Loose Lips

You've probably heard of the debacle involving the message President Obama sent to Governor David Paterson of New York in which the governor was asked not to run for election on his own merits, because his low approval ratings practically open the door for the state to be lost to the Republicans (Rudy Guiliani is the name often bandied about).

My first thought when I heard this was not What the heck is Obama doing, sticking his nose into state politics? or even I haven't been a New Yorker in 20 years and don't follow their local politics, but I do feel Paterson made a mess out of that Senate appointment, but instead...

What jerk blabbed this to the press?

The President is always the head of his respective political party, and it's part of his job to keep an eye on how the governors are doing in the time leading up to midterm elections. New York is a powerful state with a large voting population, and naturally the First Democrat wants to keep it under Democratic control. However, the particulars of this situation have ignited a firestorm. David Paterson, like Barack Obama, is a black man. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts is the only other black governor (although he was actually elected to serve in this post; Governor Paterson was elected as lieutenant governor and moved into the top spot after Eliot Spitzer's sex scandal forced him out). Many people are going to be outraged that a brother is putting party politics before the support of another brother. Still others will resent Presidential interference in state politics. On the other side of the coin are the people who praise the President for his efforts at trying to keep the important state of New York in the Democratic column, and the fact that he cannot be accused of only looking out for the interests of black Americans. Instead Republican lapdog Michael Steele declared he found it "stunning" that the White House would ask one of just two black governors not to run. The funny thing is that we all know Steele would have been equally stunned had it been leaked that Obama had privately urged Paterson to run for election instead of not to run.

That is a prime example of why this is a sticky situation of the sort that is best kept quiet because of the lose/lose factors involved. Presidents have been known to appear at campaign functions for politicians of their party to help with election or reelection. That's the type of party support that deserves publicity, not the behind-the-scenes suggestions. The fact that this controversial correspondence was released to the public suggests that there's a Democrat in someone's inner circle who is really a Republican.



PatriciaW said...

Bettye, the way I heard it reported this AM was that Paterson himself mentioned it at a Harlem rally, declaring that he absolutely was going to run for the govenorship, that he wasn't going anywhere.

Which, if you were around Harlem anytime during the '90s, sounds just like him.

bettye griffin said...

Yes, I did hear that. Ego can be a very dangerous thing, Patricia. I guess nobody with any confidence in themselves would willingly admit that they can possibly lose an election.

What a mess, huh?

Shelia said...

Having an ego that big can be a dangerous thing.

bettye griffin said...

You said it, Shelia!

Melissa Blue said...

First, long time, no see. How have you been doing?

On to the subject, well, it just seems a lot of what the President has said behind the scenes has been released to the public. Maybe he just makes people feel like he's their friend. They can tell their other friends what he's said, so Obama can seem just like one of us.

Or some people, (no matter their race or background) can't meld the picture of an African American President as just President that deserves a certain respect with the title.

Anyway, who knows?

bettye griffin said...

Great to hear from you, Mel! I've checked in at your new blog a few times. You always crack me up.

Thanks for weighing in on this.