Could someone please square this circle for me?
Dishonesty is Steele’s M.O.; he’s leaving out a lot of context. Corzine, the governor from across the river to whom Steele compared Paterson, is still unpopular, and he still trails by about seven points in the polls — maybe just out of striking distance for an election about six weeks away, but since the race is competitive it doesn’t make sense for the White House to cut him off at the knees when he still has a decent shot at holding on to his seat.
But it’s pretty hard to overstate just how unpopular David Paterson has become here. His approval numbers have seemingly bottomed out at an abysmal 20 percent — where they’ve rested for months now — and a Marist poll from last week found that 70 percent of New Yorkers felt like he shouldn’t run at all. (Paterson was always a lightweight, stumbling forward on his family’s name and connections, so perhaps none the mess he’s made of his governorship isn’t too surprising in hindsight.) He’s likely to face Andrew Cuomo, the state’s enormously popular A.G., and when Paterson loses that race (and he will lose), his hapless tenure in Albany might drag other state Democrats down with him. And since that election is over a year away, it makes sense for the White House to put the clamps on his campaign early, before money is being wasted, the primaries get nasty and while the stakes are still low.
Back to Steele. I’ve been trying to find his poll numbers inside the party, to little avail. But they can’t be very high; his public appearances are embarrassing debacles (“I’m not trying to be nuanced!”) and it almost seems as if he’s making up his talking points on the spot. Who, exactly, is amenable to the suggestion that a popular black president is selling out an unpopular black governor because the latter is…black? The Republican base, who are always so concerned about racism? Obama’s black supporters?
Damn, this cat is out of his depth.
Tagged: David A. Paterson