For the second time this week, the New York Times has published a long, unfavorable look at Governor Paterson. Again, there are no reports of Paterson doing coke off strippers' tramp stamps during Executive Mansion swinger parties, but today's profile is actually quite damning in its own way, painting a portrait of a lazy, careless politician who's basically out to lunch. The low points:
- Paterson routinely rolls into work at 10 a.m. and strolls out around 4:30. Sort of like banker's hours—which would be cool if the state had any money.
- After Paterson took over, Dan Gundersen, the former head of the upstate ESDC, made 12 requests over about three months for a meeting with Paterson. It was never granted, and then he quit in June. "Governor Spitzer was completely engaged and responsive with me," Gundersen recalled.
- His campaign is low on cash, but that didn't stop Paterson from running up a $304 tab at Le Cirque, tabs of $670 and $299 at the Water Club, and $1,000 the Mojo in Harlem for his birthday—all billed to the campaign.
- Sources say he often blows off scheduled event appearances; twice in a row at the Teachers College at Columbia University, canceling the second time just two hours prior. Aides say he was pulled away for an urgent "terrorism" meeting, but other say he wanted to stay in Albany and party the night before his 55th birthday.
- Paterson doesn't even read Braille, which means our Governor simply doesn't read. Anything!
- As he's increasingly "embattled" his inner circle of advisers has tightened, and his "brain trust was shrinking," says one former commissioner.
There's been a lot of infighting in the Paterson camp, and a lot of resignations, especially in his Washington office, where he controversially installed an ex-girlfriend, Gabrielle Turner, to the key post of deputy director. Despite not having worked in politics or government for 15 years, she was originally Paterson's choice for the top position, but that was walked back. "It was clear she just wasn’t right for the head of the office, she didn’t have the substantive background, she even said as much," said one administration official.
Even Paterson's supposed friends aren't exactly gushing with praise; his office gave the Times a list of supporters who were supposed to vouch for him, but two people on the list never called the Times back, and one, Buffalo banking exec Robert G. Wilmers, had to bite his tongue. When asked if Paterson was an effective governor, he paused before answering, then said, "I think he’s a gentleman who wants to do the right thing. Beyond that, I don’t keep score." Friends like these, right David?