Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More on Paterson's affairs

Apparently Paterson also had dalliances with some state employees, including a woman who worked for Gov. Spitzer, who the new Gov. Paterson has also "inherited" (in his terms.) Why can't politicians keep it in their pants?!?!

In the earlier news conference, Mr. Paterson said he was speaking out because he did not want the state to become embroiled in another sordid distraction.

“I wanted to come forward because I didn’t want it hanging over my head,” Mr. Paterson said. “I didn’t want to be compromised, perhaps, by innuendo or some sort of message that you better not do something or we’re going to out you about the infidelity in your marriage.”

Mr. Paterson flatly denied that he had ever used any campaign money in connection with the affairs. “I would never use campaign funds for that purpose,” he said.

Mr. Paterson did most of the talking during the news conference. But twice Mrs. Paterson spoke in a hushed, soft voice. “There’s no marriage that’s perfect,” she said at one point.

But as I said yesterday, I think it's smart of him to get all this stuff out now in the interest of transparency, rather than wait for the GOP to pounce on it later.

I'm not someone who demands marital fidelity of elected officials, although it would be nice. Mostly I think this is stuff that is very personal and only when it impinges on how the govern or on policies, then that is when I care.

The weird thing is, in Spitzer's case, it's not as though he made anti-sex trafficking laws easier on the johns, he made them harder. As if perhaps to punish himself or because he didn't think he would get caught.

That's why Republican controversies like David Vitter and Larry Craig caught fire so quickly - because they both did things that opposed family values. And because Larry Craig had voted against many many gay rights bills. (And why haven't those two stepped down already?!? Vitter even has the nerve to claim that his case is totally different from that of Spitzer's even though Vitter went to a prostitute to indulge his diaper fetish. Totally distasteful.)

I don't expect personal concerns not to be reflected in politics - after all, people run for office because there are certain things they want to change, certain ideas and issues that are most important to them. But when I say that I hope bedroom trysts don't impact politicians' choices, I mean it in the sense that I'd hope that they don't decide to benefit that person's family or business in some way. That the individual hopefully doesn't persuade them to take a position counter to the interests of their constituents.

In light of the fact that politicians seem to be incapable of keeping it in their pants, I'd say that that's the minimum standard. Although of course, I have high standards for politicians whom I personally believe in. Because at the end of the day, they are human just like us. People don't magically attain a halo when they get elected, although some behave as though they do. They do however have the spotlight of public inquiry on them, and should try to behave as though they have halos.

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