Skip to main content

George Pataki Is Old And Boring, But He Loves Wall Street

The guy can turn off a room of with his smile, but he's got some powerful old friends on The Street.

For those of you that believe there's no such thing as too many Republican candidates, good news!

George Elmer Pataki, the septuagenarian former governor of New York who has been known to make crowds drowsy with his oratory and who can disappear when standing in front of wall painted a neutral hue, is ready to make a run for The White House.

Former New York governor George E. Pataki -- a moderate Republican who led the state through the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- on Thursday formally launched a long-shot bid for the presidency during an event in Exeter, N.H.
Citing "the freedom that has given us the greatest country the world has ever known," Pataki said it was "to preserve and protect that freedom that this morning I announce that I am a candidate for the Republican nomination for president of the United States."

If Pataki were to find himself elected (ed. note: Snort) he would be the oldest person to ever take the oath of office. But George isn't one of those rascally fun old people - like 90s era Walter Matthau - he's the kind of guy that's most usually described as, well, reeeeealllly boring.

Here's the NY Times reporting on his 1997 State of the State address:

As the Governor slogged through an address that ran to 32 pages, it was easy to empathize with the state trooper who passed out behind the podium, creating what was far and away the most talked-about moment of the day. (''I didn't think the speech was that long,'' the Governor joked as the commotion died down, then proceeded to talk for another 20 minutes.)
It has been at least a generation since anyone in Albany approached Mr. Pataki's speaking style, unless, of course, you count Malcolm Wilson speaking in Latin.

Anyone who goes on talking for 20 minutes with an armed man snoring in front of them clearly can't read a room.

Basically, Pataki has the charisma of Mitt Romney on Ambien.

But this guy was also Governor of New York for three terms so he's familiar with Wall Street. So familiar that his hands-off approach to policing the financial sector arguably led to the rise of Eliot Spitzer. He dropped the state's corporate tax rate from 9% to 7.5% and tried to eliminate the commuter tax that was such a pain to bankers living in Connecticut and New Jersey. That kind of stuff.

Michael Finnegan, Pataki's closest political who guided him from Mayor of Peekskill to Albany, left Albany to become a Managing Director in JP Morgan's investment banking division. Another senior Pataki advisor in Albany was Tom "Dusty" Rhodes, who was a partner at Goldman Sachs before he helped Pataki wage war on the New York State tax code.

After 9-11, Pataki turned to Goldman icon John Whitehead to lead the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and fix downtown.

Pataki has no shortage of old friends on Wall Street, but the emphasis is on "old" and it seems hard to believe that even those ties will help make Pataki even relevant in the 2016 race.

This story needs a kicker, but it's also about George Pataki so let's just cut our losses for having stayed engaged this far.

George Pataki launches presidential campaign [WaPo]


What Jeb Bush Talks About When He Doesn't Talk About Wall Street

He doesn't need to tell Wall Street that he loves it, Wall Street already knows.

Hillary Spices Up Boring And Somber Debate By Ham-Fistedly Invoking 9/11

Like it or not, Hillary raised a ton more Wall Street money AFTER 9/11.

Martin O'Malley's Wall Street White Paper Is Commendably Naive

He's been studying real hard, but Martin O'Malley's grasp of Wall Street realpolitik is not that strong yet.


Broke And Desperate, Ted Cruz Comes Crawling Back To Wall Street

Old Meltyface would like to explain his attacks/ask for some money.

Republicans Forget To Cravenly Bash Wall Street In First Debate

There was a lot of talk about Siamese Twins and pimps, but Wall Street got the night off.

Everybody Hates Whatever They Think "Wall Street" Is: WSJ

Wall Street has become the Rorschach test for angry voters, but no one knows what they're looking at.