Paterson Says He Can Beat Giuliani; Is Probably Really Running Against Expectations


We’ve suggested before that David Paterson didn’t really want to be Governor, in the traditional sense of running and dealing hard for the job like most aspirants, which may explain his remarkable sangfroid in the face of a seemingly doomed campaign for 2010. He tells the Times today “I think I can beat Mayor Giuliani,” much in the manner of Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince saying they thought they could beat Mike Tyson.

Paterson’s task — assuming Giuliani gets into it, which is not settled — would seem almost as daunting: all year polls have shown him losing to the former mayor. (On the other hand, the more Giuliani pops up the press as the subject of gubernatorial or senatorial speculation, the less people want him to run)…

“Paterson Runs Like He’s Ahead,” says Jimmy Vielkind. The article details the complaints of people who say Paterson just isn’t working hard at making himself electable. It seems at times as if this kind of image-managing is beneath him. The most revealing Paterson quotes have to do with the people who told him — all his life, to hear him tell it — that he had no aptitude for whatever he was doing. “If everyone knew what the future was,” Paterson laments, “why didn’t they tell me I was going to become governor? I could have used the heads-up.”

We still think Paterson would be happy to go out a noble failure, but we now detect an at least secondary motive: He’s running to piss off the people who keep telling him not to. Whatever it is, the traditional lust for power seems not to be a major part of his makeup. Maybe that’s why he seems so unrattled.