Monday, May 21, 2012

Et Tu, Booker?

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So what do you make of Newark, New Jersey mayor /Obama spokesman Corey Booker calling ads which criticize Romney’s dealings with Bain “nauseating” and equating those ads with ads which were set to criticize former Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright? 

“Enough is enough,” Booker said. “Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright.”

He added: “I have to just say from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity. To me, it’s just 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.”

“Private equity!!??”  What was Booker thinking?  I realize that he has his own political ambitions, but would anyone trust him after blatantly stabbing his mentor in the back?  Does he really think the base would forget when the time comes to ask for their support?  Can he afford to look so self-serving, or is he banking on people’s forgetfulness? 

While I do think that Booker is relying on people’s forgetfulness, the base is what he has to be worried about.  Their memory is a lot longer than the average voter.  But perhaps in this post- Citizens United world, everyone has to suck up (even more) to where the money is.  Booker is just smart enough to realize this, but not smart enough to butt-kiss more subtly.

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Emily: He's now trying to walk it back, but I think you're right, I don't think it really works.  For one thing, it's too craven - I don't think it moves any long-term financial backers his way, but it still seems motivated by his own ambitions.  For another, as you say, the cost is too big: you can't walk back a video clip that fundamentally equates a valid, policy-driven set of ads that are useful to your side (a.k.a. the president) with a race-baiting strategy.  Seriously rookie mistake, from a promising and smart guy.

P.S. Downright painful interview with Booker on Maddow last night:

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