March 18, 2008
I like David Paterson, too
By John Smart
As a former New Yorker I have to tell you that I actually had tears in my eyes as I watched the swearing-in of David Paterson, who succeeded Eliot Spitzer on Monday as Governor of New York.
I lived in New York City during the 1960s, and it was the only time in my life that I voted Republican! That always rattles people who've known me since and who can't imagine such a thing. But there were office-holders in New York at that time like Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits and John V. Lindsay, liberal Republicans of a breed that no longer exists, and they were terrific representatives of the people. I was proud to vote for them. Of course, Lindsay later switched parties, and I'm certain that Javits and Rockefeller would have too had they lived long enough to see what happened to the Republican Party.
New York has just gone through a very public spectacle with the disgrace of its former governor. It is in need of a revival. And I think it's going to get one. David Paterson is most impressive.
I don't know much about Governor Paterson, but I do remember his father, Basil, very well. When I lived in New York City, Basil Paterson represented Harlem in the State Senate, in the same seat that his son eventually held. The father was a part of the "Harlem Club" along with Charley Rangel, David Dinkins, Percy Sutton and others. He later served as Secretary of State of New York, and had a distinguished career.
It was clear from Governor Paterson's speech, and the response to it, that he has the experience, the enthusiasm and, most importantly, the support to accomplish great things for New York and the nation.
It was no accident that he mentioned the disastrous state of the national economy -- New York has a major position in that economy, after all. He spoke of the "fire sale" of Bear-Stearns to J.P. Morgan after the Federal Reserve's bailout, and he assured everyone that this crisis will be weathered.
His leadership may well have much to do with that, and many people are wishing him well. I'm feeling good about it.
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