Sheldon Silver Finds the Acceptable-Insults Limit for Still-Governor Paterson

It may seem these days as if our leaders may visit upon David Paterson any insult and get away with it, but apparently Sheldon Silver has tested the limits of such behavior. Today in the Daily News, the assembly speaker suggested that maybe Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch -- the governor-presumptive of the chattering classes -- should be helping the governor out with his work -- like, you know, negotiating with the legislature on the budget, where Ravitch's "out-of-the-box" thinking would be appreciated. Liz Krueger of the senate finance committee agrees.

Senator Eric Adams, one of the few Albany legislators whose support for Paterson's continued reign as governor seems sincere, steps up to call Silver's comments "offensive" and "inappropriate."

To sex it up a bit, Adams also compares Silver to Napoleon.

Adams suggests that Silver's statement was meant to "give a signal that [Paterson is] incompetent, that he's unable or he can't handle the rigorous actions of being the governor." You don't say. John Sampson has also stepped up and said Paterson is innocent until proven guilty etc., and -- to use Glenn Bain's touching description -- "told reporters in no uncertain terms that Gov. David Paterson should be involved in budget negotiations."

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So now we know: You can demand Paterson's resignation, but saying that some of the other guys around the house should be taking over some of his duties is a little over the line.

Silver hasn't exactly been protective of Paterson, especially as regards the Aqueduct scandal, and is often seen sitting at the cool kids' table sharing in derisive patter about Paterson.

Paterson seems only recently to have figured this out. But as this story from a year ago shows, Wayne Barrett figured out early that Silver was playing Paterson for a fool.


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