While I’ve been in New York Governor David Paterson has made some highly interesting statements about his poll numbers, the media and race. On a radio show, Paterson blamed some of his low standing with the public on a vicious press fueled in some parts by racism.
From the NY Daily News:
“The whole idea is to get me not to run in the primary,” Paterson complained on a morning radio show hosted by Daily News columnist Errol Louis.
He suggested that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the country’s only other African-American governor, also is under fire because of his race.
“We’re not in the post-racial period,” Paterson said.
“The reality is the next victim on the list – and you can see it coming – is President Barack Obama, who did nothing more than trying to reform a health care system.”
Paterson said the campaign against him is being “orchestrated” by reporters who would rather make the news than report it.
Daily Post columnist and talk show host Errol Lewis agrees that Paterson has been treated roughly by the press, but thinks it’s unfair to lay race as the factor to his low poll numbers — which are low with both black and white New Yorkers.
Paterson is the most progressive governor in decades. He raised taxes on the wealthy, has championed same-sex marriage and raised the basic welfare grant for the first time in 18 years.
He also reformed the Rockefeller drug laws, began a historic reworking of the penal laws, and made good use of federal stimulus dollars for programs such as the $200 back-to-school grants for low-income families.
On basic governance issues, Paterson deserves credit for putting on the pressure – including back-to-back special sessions and the naming of a lieutenant governor – that broke the state Senate deadlock. And he was part of the team that passed an anti-nepotism law.
The political attacks on Paterson, gleefully magnified by the media, rarely acknowledge the good he has done. I remain surprised that so many civic and political activists seem willing to toss him overboard.
But Paterson is wrong to claim that the opposition and his low poll numbers are largely the result of racism. The truth is that incumbent governors in all states face deep political trouble because of harsh cuts made necessary by economic recession and falling tax revenues.
I haven’t been following New York politics very closely since Paterson took over for Eliot Spitzer amidst that diamond-ranked whore-gate, so I can’t give a proper gage on what Paterson’s coverage has been like.
To my New York readers I ask (and anyone else who’s been playing along at home), is Paterson right in complaining that some of his harsh media scrutiny is about race OR is he just a politician in New York — the most vicious media market in the country? I was always told you had to come big or go home in the NYC. Is that what’s going on here or is it something else?