David Paterson took a lot of heat for saying racism was behind his poor press and dismal poll numbers. When he tried to rope President Obama into the act, the White House distanced itself from the governor more strenuously than they did even from Bill Thompson.
We wondered some time ago if maybe history will validate Paterson’s claims of prejudice someday. Until then, the House Ethics Committee seems to have given the governor a useful talking point: Politico reports today that of the seven open investigations by the House Ethics Committee (including that of our own Charlie Rangel [pictured] who does New York proud with two ethics probes), all of them involve black lawmakers.
To put it another way: Fifteen percent of all African-American House members are under investigation, as opposed to zero percent of all white House members…
It’s not an easy thing for members of the Congressional Black Caucus to talk about. None want to be seen complaining and “playing the race card,” or explaining why so many black House members are under investigation. Also, as the Senate’s lone black member, Roland Burris, is under investigation as well, that chamber has 100 percent of its black members being probed! (Of course, no one wanted to talk to the toxic, Blagojevich-appointed Burris even before he was formally under investigation — until they needed his vote on health care.)
But off the record, members of the CBC seem to be saying privately what Paterson said openly, if haplessly: that they’re held to a higher level of scrutiny.
Will it save the Governor from approval numbers that are approaching single digits? Hardly. But the plight of his brothers and sisters in Congress is still better news for him than YankeeGate.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 3, 2009