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Soundbite: Paterson Is Palin Redux…But Worse

Here’s an interesting take on the current David Paterson saga (and honestly…this has become the definition of a saga) from Ben Smith at Politico. Short version: David Paterson is to Eliot Spitzer what Sarah Palin was to John McCain. Except that New York State would be much luckier to have Palin.

There’s a striking parallel between Spitzer’s choice and John McCain’s decision to pick Sarah Palin. Palin is no Paterson — whatever her lack of preparation, her Alaska tenure looks pretty good in comparison to his. But both men selected running mates whom they barely knew and who looked good on paper, without much vetting or any apparent concern that they would be out of their depth in the top job.

What’s more, both men did so out of a combination of a sense of immortality and pure pique. McCain had been told, to his reported great irritation, that the Republican base simply wouldn’t accept his preferred mate, Joe Lieberman. His choice of Palin came in part in reaction to that.

Smith also notes that Spitzer picked Paterson in part to piss off Charlie Rangel. I would say look who’s laughing now except…is anyone? Smith, by the way, is riffing off this NY Post article which points out that for all the Spitzer nostalgia making the rounds Spitzer is the one who put Paterson there in the first place. Does this matter? I still suspect if Spitzer took advantage of Andrew Cuomo’s reluctance to throw his hat in the ring just yet he could make for a formidable candidate.

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