This week, news circulated suggesting that President Barack Obama sent emissaries to attempt to convinced New York Governor David Paterson to exit the 2010 New York gubernatorial race. I have heard some argue that the president’s attempt is anti-democratic and that the voters of New York should decide who their governor will be. Of course, all would agree that New Yorkers should elect their governor. However, given that the president is the de facto head of the Democratic Party, he has an obligation to do what he can to ensure that the person New Yorkers elect is a Democrat and that the person running at the top of the ticket is as strong as possible. The stakes for the Democratic Party in the 2010 New York election are large. A weak candidate may weaken turnout and affect down-ticket races. Given that Sen. Gillibrand is crucial to count to 60 Democrats in the Senate, a strong gubernatorial candidate is important for reasons important to the national Democratic Party and its agenda. As important is the redistricting that will occur in the wake of the 2010 Census. The map that a Republican governor would endorse is likely to be far different than the one a Democratic governor would endorse. Congressional seats may be in the balance. If these are the concerns that drove Pres. Obama to encourage Paterson (and those who would have challenged Sen. Gillibrand) out of the New York primaries, his actions may be perfectly understandable and somewhat necessary as the head of the party. Of course, the president may be wrong about the parade of horribles that could follow a Gov. Paterson primary run (and possible win) but that is a very different question than whether he should have gotten involved at all.
No comments yet.