Today Governor Paterson has all but guaranteed that he will not be the Democrat on the governor's ticket next year. In an interview with Daily News columnist Errol Louis, Paterson stated that the increasing calls for him to not participate in the next gubernatorial election are not because he's been an ineffective governor, not because his party was host to one of the most ridiculous legislative stunts in recent memory and he was powerless to stop it, not because shortly after taking office he admitted that he cheated on his wife and smoked pot and did blow. No no; it's because he's black.
The ludicrous comments come as the writing on the wall is becoming clearer to Paterson, who will likely face a very difficult primary next year against current New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (should he decide to run). First of all, Paterson was not elected by the people of New York as governor. His jump into governor's duties wasn't seamless, but it was not horrendous, either. Then Hillary Clinton got tapped to be Secretary of State under Obama and Paterson had to replace her. The debacle that ensured was nothing less than embarrassing, entangling (and eventually infuriating) the Kennedy clan and leaving the voters of New York scratching their heads. He acted like a spectator during the state senate stalemate. But these are not the reasons that state Democrats don't want him as governor again; according to Paterson, it's because he's black.
Now anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows that I am quick to point out incidents that I believe involve prejudice of any kind, especially racism. I just don't see it here. But Paterson is not the only high-powered, high-profile New Yorker crying foul. Upper-level executives at Goldman Sachs feel that they are being unfairly targeted in the media because their head and many senior execs are Jewish. Not because the taxpayers bailed them out (both directly, and then indirectly through AIG), not because they know they're playing with dirty money a la Jimmy Conway and should not be spending it lest people notice, not because Goldman has seemed anything but gracious to the taxpayer for our help, and not because Goldman is back to their risky ways; no no, it's because high level executives there are Jewish.
Are there people out there who hate Paterson because of his race? Sure. Same thing with executives at Goldman because of their religion? Yup. Is it the reason that the overall public dislikes them? Absolutely not. There are so many reasons to dislike Paterson and those who run Goldman Sachs, that their race and religion, respectively, is one of the last things on most peoples' minds. It just shows the hubris involved: "Oh, I'm so good and never make mistakes, they must not like me because of some immutable characteristic that I can't control." Give me a break. Crying racism and anti-Semitism like this adds doubts to those who are true victims of it, and that's wrong. Anyone paying attention can see through these ill-spewed smokescreens. Peace.
Photos - Governor David Paterson (NY.gov), Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (The Daily Beast)