Do The Booker Backwalk!

Have you heard about the new dance craze sweeping the nation? It’s called the Cory Booker Backwalk, and it goes something like this:

1) Put your foot in your mouth. Do this by calling “nauseating” and “ridiculous” the completely legitimate questions being asked by the Obama campaign about Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital. Bain is a cornerstone of Romney’s message, so what makes the topic unsavory isn’t exactly clear. Maybe, like Steve Kornacki points out, Booker just doesn’t want to anger his many friends (and potential future friends, wink wink) in the finance sector.

2) Take your foot out of your mouth. Do this by frantically publishing a YouTube video intended to squish any notion that Booker would say such a silly thing. Call it a clarification, even if it’s essentially a complete reversal.

Got it? Good, because the Booker Backwalk is all over the news today, and you don’t want to miss out. His pals at Morning Joe think it’s no big deal and are holding out hope for another video of Booker and Christie running hand-in-hand through a meadow.  At CNN they have reported that Booker is “Backtracking Bigtime.” And Talking Points Memo is focusing more on how Booker’s gaffe/possible moment of too much candidness gives Republicans new ammo no matter how you slice it.

It’s interesting that coverage of this debacle casts Booker as a progressive Democrat. Think Progress, for example, calls Booker the “popular and progressive” mayor of Newark, even though Booker’s take on one of  the biggest issues of the day – education reform – is in square alignment with Republican governors like Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Mitch Daniels and Tom Corbett. Journalist Glen Ford has reported on Booker’s direct ties to the right’s agenda of privatization and union-busting. Just two weeks ago, Booker spoke at a pro-school voucher event sponsored by ALEC. Progressive?

Glen Ford doesn’t think so. In fact, Ford calls Booker “a major player in a huge historical saga in which the corporate right successfully bought its way deep into Black American politics.” That saga, argues Ford, is at the root of the current attack on public education in NJ and across the U.S. Watch and think:

Comments (24)

  1. brettski55

    Booker is certainly not a progressive and I would hardly call him a Democrat. I attended a pre-election breakfast hosted by the Passaic County Democratic organization a couple of years ago. There were speeches by several local prominent Democrats exhorting us to get out the vote. When it came to Booker, he took great pains to make sure that the word “Democrat” never passed his lips. His speech focused (not surprisingly) on himself. His support of “Mayor Mike” Bloomberg in the last NYC mayoral election is another shining example of putting himself above the party. He is a self aggrandizing dirtbag and certainly has done little or nothing to support our party. I hope he walks backwards right into Newark Bay.

  2. Nick Lento

    Cory Booker seemed like a real mensch, a good and decent Democrat….but after the way he’s become such buddies with Christie (who clearly shares the barely hidden Republican agenda to destroy the public school system and replace it with for profit/corporate schools)  and engaged in such conflict with the NJ ACLU

    I have to wonder if he’s not letting his ambitions for higher office cloud his judgement?  

    It’s great that he had the physical courage to heroically rescue a neighbor out of a burning building…..I wish he had the political courage to fully and enthusiastically support the President of the United States!

    Carrying water for Romney and giving Republicans ammunition is not what Democrats do!

    Booker is not a stupid person, he’s a clearly brilliant man…which is precisely why his actions lead me to wonder if he’s more interested in playing mugwump so he can someday run for governor or senator and have a “broad” appeal.

    Bain and Financial Industry Gave Over $565,000 To Newark Mayor Cory Booker For 2002 Campaign

    By Josh Israel on May 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Mayor Cory Booker (D-Newark, NJ)

    Yesterday, Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker (D) attacked the Obama campaign for making an issue of Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital during an appearance on Meet the Press. While the progressive leader later backed off the criticisms, Republicans have been quick to highlight his comments as an attack against the idea that scrutiny of Mitt Romney’s record as a businessman is fair game.

    A ThinkProgress examination of New Jersey campaign finance records for Booker’s first run for Mayor – back in 2002 – suggests a possible reason for his unease with attacks on Bain Capital and venture capital. They were among his earliest and most generous backers.

    Contributions to his 2002 campaign from venture capitalists, investors, and big Wall Street bankers brought him more than $115,000 for his 2002 campaign. Among those contributing to his campaign were John Connaughton ($2,000), Steve Pagliuca ($2,200), Jonathan Lavine ($1,000) – all of Bain Capital. While the forms are not totally clear, it appears the campaign raised less than $800,000 total, making this a significant percentage.

    He and his slate also jointly raised funds for the “Booker Team for Newark” joint committee. They received more than $450,000 for the 2002 campaign from the sector – including a pair of $15,400 contributions from Bain Capital Managing Directors Joshua Bekenstein and Mark Nunnelly. It appears that for the initial campaign and runoff, the slate raised less than $4 million – again making this a sizable chunk.

    In all – just in his first Mayoral run – Booker’s committees received more than $565,000 from the people he was defending. At least $36,000 of that came from folks at Romney’s old firm.

  3. Nick Lento

    …to “Democrats” like Booker.

    That’s what primaries are for.

    Simply being strategically to the left of Republicans/Christie isn’t nearly good enough.

    Obviously, a tall order.

    So long as money is the “mother’s milk of politics” the legalized bribery and de facto corruption remain the modus operandi.

    Something radically new and different is required to truly clean up and transform this mess.


  4. Nick Lento

    …..time to eat some serious crow and issue a sincere retraction…anything less aids and abets the Republican/Christie agenda.

  5. Cautious Man

    He  may have “nuked the fridge” on this one.  Either that, or he demonstrated that he’s “not ready for prime time.”

  6. Nick Lento

    Rachel’s intro was genius!   She showed how Republicans have shot themselves in the foot far worse without this kind of frenzy.  (The video link won’t be up for a few hours…)

    Then Booker comes on and says that he’s very upset by the Republican attempt to exploit his comments out of context…and goes on to say that he’s even more”turned on” and will work even harder “over the next six months” to make sure Obama wins.

    I hope the Obama campaign allows Booker to stay on board…this now makes Booker even more of an asset.

    Let’s face it, neither Obama or Booker are hard core progressives…..but they are a damned sight better than what the Republicans have to offer.

    So yes, I can and will suport “moderate” Democrats….but only in races where a progressive can’t win.

    Newark is a place where a solid talented progressive CAN win.   Booker was, and remains, a breath of fresh air compared to the previous mayor….but we in NJ deserve a MUCH more progressive Democratic party that is in line with what most people want…..and machine politics is the last thing most New Jerseyans want from EITHER party.

    As for who will be our next Senator or Governor…I still would prefer someone more progressive than Mr Booker…..but would vote for him against Christie any day.  We need to aim for the stars…and still be willing to be pragmatic as required.

  7. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Booker took money from Bain and then defends them against a Democratic president.  Not aware of Obama doing something similar.  Nor Obama supporting using public money for private and religious schools.  Nor appearing before an ALEC sponsored group.  Nor being an ally of Chris Christie’s.

  8. Erik Preuss

    To Booker’s comments.  Did he do the Obama campaign or Democrats any favors? No.  But at the same time I don’t believe that he made those comments with the intent of torpedoing Obama’s campaign.  All politicians occasionally have gaffes…does anyone remember the “stick to guns and religion” line from Obama in 2008?  It’s part of the game, getting mad and slandering Booker won’t make that comment go away nor will it increase the chance that we find a better candidate to face Christie in 13′.

    I don’t disagree that Booker is not a “true progressive.”  At the same time he isn’t conservative either.  I’m much less concerned with getting progressives into office than I am with getting idiots like Christie out of office.  I agree with Nick completely that right now it is much more important that we be pragmatic than worry whether or not Booker has the exact same ideology that the vast majority of us do.  

    The bottom line is Booker isn’t too progressive, he didn’t do Obama or the party as a whole any favors on Sunday, and yes he has taken corporate money (what major politician hasn’t?).  But at the end of the day we need to recognize that he’s not a bad guy and he is still gives NJ Democrats the best chance to beat Christie in 13′.

  9. kellypage

    On all, but maybe a few, issues that I care about, Booker is as bad as Christie.

    All this episode did was open more people’s eyes to Cory’s policies. And, for that I am glad.


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