NPR logo David Paterson's Got It Going On!

David Paterson's Got It Going On!

New York Gov. David Paterson discusses marital infidelities as his wife Michelle Paterson looks on.

New York Gov. David Paterson discusses his marital infidelities at a news conference on Tuesday as his wife Michelle Paterson looks on. AP Photo/Mike Groll hide caption

toggle caption AP Photo/Mike Groll

While the rest of America had its knickers in a knot over Barack Obama and the nontroversy of his relationship with Jeremiah Wright, can I just say I was focused on my other favorite black politician of the moment: New York Gov. David Paterson.

What do I like about the guy? First day on the job, he admits to having an affair. Second day on the job, he admits to having a number of affairs. Not that I approve of sleeping with other women. Per se. But people are always carping about politicians not being honest and here is Paterson, paint still drying on his office door, throwing out a little TMI.

And let's not forget that Paterson is legally blind. I only bring that up because Sheri Shepherd — the "blonde" black girl on ABC's "The View" — joked (I think she was joking) that Paterson "can't see to cheat." Know what? I'm sick of people underestimating the otherly abled! Truth is they can screw around just as well as people with two good eyes!

And check this out: He got girls without paying for them. Take that Eliot Spitzer!

And before you start a thread about what a sexist I am, can I tell you what a breath of fresh air New York's new first lady Michelle Paige Paterson is? Her philosophy on her husband's philandering? "You have to let people live their life." You tell 'em, sister! Of course, I'm sure it helps her Zenness that while her man was out sowing his oats, Michelle was right out there sowing some as well — Michelle having admitting to an affair herself. Hey, at least no more wronged-wife-with-a-tattooed-on smile standing next to her husband at a press conference.

I could go on and on with admiration for Paterson — the fact that he had his tryst on the cheap at a Manhattan Days Inn, the rumor he had a "close relationship" with Olympic gold medalist Diane Dixon ...

Of course, none of this really has much to do with David Paterson the politician, but that's kinda the point. Maybe Paterson'll be a great governor. Maybe not. But out of the gate we know this: Opposite the moral perfectionist Spitzer made himself out to be, Paterson admits to being no better or worse than the rest of us. And how refreshing is that?

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How refreshing is that? Not at all. Fatboy Slim mixed "Words vs Deeds" and deeds do it for me everytime.

Sent by juggs | 9:01 PM | 3-19-2008

I heard an interview on NPR where an editor was critical of Patterson for coming forward with this information. I feel it was better for him to reveal this information now rather than have it come up later and be accused of having something to hide. I sensed that nothing Patterson does will meet this editor's approval. I'm sorry, I missed the editor's name.

Sent by Larry Parks | 9:59 PM | 3-19-2008

"no better or worse than the rest of us" ??? "Refreshing" would have been a leader not violating the trust of someone close to him and "refreshing" would also be a leader that lacks the arrogance necessary to violate a very personal trust. Mr. Paterson and his wife lack self control, integrity and faithfulness. Raise the bar on admiration - or at least pick it up off the floor.

Sent by Letitia Ruiz | 12:27 AM | 3-20-2008

His stated reason for the disclosures is to diffuse the potential for blackmail. The man on NPR who suggested that he has thousands of troopers at his disposal and that blackmail is illegal so he had little to worry about. That man sounds disconnected from reality. Blackmail is often like sex, subtle--innuendo, inflection, eye brow lifted, implications, gestures, stuff that's hard to capture and bring a court case...and do you think he would want THAT trial?

Sent by JTS | 1:20 AM | 3-20-2008

Perhaps not a new breed of "honest politician," but Paterson's public absolution is refreshing. It is, however, also a consequence of the media environment that forces officials to bow to sensation-seeking rather than political press coverage.

New York Post editor Fred Dicker's nearly caustic reaction to Paterson's admission is unmerited and wrong-headed. Paterson offered a predictable attempt to preempt New York's modern yellow press, so Dicker's reaction seems strange. Why attack the man for being forthright? More important, how did this become a weak pretense to undermine Paterson's capacity to perform the job?

I don't find Dicker's reasoning feasible or convincing. The press forced Paterson's predecessor to stand before a national audience and do the too familiar mea culpa sermon. For Dicker to be astonished and "need a shower" after the new governor's press conference is intentionally naive and ignores the news media's role in forcing such irrelevant matters into the public spotlight. You may believe you need a shower, Mr. Dicker, but the "fourth estate" isn't standing outside the sty of politics. I rather look forward to Governor Paterson feeding the press lurid details, making press pools feel dirty. It's called blowback. Or maybe Frankenstein's monster. You choose the metaphor.

The real message in this story? Why is the editor of the Post so ready to attack the new governor for respecting the "power" of the press?

Sent by I | 9:37 AM | 3-20-2008

In an era of black politicians making history in our country, I find it some what offensive in the "ghettoized" manner you report about this man's prior poor choices.

Sent by Frank | 11:05 AM | 3-20-2008

This artical had me laughing and thinking, that life stays as unpredictable in every sense of the word. All I want from OUR leaders to do the job they got hired to do, and on your own time have safe clean fun folks, hahaha. I do not stand in front of glass houses throughing stone, I have some cracks too, so please do your job, thanks.

Sent by Vickie | 1:48 PM | 3-20-2008

I'm not inclined toward throwing stones either. I just think it's tragic the "media spectacle" machine required such a confession. I was sad to hear they've had marital problems. I'm glad they worked it out, kept their family together, and revealed it on their own terms.

Sent by Psmith | 5:39 PM | 3-20-2008

Amen, brother! Have any of y'all ever had your marriage break up? Or almost break up? Makes for a little confusion, doesn't it? And self-discovery, too, if you do it right. Seems like the Pattersons were groping along like the rest of us and what did they discover? They missed their marriage to each other. Sounds pretty win-win to me!

Sent by Jennifer LaSuprema | 5:47 PM | 3-20-2008

As a New Yorker, I found the whole admission just another episode in "As Albany Turns." At least he's not being hypocritical, which is what brought former Gov. Spitzer down.

I am very encouraged by the fact that all of my local political representatives - all Republicans - seem to think that Paterson has the ability to reach across the aisle. Of course, Albany is so dysfunctional at its core that it's impossible to believe change will really come - but maybe Paterson's honesty will help.

Sent by Aishuu | 6:33 PM | 3-20-2008

I don't think he felt morally obligated to speak publicly about his affairs. It was more an exercise of political strategy. He even said that he wishes to take many things to the grave with him. Now that he's replacing a governor who resigned as a result of similar circumstances, his options were minimal. Nevertheless, his story is in fact refreshing, albeit he is still a politician.

Sent by Sreenath Vemuri | 9:51 PM | 3-20-2008

I am far from perfect and fall short everyday.We do tend to hold others to impossible standards. That being sincerely said, my wife and I take our solemn covenant vows before God and our community seriously. Why is that not the expected norm? Governor Patterson is a mortal man fully capable of error. Its just that he has also taken solemn vows on behalf of his fellow New Yorkers. Will he honor them only when it is convenient? When will we as a society begin to take our words to others, our promises as sacred? Or is the present American value "Better Lucky Than Good"? Spitzer is sorry alright. Sorry he got caught. When the rich screw-up, they diagnose themselves. For the poor, the courts decide. Double standards in marriage and addiction. Not "refreshing", but truly depressing.

Sent by Chris Hartbarger | 10:32 PM | 3-21-2008

people should be faithful to their spouse

Sent by deborah emerizy | 6:20 PM | 3-22-2008

You really think that his wife stating "you have to let people live their lives" is wonderful? How would you feel if your sister's husband cheated on her? Or your daughter's husband? I may be old fashioned, but I still think if you marry someone you should still be able to trust that they will be faithful. You are very flip about this, which may reveal more about you and less about Gov. Spitzer.

Sent by Therese Dawe | 11:10 PM | 3-24-2008