Blind Arrogance: Governor David Paterson


Sean Yoes, the host of the AFRO First Edition talk show I appear on from time to time at WEAA, shot me an email a couple of days ago asking for my thoughts on the recent dust up between Obama and New York Governor David Paterson. The political brouhaha between them ensued when a White House emissary allegedly sent word to Governor Paterson to stay out of the 2010 governor's race. You can read the article Yoes ended up writing, titled "Should WH Stay Out of Paterson's Way?", at Black America Web.

But back to the day I originally got the email - later that night I asked S. what she thought about the Obama/Paterson situation. "Obama needs to leave Paterson alone," she said. "Really, he needs to quit sticking his hand into so many things."

I talked with a buddy of mine from New York yesterday. "When did this happen?" he asked.

It was when I spoke to my buddy from Alabama that we got a little deeper into it. "Who gives a damn about a black president telling a black governor not to run? Its all about the politics. The president has no choice but to do what he did."

"You know," I said, "Paterson makes me think of Kwame Kilpatrick. His daddy was a long time state assemblyman from Harlem, the same way Kilpatrick's momma was a congresswoman. You would think the two of them would know better. Actually, now that I'm really thinking about it, you could ask the same thing about Jessie Jackson Jr., Harold Ford Jr. - who else am I missing? - all of these guys had head starts on this thing and look what happens?"

My buddy from Alabama answered before I stopped talking.

"They think they're white."

"Really?"

"Privileged black kids like them never dealt with the same stuff average black kids did."

It was an interesting way to look at it, especially coming from someone whose own African American mother was the mayor of his hometown.

I thought about some of my old associates who qualified as spoiled children of South Carolina's black political elite, people I frequently socialized with back when I was growing up, and the otherworldliness they exuded when we talked about getting into jobs or out of legal problems, as if there was a permanent red carpet rolling along in front of them, smoothing out the little bumps life presents when you least expect them.

To look at Paterson's recent actions and then juxtapose them with his extraordinary confessions during his first days in office was to see the mannerisms and the actions of some of these long lost friends come to life.

My man Sean goes into the technical aspects of the political calculations in his article. Personally, I understand where Obama is coming from. And since I'm not a journalist, and won't ever need to get a quote from anybody in Paterson's administration, I can say this - too many of our black politicians like Paterson have been raised to do anything but work. Even so, I think that the execution of sending the message to Paterson was too sloppily done for it to be coming from the White House.

How come the DNC didn't weigh in on this instead, with the White House's intentions deep in the background?

Paterson's blind arrogance is not a reference to his sightlessness - but it is a deliberately pointed description of his administration, as far as the internet and the New York Times tells me, seems so intent on serving Paterson's agenda rather than his constituents, almost every New York state resident wants him gone.

The president may not feel that this could happen to him, but as I listened to all the people I asked about the Obama/Paterson debacle the last couple of days, all of who are die hard Obama supporters, I sensed a certain amount of "Obama fatigue" setting in, a sentiment that his "be everywhere at once" strategy is not helping lately.








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