for Paterson's health.


    I am sure the FBI (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by eric on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:33:35 AM EST
    is already following him, waiting for him to screw up.

    Better him than me:) (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 01:05:54 PM EST
    Or (none / 0) (#21)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 04:21:53 PM EST
    screw around.

    People are already making jokes (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Iphie on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:43:39 AM EST
    That Paterson will now be unable to leave the state for any reason.

    All gubenatorial vacations (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by litigatormom on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 01:09:52 PM EST
    will now be in the Catskills.

    Once upon a time (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Steve M on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:27:41 AM EST
    I had jury duty in NYC.  Not being a native, I was stunned at the number of jurors who made a point of denouncing the Rockefeller Drug Laws.  I wonder how much support there really is for repeal.

    Paterson was in the State Senate (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by litigatormom on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:29:05 AM EST
    before he became Lt. Governor and would have been in line to become Minority Leader.  He is supposed to be smart, honest, good at working with Republicans -- the only concerns I've heard about him are that he's never been in an executive position before, and may not be "tough enough."  However, after the "Steamroller," his style might be just what is needed. Spitzer made a lot of enemies unnecessarily in his brief tenure as governor.  

    However, I think he will come in with a lot of good will, and a lot of support from the Dems in the Assembly and Senate.  It will be important for the Dems to get a majority in the Senate in the fall -- right now they are one vote short.

    Paterson is the son of a well-known and well-respected NYC politician, Basil Paterson.  He became legally blind as a child, when an eye infection destroyed the sight in one eye, and severely limited it in the other. He refused to learn to read Braille, but apparently has worked very hard to overcome his visual disabilities.

    He actually was the Minority leader (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by tigercourse on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:32:49 AM EST
    from 2002 onward.

    He was the Minority Leader (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Iphie on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:42:10 AM EST
    I wrote in a previous thread (though it's more appropriate here) that he staged a successful coup against Marty Connor a couple of years ago, who was at the time the Minority Leader. So, Paterson clearly knows how to play the game in Albany. And I have to disagree with Eric, upthread, who said that he won't rock the boat. His maneuvers against Conner were beyond rocking the boat. If he had been unsuccessful in his attempt and had not consolidated enough support behind him, it is very likely that such a failed ploy could have ended his political career. It has for others who have tried and failed to oust other party leaders. If he had failed, and Marty Connor remained in the leadership position, Paterson would most definitely been punished, if for no other reason than to send a message to anyone else foolish enough to try the same. I'm also optimistic about him because there is a good argument to be made that he is more progressive than Spitzer on a whole host of issues such as civil liberties, the criminal justice system (including the Rockefeller drug laws) and economic justice. He is very keen on helping women and minority owned businesses. And everybody seems to like him.

    Consensus among the people interviewed (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by scribe on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:35:24 AM EST
    on one of the NY TV stations was:
    "he grew up in the legislature" (son of a legislator);
    "uses his blindness as a humorous foil", i.e., says stuff like "I'm in the dark on that."
    "Very intelligent" - he was born blind, went through mainstream schools (not using Braille) and then Columbia.
    "a wonderfully sweet-natured man"
    "very well respected and liked"
    "able to work well with everyone"
    "Patterson's people and Spitzer's people did not get along.  Spitzer's were insular, from the prosecutor's office and Patterson's were more congenial."

    and the best:

    "Both he and Spitzer are protoypical liberal Democrats, but he is more liberal than Spitzer".

    Just remember, the state budget is due April 1.

    The budget won't be submitted on time. (none / 0) (#16)
    by Iphie on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:46:21 AM EST
    Aside from the fact that it almost never is, I think especially in this situation, he will be given extra leeway on this one.

    Patterson is far more liberal than Spitzer (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by fuzzyone on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 06:11:49 PM EST
    so this could  be a good thing for New York.  Its also a great opportunity for Patterson.  I don't know his position on the Rockefeller laws (which are a disaster).  I do know that he is likely to have a much better relationship with the legislature than Spitzer.  

    Also remember that Bruno may only be Majority leader till December.  The entire Senate is up for reelection in November and the dems only need to pick up one more seat to get the majority.

    The need to pick up 2 seats. (none / 0) (#23)
    by Iphie on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 07:04:41 PM EST
    Now the Democrats need to pick up two seats, the current breakdown is 32 Republicans, 30 Democrats. The conventional wisdom was that the Dems only needed to win one seat to gain power. That power would have derived from the tie-breaking power of the Lieutenant Governor (also the President of the Senate). Because a new Lt. Governor will not be appointed after Paterson becomes Governor, Joe Bruno (the Republican Senate Majority Leader) will step in and be the de facto President of the Senate.

    An interesting question though, is in the event that the Dems win only one seat and the senate is split right down the middle with 31 on each side, what happens if they become deadlocked? I would imagine that we would be faced with a potential situation where legislation could not get passed.


    question (none / 0) (#3)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:16:37 AM EST
     for one of political junkies.

      Can Spitzer still serve as a super-delegate if he chooses or is that SD just taken off the tally at the convention?

    As I understand it ... (none / 0) (#5)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:21:29 AM EST
    since Paterson is already a Super Delegate, Hillary loses Spitzer's vote and the number of Super Delegates is reduced by one.

    Hence, she loses one delegate, and there is no replacement.

    However, had Paterson not already been in a Super Delegate he would have gotten Spitzer's vote.


    I am sure he won't rock the boat (none / 0) (#4)
    by eric on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:17:49 AM EST
    or he'll end up like Spitzer.

    Ms. TL: (none / 0) (#12)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:36:07 AM EST
    Didn't you just post on Bush's veto of the anti-torture bill, a bill which contained earmark money to build the the Nation Drug Intelligence Center, to keep the War on Drugs going?  You lamented the fact Bush vetoed that bill.  Now you want the draconian Rockefeller Drug laws repealed.    seems a little of a contradiction.  

    I didn't know that (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 11:39:18 AM EST
    about the torture bill, thanks for letting me know.

    I hope these links work. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Iphie on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 01:29:38 PM EST
    There was a really good interview by Brian Lehrer (WNYC) with David Paterson sometime around the time of the last election. In it they discussed, among other things, how he deals with being blind in terms of the duties of his office, etc. He talked about what it was like in law school for him, and the accomodations that were made for him so he could take the bar exam. It was very interesting.

    I was looking through The Brian Lehrer Show archives for it, but haven't found it yet, but I found a couple of other things that may be of interest. (The Brian Lehrer Show, btw, is produced by our local public radio station, WNYC and is a really excellent show. The show covers mostly political and culteral issues, with an emphasis on politics -- Lehrer is very thorough and very thoughtful. It's mostly NY politics, but he often covers national stuff as well. You can listen online here, if you have any interest.)

    This is an interview of Paterson during the time that he was already Spitzer's running mate, but still the Senate Minority Leader. Most of the interview is devoted to the budget battles of the time, but at about 20 minutes in, Brian Lehrer asks him about a controversial bill that Paterson had repeatedly introduced that would make it legal for crime suspects to use force against the police trying to arrest them. His response may give some clues as to his perspective on criminal justice issues, and also a bit about how Albany works. It's the second clip on the page.

    Here's a clip that gives an overview of Paterson and his political career. It was produced after the election, but before the start of the Spitzer administration. In it he talks a bit about his philosophy about government, and how his life has shaped this philosophy. It contributes to my optimism about a Paterson administration.

    If I manage to find the interview I was initially looking for, I'll post it later.

    Please pardon my typos and misspellings. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Iphie on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 01:34:39 PM EST
    They're a personal pet peeve of mine, and I'm usually better about editing.