Can Paterson Crawl Out of His Mire of Inconsistency?

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Hmmm. This look might have something to do with it. Photo: Getty Images

This morning the Times printed an early obituary for the Paterson administration after their Friday interview with the governor, in which he admitted to directing his staff to spread the news that Caroline Kennedy wasn't his first choice to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate. The order caused one of the most public and obvious of the administration's missteps, when aides subsequently went on the attack against Kennedy, spreading rumors and nasty innuendo about why she dropped out of consideration for the post. In the wake of the mess, Paterson acknowledged that he's made many mistakes and vowed to the Times that he would make it up to voters.

Times reporters Danny Hakim and Nicholas Confessore talked to Albany sources who think Paterson's disorganization and inconsistency have squandered the positive goodwill he engenders by being generally likable, and the advantage the Democrats had by controlling both houses in Albany. In their story, Paterson is described as "unfocused, even rambling," and his staff is "bewildered," "confused," "frustrated," and "unable to provide simple, consistent answers." The Cuddle Guv clearly loves being governor and the trappings that come along with it, but his wavering on budget, tax, health-care, and management issues make some worry it's those trappings that are distracting him. Some Albany insiders think that the way things are looking now, he's going to need a "Plan B" when reelection time rolls around.

It seems he's pinning his hopes for a recovery on the return of Charles O'Byrne, his former influential chief of staff, who resigned over a scandal regarding nonpayment of taxes. "Sometimes you meet people and the two of you together are probably better than either of you separately," he told the Times. Which is sweet, and kind of gay, actually. (Fine by us — we'd love to see a return to the issue of marriage equality up in Albany.) Except, isn't one governor supposed to be enough?

Conceding Errors, Paterson Vows to Regain Trust [NYT]