This morning’s Times tells the woeful tale of Democratic congressmen who fear that their reelection chances will be hurt if Governor Paterson follows through on running for reelection in 2010. The paper does not say specifically why him running or not running makes such a drastic difference (it would seem pretty easy for Republicans to tar opponents with the same brush whether or not he’s actually running), but it does make the point that things have gotten so bad that state party officials are begging the White House to get Paterson off their hands. “At this point, people are brainstorming about how to give the governor a dignified exit,” said one such leader, who has been involved in talks with the Obama administration about finding a political appointment for Paterson if his approval numbers don’t improve. Apparently, Obama political director Patrick Gaspard is “directly monitoring” the situation. This sounds exciting! We just looked at the list of Obama appointees, and there are some things we think Paterson would be really good at. Deputy assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management, for example. Or assistant administrator for Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. Or assistant administrator for Water! Now that sounds powerful.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and then maybe a few weeks into January — that’s when you really gotta sit down, talk to your advisers and say, ‘Look, do I have a chance?’ I think I know why I would want to run. I think I know what I think this country should do and what I would do. But I just don’t know whether it’s possible.