Monday, May 21, 2012

Cory Booker says WAY too much

The Meet the Press appearance was first portrayed as Booker going off message and sabotaging a promising line of attack by Obama against the forces of Mitt Romney.

Cory Booker: Bain Attacks By Obama Campaign Against Mitt Romney Are 'Nauseating' 

The Huffington Post | By Chris Gentilviso 05/20/2012

Newark N.J. Mayor Cory Booker (D) expressed reserve about the Obama campaign's Bain strategy against Mitt Romney, telling Meet The Press viewers on Sunday that he was "uncomfortable" with the line of attacks.

"This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides," Booker said. "It's nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity."

Booker was referencing the Obama campaign's Monday release of a series of documentary-esque Bain videos. The clips depicted Romney as a job destroyer at places like GST steel -- a company purchased by Bain that later saw hundreds of workers lose their employment.

The mayor's comments also questioned the Bain attacks' public value, noting that they diverge from the "real issues" affecting voters.

It's either going to be a small campaign about this crap or it's going to be a big campaign, in my opinion, about the issues that the American public cares about," Booker said. more
The online left exploded in anger—mostly for making Obama's life more difficult.  The anger is especially acute among those of us who believe that economic crime IS "about the issues that the American public cares about."

Updated: Cory Booker Sandbags Obama Campaign on Bain Messaging

By karoli   May 20, 2012

Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital is one of the few quantifiable ways voters can see how he intends to approach employment issues and corporations, and the Obama campaign has done a terrific job of pointing out the "vulture capitalist" Romney so desperately tries to hide. In fact, they launched a new website this week highlighting the swath of devastation Romney left behind. It gives details about the different companies they stripped of all assets in order to maximize profit to investors.

Also this week, Joe Biden gave a speech where he was on fire -- as on fire as I've ever heard him -- about the differences between the middle class and the 1 percent and why Romney's Bain Capital profit model was guaranteed to benefit only the rich while further destroying the middle class and leaving them farther behind. It was a speech for the ages. It also had Republicans on the run, scurrying to counter the message in the Wall Street Journal and wherever else they could spread the word.

So this morning on Meet the Press Mayor Cory Booker just managed to undo all of that work with a few measured sentences. Start at about 5:31 of the video clip embedded above and watch until you hear Booker tell the panel that he's "uncomfortable" with the attacks on private equity. Via TPM:
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday, Newark Mayor and Obama bundler Cory Booker said he was “uncomfortable” with the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s career with Bain Capital.

“It’s a distraction from the real issues,” Booker said, of both attacks on Bain and Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “It’s either gonna be a small campaign about this crap, or it’s gonna be a big campaign about the issues the American public cares about.”

“I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” Booker added. “If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses — to grow businesses. And this to me, I’m very uncomfortable.”
Well, Mayor Booker. Thank you so much for that false equivalence. The Bain Capital issues strike right at the heart of what this campaign is about. Are we a country of financialists or a country of opportunity and growth for the middle class? Is the goal to maximize profit at the expense of workers or is the goal to simply strip the value from companies in order to reward the private equity investors.

To be clear, there is absolutely no equivalence between the bogus Reverend Wright revival and Romney's actions while at Bain Capital. Digby:
If Romney can't be criticized for his vulture capitalism and we can't "indict" private equity then what does he think this campaign should be about? The deficit? Some abstract notions of "jobs" and "the economy" without any reference to the fact that it was the financial sector and "private equity" that caused this situation in the first place? Sounds perfect. For Wall Street.

Sadly, this is exactly the kind of concern trolling that will make the Village declare that the Democrats are hitting below the belt by criticizing Bain Capital and the Dems will fall in line. Indeed, the fact that it's Cory Booker who's saying it today indicates that it's the Democrats themselves saying "stop us before we hurt the Masters of the Universe's feelings again."
Yes, this. Exactly this. Already the RNC has popped out with their version of "even Democrats agree with us" on this issue, thanks to the careless remarks of Mayor Booker, and even though he attempted a halfhearted walkback via Twitter, he did a terrific job of stepping on the success of last week's campaign messaging. more
And the financial blogs openly acknowledge that Booker is one of their hirelings and think it quite awful that the left should go after him for defending what they do to get rich.

The Knives Come Out For Cory Booker

Brett LoGiurato | May 20, 2012

Cory Booker seemed to shock the left this morning on "Meet the Press." Calling himself an "Obama surrogate," he said this when asked about the Obama campaign's attack ads this week on Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital:

“I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity. To me, we’re getting to a ridiculous point in America.

"Especially that I know I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people invest in companies like Bain Capital. If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses. And this, to me, I’m very uncomfortable with.”

Heads started to roll. Keith Olbermann tweeted that Booker "may have done progressive things, but he believes in nothing but Cory Booker." The left-heavy Think Progress went with an unflattering "Booker attacks Obama" headline for the "popular, progressive mayor" from Newark.

Truth is, though, that Booker has always been thought of as something of a "moderate" or "centrist" Democrat, despite being perhaps their favorite rising star. (He's going to either run to be New Jersey's governor in 2013 or for one of its Senate seats in 2014.)

Here's Cory Booker talking about the labels of Republican and Democrat, and how he wants neither to fully apply to him.

Over at Salon, Steve Kornacki writes why this shouldn't be too much of a surprise.
Financial support from Wall Street and, more broadly speaking, the investor class has been key to Booker’s rise, and remains key to his future dreams.

That's because Cory Booker was originally elected to the Newark mayor's office on the strength of the private-equity types. In 2002, when he narrowly lost his first bid, nearly a quarter of donations to his campaign came from Wall Street. Pretty much all of it, Kornacki writes, was from outside Newark.

You already see his eye toward the future shining through in his "Meet the Press" comments, when he tries to pulls in the example of how his state benefits from private-equity companies like Bain Capital.
But it appears as if Booker has infuriated his base, prompting that video clarification. That he plainly refers to himself as an "Obama surrogate" on "Meet the Press" probably did not help. And now he's even suggesting that the Obama campaign should "look into" Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital.

"I encourage the Obama campaign to examine that record and to discuss it," Booker said in the video.

The way this whole kerfuffle has played out is rather telling of the point Booker was originally trying to make. The day of him becoming a major talking point simply detracts more from the issues, just like he opined about Bain Capital and the GOP super PAC's planned Jeremiah Wright attack ads. And it proves that it's hard for a centrist to get ahead in this political climate. more
See? A "centrist" is now defined as a Wall Street toady.  What such people believe about anything else is not important to the world of high finance.  My guess is that neither Booker nor his backers have ANY idea how toxic a tie to Wall Street, (and especially firms like Bain Capital) really is.  Booker doesn't know it yet, but his political career just ended on Sunday.  That's what happens to people who choose to be spokesdorks for mega-thieves.

But Booker is hardly alone as a would-be progressive who has sold out to Wall Street.  As he noted, unions and pension funds invested in Bain too.  And he is absolutely right.  I know of pension funds for retired Lutheran missionaries and environmental groups who have invested their endowments in things that make Bain look enlightened.

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