The man best known to many for his heroics of saving his neighbor from a burning house is suffering a bit of difficulty in his attempt to save his reputation as a loyal liberal to the Democratic Party as well as his ability to serve as a surrogate for President Barack Obama. After his interview on Meet the Press with David Gregory, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker is trying do defend his self from his self. During the interview early Sunday, Mr. Booker said that he was interested in trying to indict private equity at this time where in America where so many pension funds, unions and others are investing in companies like Bain Capital that have done a lot to support and grow businesses.
According to Mr. Booker, or at least according to what he said during the interview, the attacks against private equity equate to the attempt to once again inject Reverend Jeremiah Wright as an issue in the political race. Mr. Booker said that he found both issues nauseating and wants both sides of the political aisle to stop.
In many respects, Mr. Booker sounds a little like former presidential contender Rick Santorum. In a fit of political passion Mr. Santorum was inspired to sharpen his appeal to the conservative base by saying that former President John F. Kennedy’s speech on the separation of church and state makes him want to throw up it was so disgusting. While his statement may have won him applause amongst his immediate audience at the time, many people from a much larger and wider political audience found Mr. Santorum’s statement about the beloved JFK disturbing and drilled him to explain himself. And Mr. Santorum tried. But whether or not it was a direct result of the resulting controversy, Mr. Santorum’s bid for the presidency began to peter out and he fell by the wayside, the last real impediment to Mitt Romney becoming the Republican’s nominee to be President.
Although it’s a different script, the play still appears to be the same. Mr. Booker wants to earn points for his own political goals. In a sharply partisan political environment, Mr. Booker wants to make his self more appealing to people on both sides of the political aisle by taking the leadership of both political sides to the tool shed. It’s a maneuver worthy of Mr. Obama his self who early in his presidency made the political calculation that it would be more advantageous to alienate his political base in an attempt to win more favor with the conservatives who would prefer to see Mr. Obama as an illegal alien with a fake birth certificate than as the rightful President of the United States.
Now Mr. Obama is trying to win reelection based on his record as President. But with his record of ceding so much of his political beliefs in order to try and compromise with people who swore never to compromise with him, Mr. Obama doesn’t look as strong as he could have been in his bid for a second term. His opponents did a lot to make him look as ineffective as possible.
Mr. Romney knows this and is hitting Mr. Obama where it hurts the most. Mr. Romney claims that Mr. Obama has been unsuccessful in his attempt to lead the country out of the recession that resulted during Mr. Obama’s predecessor, President George Bush, Jr. Mr. Romney says that by returning to the national economic policies that helped to cause the recession in the first place is his plan to get the country out of the recession for good. That sounds a lot like putting out a gasoline fire by throwing gasoline on it.
But Mr. Romney is a financially successful business man who in some circles is estimated to be worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars. As an executive with Bain Capital, Mr. Romney says he has the business acumen to be a President that would create the policies that would result in jobs across the nation, even though as the Governor of Massachusetts his record of job creation placed that state at the bottom of the list ranking states by the number of jobs created.
Mr. Obama’s reelection campaign counters that while it may be financially successful Bain Capital was not and is not in the business of creating jobs. Bain Capital exists to create wealth for its investors. If that company can create wealth by cutting jobs, then Bain Capital will cut jobs and fire people in order to create value for its investors. If Mr. Romney is going to claim that he created jobs as an executive with the private equity firm, then the flipside of that coin, his record as a job destroyer, is part of the equation as to whether or not Mr. Romney has the experience to create jobs as he claims.
Mr. Booker equated the examination of Mr. Romney’s record as a job destroyer as an indictment of private equity. Mr. Booker then equated the examination of Mr. Romney’s record as a job destroyer to the political strategy of making Mr. Obama’s relationship with Reverend Wright an issue in the bid for the presidency. The Reverend Wright affair was settled in the last rounds of presidential campaigning that took place four years ago. Mr. Obama addressed it and for most people it is no longer an issue. But for some people who refuse to accept Mr. Obama as anything legitimate, it ranks right up there with where’s the birth certificate. And while kicking that sleeping dog might be disgusting with its racially prejudiced implications, it hardly exists at the same level as carefully examining both sides of Mr. Romney’s record offered as proof of his presidential suitability by none other than Mr. Romney his self.
As a surrogate for Mr. Obama, Mr. Booker should have understood the difference between these two issues. By blending the two into the same nauseating group, Mr. Booker has given some credence to Mr. Romney’s assertion that the examination of his record for any inconsistencies with his job creation claims should be off limits.
Mr. Romney’s supporters have built an advertisement around Mr. Booker’s statements. The pro Romney advertisement asks the question, do you know what Mr. Obama does with people who stand up for job creators. The advertisement then answers, he silences them and tells people to sign the petition, I stand with Cory Booker. The surrogate for President Obama has at least for the moment become the surrogate for Mr. Obama’s opponents. That’s got to be embarrassing.
Mr. Booker hates the fact that his own words are being used against his the man that he suppose to be supporting. When asked, he said that the new Republican slogan had and his entire staff fit to be tied. He now says that Mr. Romney’s supporters have turned him on to work harder for Mr. Obama all the way through Election Day. He promises that people will hear a lot from him. But if his statements Sunday morning are any indication, Mr. Booker might be more helpful if he simply said nothing.