The issue with David Paterson is no longer his wrongdoing - it's his insanity. New York is being run by a madman!


The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, March 2, 2010. This blog post also appeared on

Leave David Alone! (It's not nice to mock crazy people)

The issue with David Paterson is no longer his wrongdoing - it's his insanity. New York is being run by a madman!

While watching the Paterson press conference - the one where, his wife by his side, he answered no questions because of the ongoing investigation and raised his arm and swore he never abused his office, "not now, not ever" - I realized: Paterson's loony.

Like John Edwards swearing the Enquirer was making up his affair with Rielle Hunter, then denying he was seen visiting her and the child, then admitting it but saying their affair was long over and denying the child was his - all the while claiming the Enquirer was making the stories up and that he didn't deign to respond to the paper's claims. And Edwards meanwhile was running for president and expecting the cover-up to stay in place forever!

What a nut! Like Paterson, who no sooner gets done swearing he's purer than Caesar's wife (I'd like to see Paterson's wife swear he's done nothing wrong) than the next shoe falls, and it turns out he's sending state workers scurrying to get aide David Johnson's girlfriend to deny he abused her. And he expects this to hold up? He's crazy.

Like Edwards, Paterson regularly insists that the press is hounding him with hellacious, untrue accusations - thus relying on the rumored expose of his sexual exploits that never appeared in the Times as his catch-all defense. "I think there is an hysteria that I've been the victim of over the past couple of months. I've been resigning about five times before this weekend." Sure, the unrealized rumors are his only problem.

Paterson can't imagine why anyone wants his hide: "It's (his resignation) off the table," Mr. Paterson said at a breakfast with editors from The New York Observer. "I don't even know why it's on the table." Covering up for a woman-beating aide wouldn't that put his job on the table?

But, as a psychologist, I can see that Paterson is inhabiting some other world than the New York political one, the one of being acting governor. Instead, he lives in a world where secrets aren't revealed and his career isn't unraveling. You know that world - the one where politicians have psychotic episodes when they're found out doing something problematic? (Envision Senator Larry Craig, after being caught soliciting sex in a men's bathroom, swearing for the umpteenth time he's not gay.)

But not so psychotic that they don't fight every square inch of the way out, denying anything that hasn't thus far been found out, claiming everything that has been revealed is the result of an overzealous press and political enemies, and refusing to dignify any charges with explanations. In Paterson's case, this is because (a) he might hurt other people (like the woman Paterson's aide throttled?), (b) the aforementioned ongoing investigation, (c) it has nothing to do with him, as in "This is a separate issue that actually involved someone who worked for us - and not me."

Didn't I already swear I've done nothing wrong? Why does the press keep hounding me? Can't you see this has nothing to do with me? Do you really think I would tell state employees to lean on the abused woman to withdraw her story? Where do you come up with these things? What is that buzzing in my fillings?

New York shouldn't be worrying about its failing budget, the danger of terrorist attacks, or the cessation of essential services like hospitals and street cleaning. It should be worried that, like Libya, it's being run by a madman.