by on Aug.23, 2009, under New York, Politics

Now Paterson is just getting lame:

Gov. David Paterson played the race card in a big way today, suggesting he is facing tougher questions about his performance and political viability than the governors of most other struggling states because he is black.

During a wide-ranging interview with DN columnist and radio personality Errol Louis this morning, Paterson said he feels he feels an effort is being “orchestrated” to get him to bow out of the 2010 race.

Now, the usage “played the race card” makes my skin crawl and always does. It has some really toxic assumptions behind it. But honestly, in this case Paterson’s argument that his unpopularity has anything to do with his race is just weak, weak, weak. Let me re-quote one of those poll findings from a couple of days ago:

Things are so bad for Paterson, the state’s first black governor, that Cuomo leads among registered black Democrats by a nearly 2 to 1 margin.

It is possible that black Democrats are also holding Paterson to a higher standard than they’d hold a white governor. But on the face of it one kinds of doubts it.

Paterson also compares his drop in the polls to Deval Patrick’s and Barack Obama’s. I have no idea what’s going on with Patrick and won’t even speculate. I suspect a good deal of what’s going on with Obama is the bad economy is dragging him down. I’m sure that’s part of what’s weighing on Paterson. Across the river it’s also weighing on Corzine, who’s also polling terribly and who doesn’t happen to be black.

It’s clear that there is a racial aspect to the nation’s nuttiest anti-Obama-ism, especially among those who still refuse to believe he was born in this country. I’ve seen nothing remotely similar in the prevailing criticisms of Paterson, and frankly it’s beneath him to suggest otherwise.

Where there is unfair, possibly bigoted criticism about Paterson going on, it touches on his disability, not his race.

As to the orchestrated campaign to get him to drop out, I’d be shocked if there wasn’t one.


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