I know the temptation is to say it’s wrong to kick someone when they’re down.
But, as the noted Italian historian Luigi Barzini wrote of what his countrymen knew:
“Why not when he is down? When else, if you please, should one kick a man more advantageously? When more safely and effectively?”
Which brings us to David Paterson.
As is being widely reported, Paterson is announcing today that he is dropping out of the governor’s race in New York.
I almost wrote that he wasn’t going to seek reelection but since we know Paterson took office when Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign in a call girl scandal. So, now New York has had two governors in a row felled by scandal.
As The New York Times, which broke the story, detailed, Paterson’s problems stem from his apparently intervening in a case against a top aide. Of course, that wasn’t the first reported problem with the aide.
Since taking office, Paterson has not exactly been inspiring and, the fact is, you have to look at him in the context of where he came from — the Manhattan Democratic Machine that gave us Charlie Rangel.
Not to say that Paterson, his father and people like Rangel and David Dinkins were bad or corrupt — certainly they didn’t hold a candle to the Brooklyn or Queens Machines when it comes to malfeasance — but it does point to the downside of machine politics.
So, maybe Paterson survives all this — though I suspect he won’t. I think the question’s going to be whether he is able to survive the rest of his term.
I guess Illinois better watch out…