Ever since Roger Stone destroyed Eliot Spitzer, New York Gov. David Paterson has been trying to sidestep the problems of his predecessor by disclosing everything—everything—he's ever done wrong. But he screwed up the delivery. He told the Daily News that he and his wife had slept around. Voila, full disclosure. The problem was that Paterson opened the door for a primed press corps to dig into his hiring practices and hotel records for other signs of scandal. What other state executive would be asked about this?
DC: "So now you're the governor of the state, have you ever used any illegal drugs, Governor Paterson?"
DP: "Actually, Dominic, I was in the audience and was asked the same question on camera after that interview and I answered in the affirmative."
DC: "You have?"
DC: "You have used cocaine, governor?"
DP: "I'd say I was about 22 or 23. I tried it a couple of times."
DC: "When was the last time? Is that the only time?"
DP: "Yea, it was around that time. A couple of times… and marijuana probably when I was about 20. I don't think I touched marijuana since the 70's."
Paterson asks for a little credit for his disclosure: "More Americans have tried a lot more during that period of time and gone on to lead responsible lives and hopefully have lived their lives to their fullest." He's right. But now he's the governor of New York, home of the Rockefeller drug laws. If those laws had been applied to son-of-a-state-senator David Paterson, and he'd been caught with 4 ounces of cocaine or marijuana, he would have spent the 70s and most of the 1980s serving at least 15 years in jail. For the second time in a month, New Yorkers should listen to Roger Stone.
The Governor must get the Senate and Assembly approval for repeal of the Rockefeller drug laws which are racist, ineffective, and expensive. Governor Paterson can return discretion to Judges who understand the need for treatment and rehabilitation not incarceration for minor drug crimes.
My headline is obviously a reference to "White Lines," but it's important that America hears the song Grandmaster Flash et al sampled for that track—"Cavern," by Liquid Liquid.