In poor taste



So much for respecting the rights of the disabled and giving them a level playing field in which to thrive and prosper. Can you imagine if a Republican president who, in reading the political tea leaves, reasoned that a disabled colleague was in a political nosedive and the best thing for everyone involved was for him to step down? The news would barely hit the wire before Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd would be writing how heartless the president was.

And yet, here we are, where some in the media even write in their stories, "Well, Gov. Paterson is unpopular ... " That's beside the point, and they know that.

I'll wager all of the cash former Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) has stashed in his basement freezer Obama is kicking himself for not dropping the hammer sooner on his party's gubernatorial candidate for Virginia, Creigh Deeds. Until Deeds's campaign backed into some flaccid, poorly written thesis by his opponent, Bob McDonnell, and used it as a political cudgel to attack the attorney general, they themselves were in an electoral free-fall. As is customary at this point in the commonwealth, the race has narrowed. But if you ask White House politicals, Virginia was too important a barometer on the status of the Obama presidency to leave to chance. And in hindsight, Deeds was the accidental candidate, besting two other more seasoned veterans, one being none other than über-politico Terry McAuliffe himself.

Yes, the president's move this past weekend concerning New York's sitting governor was in definite poor taste, and most likely unnecessary. Paterson may be legally blind, but he can still read the political writing on the wall. He's no fool. It was only a matter of time before both he and his handlers realized his was a losing cause, and the more noble thing to do would be to step aside and let others have their shot.

What Obama did was take the face-saving inevitability of Paterson's move off the table and force him to do the exact opposite. Paterson is, after all, a New Yorker; tough as nails who doesn't take crap from nobody! Is that how you want to treat this Bronx bomber? Fughedabouddit! Now Paterson has something to fight for — if nothing else, than to prove to the Obama machine that governors aren't chess pieces, shifted around some board to help keep the electoral map blue.


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