On Rachel Maddow, Cory Booker backed Obama, blamed the GOP, and more interestingly, implicitly stood behind Bain.
Here’s the video from MSNBC:
Mayor Booker stuck by Obama, but most interestingly also implicitly stood with Bain,
The reality is the Barack Obama team in the White House and their political team have been good to me for many many years. I’ve worked with them early in the primaries in the last election. They have never pressured me to do anything. They’ve done nothing but encourage me, and in this case in particular, I certainly did talk with campaign officials, but they didn’t force me to do anything. They had good conversations with me and after having conversations with them, especially after hearing the president’s remarks on this issue where he was not condemning all of private equity. He was not condemning any particular firms. He was focusing in on a guy who’s bragging about his job creation record. To me, I think that’s fair game. All of those things make me say you know what? I need to go on and clarify, because obviously I did things in the Meet The Press interview as I told you that did not land the points that I was trying to make.
And in some ways, frustratingly, I think I conflated the attacks that the Republicans were making with Jeremiah Wright with some of the attacks on the left, and those can’t even be equated. The noxious nature of some of the attacks that we’ve seen to be going on our president, where you poll many people in the GOP who still believe he is a secret Muslim and these other things. It’s gotten so ridiculous. You can’t even equate the negativity on the right with what’s happening by some sectors on the left.
What Mayor Booker was saying was that he is a hardcore progressive who supports Obama, but he also is like many other politicians in his region, dependent on political contributions from Wall Street and the financial sector for his campaign war chest. According to Think Progress, back in 2002 Booker and his fundraising committees received $565,000 from venture capitalists, investors, and Wall Street bankers. Bain donated $36,000 to Booker.
This explains Booker’s suddenly being fine with Obama’s ad because it did not attack “private equity or any particular firms.” Booker thought the ad was an attack on Bain, which explains his negative reaction on Meet The Press. Mayor Booker was ready to stand with the Obama, but not at the cost of losing his campaign cash cow.
Booker than tried to claim that he conflated the Bain ad with the right’s obsession with Rev. Wright. On one level he could have been expressing his disgust with negative campaigning, but in order to conflate Wright and Bain, Booker would have to subscribe at some level subconscious or otherwise to the theory that corporations are people.
Cory Booker is textbook example of insidious nature of our campaign financing system and the influence of corporate dollars. The mayor is widely viewed as a Democratic Party rising star. He is a hardcore progressive, but he also takes Wall Street dollars. People who want to drum Cory Booker out of the Democratic Party are missing the bigger point.
If the Democrats were to drum every elected official and candidate out of the party who took corporate money (Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, etc.), there wouldn’t be any Democrats left. Both sides take corporate money, but the Republicans are the party who carry out and cherish an overtly pro-corporate agenda.
Cory Booker is a good mayor, but when he perceived a choice between supporting his party and his campaign finance mechanism, he took the money. The choice Booker made on Meet The Press is reflective of the poisoned state of our politics. If you want good progressives like Cory Booker to stop defending Bain, get the corporate money out of our electoral system.
Until elections are publicly funded and the corporate money is gone, our democracy will never truly belong to the people.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association