So David Paterson's "likely" primary opponent, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, will now investigate the governor for using his phalanx of State Police to harass a lady who was beaten up by Paterson's top aide. Al Sharpton has called an emergency black elected official meeting. Paterson is not invited. Paterson's longtime ally Steve Israel has said, on the record, that Paterson should not seek reelection. Bill Perkins says he needs to end the campaign.
Paterson's Public Safety commissioner, Denise O'Donnell, has resigned, because of this scandal. (She's a Spitzer holdover who is seeking higher office, too.)
"The fact that the Governor and members of the State Police have acknowledged direct contact with a woman who had filed for an order of protection against a senior member of the Governor's staff is a very serious matter," O'Donnell said in a press release. "These actions are unacceptable regardless of their intent."
"It is particularly distressing that this could happen in an Administration that prides itself on its record of combating domestic violence. The behavior alleged here is the antithesis of what many of us have spent our entire careers working to build - a legal system that protects victims of domestic violence and brings offenders to justice."
So, yeah, that's it for the Paterson administration.
This is the point where the Democratic party stops allowing Paterson to hold his little face-saving reelection campaign, and they start actually applying pressure on him to announce that he's going to step aside for Andrew Cuomo.
And the Times! They handled this like a media assassin. It wasn't one bombshell story, it was the drip-drip-drip of three separate, increasingly damning stories. Honestly? The first one was so vague and stupid that it should not have even been published, but apparently it was this story's teaser trailer, or something.
Initially, Paterson's media strategy was either insane, brilliant, or both: play up your complaints about the salacious rumors so much that the actual story looks like small potatoes. Sharpton was defending the Governor from scurrilous rumor-mongers, and the governor was actually beginning to look sympathetic.
There might've been a way to deal with this, but having Andrew Cuomo investigate was not that way—because now it's "what did the governor know and when did he know it." In an attempt to demonstrate that he had nothing to hide, Paterson just guaranteed fresh tidbits of information on the investigation in each morning's tabloids.
If only this had been about sex and drugs! That's not even a resignable offense anymore. Using the State Police to intimidate victims of domestic violence, though...
Farewell, Accidental Governor Paterson. Whether he's allowed to finish out his accidental term with whatever dignity he has left or if he'll have to resign depends on the contents of the next Times story. (You know it's coming.)
Update: This could be nothing, or it could be a sign of big weirdness to come. Josh Robin says "top Paterson aides and advisors do not know where he is right now, and haven't been able to reach him." Is he on the Appalachian trail? Locked in his bathroom? Who knows!
Update 2: Looks like someone spoke to the governor, and he is, vaguely, "in NYC."