David Paterson May Quit Soon -- But Only If You Leave Him Alone

We think it goes like this: Various legislators show up at David Paterson's mansion, which he hasn't left in 24 hours. He talks to them about the budget or the stimulus or some junk. Then Paterson says, "O.K."

There's a silent beat. The visitors, almost unconsciously, put their hands out, like, "What, that's it?"

And it is. So far, no one seems to have convinced Paterson to resign.

Which doesn't mean that he won't.

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Sheldon Silver's reaction must have been priceless. But confronted by reporters after lunching with the Gov, the assembly speaker said, "I do not feel he should resign."

The Daily News saw this as Paterson's "much needed endorsement from assembly speaker," but it's probably just protective cover -- Silver got a bit of pushback yesterday from fellow Democrats when he suggested Richard Ravitch take over some of the heavy lifting from Paterson, and that wound doesn't need picking at the moment. (Even if Silver thinks Paterson should quit, there's no need to say so.)

Besides, what Silver and everyone understands is that Paterson will quit only when he decides he has to -- and, being a contrary son of a gun, he won't do it while people are pestering him. His strangely snide response to being reminded, just after he quit the 2010 race, that he once said he'd only leave that race via the ballot box or a pine box ("I'm leaving because of the ballot box, because it will be hard to reelect me when I'm not running"), and his bristling at other people's blind jokes when he makes plenty of his own, show this: That he's willing to humiliate himself, but would rather eat ground glass than let someone else even twit him a little.

There's a state cabinet meeting tomorrow morning at 11. If everyone's real quiet and gives him a lot of space, maybe, just maybe, he'll quit then.

Update: See?


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