From Ellis Henican at Newsday:
All that’s left is the rock and roll.
Sex? Drugs? What else can David Paterson cop to now? That he played guitar in a garage band when he was growing up in Hempstead?
He graduated from Hempstead High in 1971. Back in the day, he says, he smoked marijuana occasionally and, at 22 or 23, tried cocaine “a couple of times.” At that point in his life, he’d have been a senior history major at Columbia – or perhaps a recent graduate. It would be a couple of years before he decided he wanted to go to law school.
But now it’s 2008. Paterson’s the accidental governor. And it hardly even counts as news any more that a 54-year-old man would at some point in the past have violated the state or federal laws against using certain drugs.
New York’s new governor is a member of his own generation.
Rock on, DP!
It’s not like he’s alone in having a drug past, even at the upper reaches of political life. Especially at the upper reaches of political life.
Among the pols who’ve acknowledged illegal drug use – marijuana, mostly – are Mike Bloomberg, George Pataki, Bill Clinton, and on and on …
Now, Barack Obama, the leading Democrat for president, causes no noticeable ripples – yet! – over a memorable coke-use anecdote in his own autobiography.
Give Paterson credit for forthrightness, even if this latest nugget was pulled by an inquisitive reporter. (Not that his inquisitor needed bright lights and a rubber hose to make this governor talk.)
But even as the pols are now more open, many still won’t draw broader lessons from their own experience. In this way, Paterson was a rare exception – and still is.
His 2004 drug-reform plan in the state Senate still stands out as highly forward-looking. He’s been a valiant fighter against the harsh Rockefeller drug laws. And unlike Eliot Spitzer, who prosecuted prostitutes while also allegedly patronizing them, no one is calling Paterson a hypocrite.
Also from Newsday:
SCHENECTADY – Gov. David A. Paterson attempted Wednesday morning to move beyond his admissions of marital infidelity to the national recession and its impact on the state budget.
Asked here about his hotel stays and those of a former girlfriend while both campaigned for presidential aspirant Hillary Rodham Clinton, Paterson said he was through answering questions about his personal life.
“I think that more than any elected official on this planet, and probably in outer space, I have discussed my personal situation over the last week,” Paterson said. “And the reason I did it is that I felt since I was not vetted as a governor … I gave what I thought was the media and the citizens of New York an idea of what I wanted to do as governor and I also gave them an idea about some issues that I thought I needed to present to the public.
“But I think I’ve answered all those questions,” he added.
Paterson aides confirmed Tuesday that he and state worker Lila Kirton, who has been identified in published reports as a former girlfriend, traveled to Iowa and South Carolina to work on Clinton’s campaign. Their expenses were paid by the Clinton campaign and Kirton is said to have assisted Paterson because he is legally blind.
More than a week ago Paterson acknowledged having affairs during his time as a state senator from about 1999 to about 2002. Paterson and his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, have since reconciled and recommitted to their marriage.
Don’t forget, kids, there’s more fun over at American Street!