Thursday, March 27, 2008

To Self-Snitch, or Not To Self-Snitch....

....that is the question I posed to you guys last week while breaking down the whole Paterson Channels Ray Charles episode. For those in the dark, recently sworn-in New York Governor David Paterson came out last week and preemptively disclosed that both be and his wife had extramarital affairs during a "period of weakness" a few years back, but have both since moved forward. I asked you guys did you think telling on yourself before others uncover your dirt was the politically astute thing to do.

Most AverageCommenters said Yes, they'd rather find out the dirt firsthand than have it uncovered. I think most of ya'll also agreed that the way Patterson came to power (ie: post-Spitzer Gate) made it necessary to proactively divulge this info. And I guess that makes sense, given the fact that the story died almost immediately. Or maybe that had something to do with Rebb'n Wright dominating the airwaves.

Anyways, knowing that Albany Republicans are smelling blood in the water, Paterson went and dry-snitched on himself again yesterday. And I'm beginning to wonder what the point of all this is, and why it even matters.

Gov. David Paterson said Monday he used cocaine in his 20s and smoked marijuana when he was younger.

In reference to cocaine, Paterson, 53, said in a television interview that he "tried it a couple of times" when he was "about 22 or 23." "And marijuana probably when I was about 20," he said on the NY1 cable news station. "I don't think I touched marijuana since the '70s."

Last week, Paterson and his wife, Michelle Paterson, disclosed they each had committed adultery several years ago during marital strife. The couple were separated for a "couple years" at the time, David Paterson said Monday.

In Monday's interview, Paterson pointed out that he had acknowledged to a television journalist after a 2006 gubernatorial Democratic primary debate that he had used illegal drugs. The NY1 interviewer, Dominic Carter, noted that few people paid attention to Paterson's revelation in 2006 because he was running for lieutenant governor.
On the surface, none of this is particularly Earth shattering. Marital strife is common and given that Paterson wasn't in office at the time, his extramarital dalliances are his own business. At least he didn't lie about it and cost taxpayers $9M in a birdbrained cover-up. And the drug use, well, who the heck hasn't tried weed at least once? Maybe he needed it for his glaucoma, assuming legally blind folks have glaucoma. Cocaine? A bit harsher, granted, but hey, sign of the times. Neither here nor there in my book.

But I'm wondering at what point does Paterson have to quit dry-snitching on himself and just start governing? Yeah, it's true that he's going to be a target given the way Spitzer totally blew the gig before him, but what's next? Is he gonna have to tell about those bootleg Parliament Funkadelic 8-tracks be bought on 125th and Lennox back in 76'? How about the illegal HBO his next door neighbor hooked up in college? Or the times he had his boy who worked the grill at Wendy's hook him up with a Double for the price of a Single in return for rides home from basketball practice.

Ok, so maybe that's just me.

Question: Paterson has told about his past infidelity an drug use, and the public has responded with a collective shrug. Is there anything a politician can self-disclose that would be dishonorable or damaging? Is it always better to tell on yourself first?

N.Y. Governor Admits Past Pot, Cocaine Use [AP]

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