New York Governor Patterson is on TV as I write this, apparently announcing a plan to cap state spending at the rate of inflation. This new found sense of fiscal discipline seemed to leave the media stunned. One astute journalist surprisingly asked Gov. Patterson why he is seeking to impose spending caps now but opposed Republican efforts to create a spending cap during his time in the state Senate. the Governor's answer was even more surprising. He responded that when he was in the Senate he did not realize the importance of fiscal responsibility during good times, in order to afford bad times. I must admit my jaw dropped hearing a politician admit that he was wrong and his opponents were right. Either Gov. Patterson is feeling some seriously Tea Party heat, there is something in his drinking water, or this plan is one big sham. Personally, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, and I'm sure as soon as the transcript is released for me to look over more closely I will find it and write more on this at that time.
. . . . Wow this is stunning. Another incredulous reporter (clearly concerned about protecting Democrats) just asked the Governor (my paraphrasing): "But Governor aren't you concerned that proposing a plan that is essentially the same as Senate Republicans is acknowledging that Republicans were correct on this issue, and have the moral high ground on fiscal discipline?"
Governor Patterson's paraphrased response: "Well, sometimes you have to admit when your opponents were right. The Republicans were correct on this issue and sometimes it is necessary stop being more concerned with the partisan bickering and posturing and be more concerned with doing what is right for the people of the state."
I'm not sure if the honesty or the new found fiscal discipline is more surprising. I think I might have an idea what is behind this proposal though. A recent poll found that only 1 out of 5 state voters approve of Gov. Patterson's job performance, and nearly 70% preferred Attorney General Cuomo in the upcoming election. It might be that Patterson is pulling a toned down version of "Benedict" Arlen Specter and foreseeing that his only hope of survival is to gain conservative support.
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