Governor David Paterson is standing up to the President of the United States and to his numerous media and political critics. So far.
He says he won't quit. He defies the fact that his poll numbers have sunk to a 17 percent approval rating. He insists on running for Governor in 2010.
The pundits and smartasses who are crying for his political head may not win an immediate victory. This guy may actually stick it out -- no matter how hard-pressed he is for political and monetary resources.
You have to admire him for his stubbornness in the face of great adversity. It takes guts to stand up to the President. And Paterson, so far, has proven that he is not afraid of such seemingly overwhelming odds.
On NBC's Meet the Press, Paterson said he didn't know for sure whether the White House wanted him to step down. That's a bit disingenuous. Clearly Obama and his lieutenants do want Paterson to agree not to run for Governor next year. They themselves leaked the news -- and that's what makes this situation extremely indelicate.
It is highly irregular for the President to step into a local race 14 months before an election. But he has done it and, instead of exploring how the news was leaked and who leaked it, some newspapers have been focusing on what a bum they think Paterson is.
Paterson told David Gregory that his poll numbers were a result of the recession and the steps he has taken to keep the state solvent.
"I don't think," the governor said, "I am a drag on my party. I am standing up for my priorities. I think you fight for the people of your state."
Whether or not you buy his rationale, the fact is the election is pretty far down the road --November 2010. And another fact is New York Democrats will have a chance to throw Paterson out in a primary next September. Why, Mr. President, not let the voters decide? In any case to consign this man to political oblivion so far ahead of the election seems ridiculous.
A Marist poll shows that 62 percent of New Yorkers think that Obama should not be meddling in a New York election. That the high-handed tactics of Chicago machine politics should be transported to New York is outrageous.
Political reporting and poll taking are competitive businesses. It seems important to those who practice this profession to be first, to lead the way by reporting an event even before it happens. The best way to be first in that sense is to make it happen! Some might think that's going too far.
Mr. President, we're not rubes. We have our own tradition of tough politics in this town. Whether or not Paterson should be deposed should be left to New Yorkers, not a group of your aides playing their brand of political chess.
Little David beat Goliath with his trusty slingshot. David Paterson might surprise you yet.