Memo to Obama: Stay Out of New York Politics - NBC New York

Memo to Obama: Stay Out of New York Politics



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    President Barack Obama is greeted by Gov. David Paterson as he arrives in Albany this morning.

    Some of these guys at the White House may be getting a little too big for their britches.

    Simultaneously The New York Times and the the Daily News have run stories that President Obama wants Gov. David Paterson, to step out of the New York Governor's race in 2010. The story comes from "White House aides" or ''senior administration officials'' -- mysterious, unidentified sources. But it's clear that there is a campaign underway to push Paterson out of the Governor's race and it has started incredibly early.

    We're electing a Mayor this year in New York City -- and we won't be electing a Governor until the fall of 2010. So what's going on?

    Clearly, some of the boys in the White House are thinking ahead---  and they want to control the outcome of our next election for Governor. That takes chutzpah. And it shows that there's a faction in the Obama administration that has so little regard for the democratic process [and I mean that with a small d] that they're trying to pick our next Governor even before most of us have even begun thinking about it.

    Now that's gall! That's chutzpah!

    Who are these guys to tell us who our Governor should be?  In their minds perhaps New York is just a suburb of Illinois.

    Paterson is clearly shaken by the ultimatum from Washington but, so far, to his credit, he vows to stay in the race. Our governor has overcome great obstacles in his life. But, to stand up to the President of the United States requires great strength. 

    Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

    As Times stories point out, the President's request for Paterson to step down represents an "extraordinary intervention.'' The motive apparently is that Paterson's poll numbers are currently so low that his alleged unpopularity might drag down members of Congress  and the Legislature -- and cause serious political damage to the Democratic Party nationally.

    This is heavy-handed stuff. Part of the motivation, the Times says, is that former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani might be considering a run for Governor and the White House wants to head him off at the pass---as they say in those Wild West movies. That may or may not be so.  Probably the White House hasn't considered the fact that Giuliani has had his ups and downs in the polls himself and lost disastrously the last time he ran for President.

    Paterson's performance has been somewhat erratic. The President reportedly didn't like Paterson's move in picking upstate Ccngresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton's seat in the U.S. Senate. A complicating aspect of the situation is that Paterson is one of only two black governors -- and Obama is our first black president. 

    Race should not be a consideration in the 2010 contest. And, certainly, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who reportedly is interested in running for Governor, would be a formidable candidate.

    Yet something doesn't smell right about the maneuvers of the Obama White House.

    This is our state---and we don't need presidential intervention to decide who will rule us in the future.

    If the boys in Washington press too hard, it may backfire. New Yorkers don't like being pushed around.