What Happens When a Public Official Loses Touch With Reality?

David Paterson's comments are more and more out of touch with the reality of his situation -- and it's worrisome, for him and New York.

Remember when Paterson called a press conference to withdraw from the race to succeed himself as governor because otherwise he wouldn't be able to conduct the state's business? (The idea that he was in this race was conceivably his first delusion - no, that was the idea that he was conducting the state's business, rather than being the no-show governor depicted in interviews with legislators, his cabinet, and other government appointees.)

Remember how, in front of his wife (am I the only one who thought she looked incredulous and horrified?) at that press conference he raised his arm and swore, "I have never abused my office - not now, not ever. I believe when the facts are revealed, the truth will prevail." Here's the scary thing - I believe Paterson felt he was being truthful.

Subsequent to this performance, the New York Times revealed that Paterson had solicited two state workers to lean on the alleged victim of domestic abuse by his chief aide, David Johnson, including asking her to call the governor so he could tell her "I'm here for you." Aside from the implications of telling a woman accusing his associate of criminal conduct that she could count on him, Paterson disremembered that he set the call in motion - claiming the woman called him out of the blue.

But, in David Paterson's mind, he's done nothing to impede the woman's accusations - he was simply . . . being David. Just as he may have felt he was testifying honestly, under oath, recently in front of the New York Public Integrity Commission that he had brought a check with him to Yankee Stadium to pay for his, his son's, and his son's friend's tickets to the first World Series game - only to have the Commission decide the check was post-dated and signed by someone other than Paterson.

Of course, Paterson had previously told his own communications director to tell a New York Post reporter who saw him at the game that he was the invited guest of Yankees' president Randy Levine - which Levine immediately denied, forcing Paterson to withdraw his fanciful claim (remind you of Larry King saying he was good friends with Sandy Koufax in their Brooklyn high school days, which Koufax denied totally?).

And, so, the Commission is accusing Paterson of a crime - not the one of soliciting and accepting valuable gifts from organizations and individuals doing business with New York (as the Yankees do), but for lying under oath - a crime with serious penalties.

Guess what Paterson's reaction was to the Commission's charge? If you guessed that Paterson said that he would request a meeting with the Commission to challenge its conclusions based on both fact and law, that he had absolutely not lied under oath, and that "We also dispute that I solicited anything from the Yankees and acted improperly" and that, "We are looking forward to talking with them about that," then you were right.

But do you know that Paterson believes these claims? He will swear to them just as he swore that he was not involved in any of the events surrounding the campaign to have the alleged victim of his aide's abuse withdraw her charges, that he was invited by Yankee brass to the World Series, and that he wrote that check.

Paterson is just that crazy.