So after all the hoopla –
• From a New York Observer reporter’s tweet a week and a half ago (“anyone hearing about NYT bombshell on Paterson? Heard big, damanging [sic] story comin [sic]. been working for weeks, but still not published yet.”)
• To all kinds of sexual speculation (“I Did Not Have Sex With That Woman,” the New York Post front-paged)
• To this past Sunday’s New York Times Public Editor column headlined “Somebody Else’s Rumor” (translation: Mind your own business)
– the Times has finally published its big exposé on Gov. David Paterson (D-Who, Me?).
And here’s what the Times has served up:
Paterson Aide’s Quick Rise Draws Scrutiny
Yeah – scrutiny from the Times:
David W. Johnson has worked for Gov. David A. Paterson for much of his adult life. He began as a young, ambitious intern from Harlem when Mr. Paterson was a state legislator. He rose to be Mr. Paterson’s driver, serving as a kind of protector and scheduler.
In recent months, however, Mr. Johnson’s ascent has been striking: he is now one of the most senior people in the governor’s administration, paid $132,000. He is described as Mr. Paterson’s closest confidant, a man with a designated room for his overnight stays in the Executive Mansion, and a broadening role in areas like campaign strategy, government initiatives and the management of the governor’s staff.
Inconveniently, the Times reports, Mr. Johnson has also “twice been arrested on felony drug charges,” and “on three occasions been involved in altercations with women.”
Also inconveniently, the Times says, “[Gov.] Paterson has made domestic violence a key issue in his career.”
Finally inconveniently, the Times story is a tissue of innuendo – a woman involved in one altercation “insisted on anonymity” and “declined to offer evidence” of a domestic violence complaint – and, well, innuendo:
Mr. Johnson’s increasing prominence, and Mr. Paterson’s reliance on him, have worried some veteran aides to the governor, who themselves are trying to assist Mr. Paterson as he faces an enormous fiscal crisis and a daunting election effort. They would not speak by name, but more than four current or former officials expressed concern that Mr. Johnson and another aide, a former state trooper, had become the governor’s innermost circle and were simply not best equipped to help him tackle the multiple challenges facing him.
Sounds like a run-of-the-mill political turf war. Here’s the other side, according to the Times piece:
Bill Lynch, one of the governor’s longtime political strategists, said that he talked campaign strategy with Mr. Johnson and that it had been Mr. Johnson’s idea to hold a series of community conversations in New York City late last year.
Asked what made Mr. Johnson qualified to be involved in campaign strategy, Mr. Lynch said: “I don’t know much about his history other than his working for the governor. But as far as I’m concerned, his instincts on these campaign things are good, if not damn near perfect.”
Assemblyman Keith L. T. Wright, a Harlem Democrat, said of Mr. Johnson: “I look at him as a gatekeeper. I actually think he’s done pretty well.
“He’s been with David for years. He is a good filter for David. David trusts him. And his influence has grown.”
David W. Johnson has made Page One of the New York Times.
Now can we have the sex scandal?