Governor David Paterson deserves better than being called the “Accidental Governor.”
When it comes to the budget, Paterson is taking one for the team. He's biting the bullet on Andrew Cuomo’s behalf. Mr. Cuomo, the gov-in-waiting should thank Paterson immensely. Perhaps it explains why publicly Cuomo in general has been offering praise Paterson’s way.
Think about it.
Most governors in Paterson’s shoes with only a few months to go, would only be concerned about their legacy. In other words, Paterson could punt on the state’s horrible budget situation, simply passing on the enormous problem to the next guy.
Paterson could take the easy way, and do as his Lt. Governor and others have requested of him, and that is “tax” his way through, or go the path other governors have done, and that is borrow, borrow, borrow your way through the budget problem.
Instead what is Paterson doing? He’s setting the tough tone for what’s to come in the state—serious belt tightening, and by doing that—he’s taking some of the heat off of Cuomo, and it’s putting the electorate and legislature both on notice at the same time.
When Cuomo comes in, (if he is indeed elected) Paterson has already started down the difficult road. Stated another way, if this were a game of football, Paterson is opening a hole for Cuomo to run through. And in this case Paterson receives none of the fame, except perhaps from budget watchdogs for “doing the right thing.”
Paterson is left doing the unpopular, talking of the possible return of the clothing sales tax, battling every week with lawmakers about cuts in emergency temporary budgets, and his days are numbered, when Paterson should be cruising to re-election.
If doing the "dirty work" for the incoming governor is not enough, Paterson is referred to as the “Accidental Governor.”
How can you be the accidental governor when residents throughout New York State knew in advance what they were voting for? Voters were aware of the fact that should Elliot Spitzer not be able to serve, or complete his term, David Paterson would immediately takes the oath of office as Governor. There was no surprise or “accident,” in the process.
Andrew Cuomo should be very pleased he has a "blocker" like David Paterson.