NY Mag on the Paterson 'Weirdness' Factor

patersonoff2.jpg Here's the nut graf from a mostly generous New York Magazine profile today on our embattled governor: "The only guarantee is a large helping of weirdness."

That's not reporter Chris Smith talking, but the sum-up conclusion of his conversations with those who know David Paterson fairly well. Here's another from "one exasperated adviser": "He is an extraordinarily unusual politician. His degree of thinking aloud; his degree of openly and verbally changing his mind; his ability to argue passionately to do something two completely different ways..."

Then there's the gov's own interesting observations:

On handling his first budget after his patron, Eliot Spitzer, resigned in the spring of 2008: "I said, 'Look, the governor did not have me working on the budget this year. I have no idea what the issues are,' " Paterson says now. (This from a man who had already spent 20 years in the state senate.)

And here he is on his former legislative colleagues: "Some of them are just nasty people. They just are. I knew that when I was minority leader and half the time spent too much time trying to keep them out of trouble."

There's also some genuine self-revelation about growing up legally blind, putting his current political troubles into perspective:

"I remembered the alienation of disability, being ridiculed as a child, that kind of thing, being left out of things," Paterson says. "In school they'd tell us to read something, and it would take me an hour to read a couple of pages. And because I was in public school and I was one of the first legally blind students in public school, the message I got was, 'Don't say anything and you won't get into trouble.' Times like that, there's a tremendous feeling of loneliness, a tremendous feeling of isolation. I'd go to birthday parties, and the parents seemed very apprehensive about having me there. Those were the real struggles in my life--not being governor. Not being reelected as governor? If you told me, when I was feeling that ridiculed and alienated, 'Here's the deal: We'll get you out of this, but you're not going to get reelected as governor.' Hey! That's not bad. I'd sign for it."


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