When David Paterson took over from Eliot Spitzer, it’s been a foregone conclusion that he’d win in 2010. That ‘sure bet’ thing is pretty much out the window now, especially after reading this editorial:

Gov. Paterson had the opportunity, and the obligation, to appoint a U.S. senator who has the standing and expertise to be a national leader in rescuing the American financial system and economy from dire peril. He fell far short.

The governor’s selection of one-term upstate Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand for this highly critical post, a seat long held by people of enormous stature, was decidedly underwhelming and thoroughly disappointing.

Though that isn’t insignificant, I suspect that this is the least of Mr. Paterson’s problems. I suspect that this will cause him far more re-election troubles:

For good measure, Gov. David A. Paterson’s advisers piled on a few more salacious tidbits: She has embarrassing skeletons in her closet related to taxes, a nanny and her marriage.

That Paterson would sanction such a frontal assault on Kennedy after she already had ended her quest to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton stunned even the most grizzled political insiders.

What was to be gained when advisers close to Paterson decided to dump on Kennedy in interviews with The Buffalo News and a handful of other news outlets Thursday, less than 12 hours after she already dropped out of the running?

What was the benefit the governor saw in attacking Kennedy, whose political connections, including straight to the Oval Office with President Obama, go far beyond anything the governor enjoys?

Gov. Paterson knew that not picking Ms. Kennedy wouldn’t get him on the Kennedy’s Christmas card list but then stabbing her in the back after she humiliated herself by dropping out was political suicide. The Kennedys know a thing or two about sharpening the long knives right before going for the political kill.

When history books are written, it will note that Gov. Paterson’s political career was inconsequential, tumultuous and exceptionally brief. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t lose in the primary. I wouldn’t be surprised if he announces soon that he’s retiring at the end of this term.

Here’s something interesting from the article:

Some Democrats say Paterson’s choice of Gillibrand could have selfish political motives. One lawmaker theorized that he took a lesser-known Democrat as a way of making the 2010 Senate race more attractive for a big-name Republican, say Rudolph Giuliani, to take on instead of running against Paterson next year.

I don’t have any insight into what Rudy’s ambitions are but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran for governor so that Peter King could run against Gillibrand. Whether that’s the best top of the ticket for Republicans is another story.

One thing’s that’s certain is that Paterson’s picking Rep. Gillibrand gives the GOP a shot at regaining that House seat. The governor’s race will be far more competitive than experts predicted in 2007. Since then, Eliot Spitzer got run out and Paterson inflicted alot of political damage on himself. I’ll still have to see more to put this Senate seat in the toss-up column but it’s alot closer to being competitive than it was a year ago.

That’s alot of potential damage from a single bad decision.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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