Monday, 21 May 2012


Ken Berwitz

Over the past year or so I have written several blogs about Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, all of which extol his performance as Mayor and suggest that he might be a strong candidate against Chris Christie in the next Governor's race.  I have found Mr. Booker to be smart, innovative and candid enough to go beyond partisan politics and emerge as a true statesman and leader.  My kind of guy for sure.

Yesterday, on Meet The Press he outdid himself....................unfortunately, for just a few hours. 

Speaking of Obama attack ads against Bain Capital, the company Mitt Romney ran so successfully in the 1990's, and the Romney camp's response to those ads, Mayor Booker first said "This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides".  He then told David Gregory:

"I have to just say, from a very personal level, I'm not about to sit here and indict private equity. . . . Especially that I know I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing 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."

Not only is this apostasy of the first order for a high profile Democrat, but it flies directly in the face of what appears to be President Obama's campaign strategy - i.e. if you can't run on your terrible record, tear down your opponent's stellar record.

It took cajones of steel for Cory Booker to make this statement, because it was guaranteed to bring the entire house of Obama down on him.

Which it did. 

And that is why, in a matter of hours, those cajones of steel wound up more like whiffle balls.

Suddenly we had Mayor Booker back in front of the cameras, but this time "clarifying" his remarks.  He couldn't just reverse field and contradict his comments on Meet The Press; that would make him look ridiculous beyond belief.  So he did it this way:

"Mitt Romney has made his business record a centerpiece of his campaign," Booker said in the video. "He's talked about himself as a job creator. And therefore, it is reasonable, and in fact I encourage it, for the Obama campaign to examine that record and to discuss it.  In fact, I believe that Mitt Romney, in many ways, is not being completely honest with his role and his record."

Whoops.  A mild-to-moderate version of presto-change-o, right before your eyes. 

But, with the kind of pressure Booker must be getting from Obama & Co., you can bet that he will be, let us say, encouraged, to make that criticism more and more strident in the near future.

Too bad. 

Look, I don't blame Cory Booker for caving in to the Obama forces.  He is a Democrat, Barack Obama is running for re-election and he is supporting Mr. Obama, not Romney.  In politics, you sometimes do what you have to do. 

But the tragedy here is that this was a shining opportunity for him to seize the opportunity and blast away from the partisan politics which chokes this country. By sticking to his guns, Cory Booker could have shown that he really means what he says, regardless of party considerations.  He could have put himself above the usual political BS and become not just a rising star, but a genuine presence in this country. 

That is why it hurts so much to have seen him back down this way.

Maybe next time....

Zeke .... .... .Enh ! It's just bisniss ... nuttin poisonal. .... .... .... Chicago politics (Happy St. Valentine's Day). ... ... .... (05/22/12)

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