You'd have to pry the job from his cold, dead hands, but what if Paterson's latest scandal caused New York to lose its second governor in so many years? Meet Richard Ravitch, the 76-year-old Manhattanite waiting in the wings.
Here's the stuff worth knowing:
- Some say it's illegal for him to be lieutenant governor. During a period of unprecedented legislative gridlock, Paterson thought he could solve everything by going rogue and appointing a rando to be his lieutenant, since he still didn't have one, months after Spitzer stepped down. Ravitch was sworn in while eating a steak dinner at Peter Luger's, a scenario that could only be clubbier if Cuban cigars were involved. Attorney General (and presumed Paterson challenger) Andrew Cuomo challenged the appointment, but Ravitch was ultimately deemed legit. Given the "circuslike atmosphere in Albany," though, being allowed to stay wasn't really so great a prize.
- But after all that hoopla, Paterson won't even talk to Ravitch. The pair have not communicated in a month and a half, to Ravitch's reported "frustration."
- Luckily, massively disorganized crises are Ravitch's bat call. He spent the early '80s as the head of MTA (he wore a bulletproof vest during the 1980 transit strike) and the early '90s as Major League Baseball's chief haggler. In 1994 The Times asked, "How Did Dick Ravitch Get Into This Mess?" and described MLB labor relations as "a Greek tragedy." As a public servant, he has worked under Lyndon Johnson and Rudy Giuliani.
- He's loaded. In addition to a sizable MLB salary, Ravitch made millions on Wall Street and from his family's construction business.
- Speaking of money: It cost an estimated $1 million to install Ravitch as lieutenant governor. Lawyers who can argue unprecedented acts of constitutional ambiguity are expensive.
- He is old: "Somebody sent me three messages saying, 'Please come on Twitter.' I don't know what the hell..."