I’m a Progressive. And I Support Cory Booker.

I’m a Progressive. I worked on Rush Holt’s Senate campaign. And I have problems with Cory Booker’s position on several issues, including education and Wall Street finances. But I will work to get Cory Booker elected. I won’t fall for the stunt that some have suggested of voting for Lonegan in false hopes that Booker will be defeated and a more progressive candidate will rise from the ashes next year.

Suppose that Rush Holt had managed to pull off a minor miracle and had defeated Booker last week. Progressives would expect that all Democrats would rally around Holt and work to get him in the Senate. Any movement by more conservative Democrats to elect Lonegan in hopes of getting a machine Democrat elected in 2014 would be greeted by us with scorn. If a Progressive decides to challenge Booker in 2014, I’d probably support him or her, but if Booker prevails (and hasn’t jumped the shark with his coddling of Wall Street), I’d support him at that time.

Part of the success of the Tea Party movement is due to the fact that they have been working on their draconian agenda for decades. They understand that instant gratification is not something that comes easily in politics. If Progressives want to counter the Tea Party movement, we too need to make this a long-term initiative. Defeating or even wounding Booker is counterproductive.

Cory Booker is no Frank Lautenberg, but he’s our nominee nevertheless. We need to work with him to support him on issues with which we agree and lobby him where we think he is on the wrong side. It won’t change him overnight. It may never change his views on issues like education. But if we don’t work with him to show him the correct path, who will?

We can’t criticize the traitors in the Democratic Party who support Chris Christie while at the same time dismiss our Senate candidate. Whether Booker won on style or substance is not an issue. He’s going to be our senator, and we need to help him move in the right direction.

Comments (22)

  1. toaonua
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  2. 12mileseastofTrenton
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  3. Bill Orr

    He is not everything I would want, but he is our candidate and will vote progressively on most issues. He has the ability to bring home the bacon to a state which gets little back from the federal government. I will support him.

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  4. Rosi Efthim

    Cory wasn’t my #1 pick, and I have longstanding ties to both Rush Holt (my former boss) and Frank Pallone (DFA-NJ’s honorary Chair its first year) and appreciation for Sheila Oliver. But I saw both positives and negatives in each of the candidates.

    And I see positives in Cory Booker. This is no back-bencher, and I have faith in him as an advocate (though we don’t always advocate for the same things).

    This is grown-ass politics. The other semi-viable choice is Steve Lonegan. This is an easy choice. But Booker should want more from us than our vote.

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  5. Erik Preuss

    Great Diary!

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  6. Jersey Jazzman

    It will fit comfortably over my nose as I pull the lever for Booker.

    Of course I support him. The alternative is unthinkable. But it would sure be nice if he could acknowledge the base of his party now and then…

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  7. sayitaintso

    a lot on Candidate Booker’s support  for Candidate Buono…

    bipartisanship is just not my issue

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  8. Momotombo

    But will he come out and truly support our Democratic candidate for Governor?

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  9. ken bank

    Like voting with Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms against his President and his Party in opposing the 1993 Defcit Reduction Act which raised taxes on the wealthy while reducing the deficit. DRA barely passed, and a few years later the Clinton Administration was generating budget surpluses for the first time in decades.

    DRA was one of the most important votes for progressives during the Clinton years, but even a Saint like Frank Lautenberg was just like any other politician when it came to putting expediency ahead of principle. Of course he faced a tough opponent for re-election the following year in Gasbag “Chuck” Haytaian, and in a year when the GOP swept both Houses of Congress to take control for the first time in decades. Lautenberg survived the onslaught, barely, and had he voted for DRA he likely would have lost.

    The point here is if we consign to political exile every Democrat who fails the progressive purity test because of a few votes or because they have a different opinion on one or two key issues, the only alternative will be Tea Party Nirvana.

    We have two choices. Our fear of Cory Booker, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg, or reality, which is Steve Lonegan and the Koch Brothers.

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  10. ben1204

    I think although he is a better choice than Steve Lonegan, he is still not a very good choice. It will be a ‘hold your nose’ vote (actually I will probably write him in).

    I don’t see a lot of special stances of his other than his socially progressive agenda, and that’s only part of the puzzle.  He flip-flopped on raising the retirement age for entitlement programs. He has yet to indicate support on a carbon tax or fracking ban. He is completely pro-wall street and pro-charter school.

    He is one of the faces of the new democratic party. Socially progressive, but fiscally moderate and more pro-business than I would like.

    But what also bothers me is his political animalness. He will do anything to get re-elected or move onto higher office, forget what doing the right thing means.

    I only volunteer for candidates in two scenarios 1.) If they have a great message I agree with (Rush Holt) 2.) If it is an election of dire straits (Obama in 2012)

    Booker falls into neither category. I barely support Cory Booker. But I am  wholeheartedly against the Steve Lonegan agenda.  

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  11. D36Dem

    I voted for Holt last week and will be voting for Booker in October and Buono in November.

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  12. PNolkan

    and vote for Booker. I supported Pallone and worked for him. If Holt had won I would have also worked for him, but I won’t work for Booker. Time to move on and work for Buono. At least I know where she stands on all issues!!!

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  13. 12mileseastofTrenton

    I don’t plan on voting for Booker.  That can change should Booker actually make (progressive) committments on various federal economic issues.  But he’s avoided doing so so far and I don’t expect him to change.

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  14. Stephen Yellin

    Especially this part:

    Part of the success of the Tea Party movement is due to the fact that they have been working on their draconian agenda for decades. They understand that instant gratification is not something that comes easily in politics. If Progressives want to counter the Tea Party movement, we too need to make this a long-term initiative. Defeating or even wounding Booker is counterproductive.

    I believed there’s a concept known as the “Overton Window”, which contains all ideological views that are sufficiently “mainstream” (as if on  left-to-right and top-to-bottom lines). It helps to explains just how dramatic  the right-wing shift in our national discourse (and policies) has been, and how long it took to get there.

    Most people don’t recall that, in the 1930s, FDR and the New Deal were the “3rd way” of our politics, between the repudiated conservatism of pre-Depression government, and the “soak the rich”, Popular Front-driven movements on the Left. That we had a “liberal consensus” after World War II was because the Left was marginalized by the Cold War, and conservatism had barely begun to peek its head above ground.

    The kind of policies and beliefs that belonged to the John Birchers and Ayn Rands of the world – far outside the mainstream in 1960 – are now standard orthodoxy in one of the 2 major parties. Their views are now firmly within the Overton Window, whereas American liberalism is on its periphery (or as with someone like Bernie Sanders, outside the window).

    If we want future Democratic US Senators to be New Deal liberals like Frank Lautenberg, we need to organize such efforts for the long term. It might not take us 30 years, as it did with William Buckley’s brand of conservativism – the country is far more receptive to New Deal economics than in pre-Great Recession times – but it’s going to take time.  

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  15. Liberals_4_Lonegan

    We absolutely can criticize the traitors in the Democratic Party who support Chris Christie and at the same time dismiss Cory Booker, who represents the latest and greatest threat to progressive politics as we know it.  We owe nothing to the Democratic Party or its candidates, except those who share our values.

    Bill Clinton’s presidency pushed the Democratic Party rightward and Barack Obama’s presidency has done the same.  But Cory Booker has the potential to do far more damage to the party’s commitment to progressive values than either President put together.  If he becomes Senator, he will probably not run for President until 2020 or 2024, which will give him a lot of time to travel the country and help to elect Democrats who share his values.  It is very likely that he will effectively change the nature of partisan politics as we know it.

    At the same time that the Republican Party is being ripped to shreds between its conservative and libertarian wings, Booker will have a similar impact on the Democratic Party, severing the bonds that exist both within organized labor between the private sector and public sector unions and between organized labor and social justice progressives.

    There is nothing that you or any progressive can do that will change Cory Booker overnight or ever.  He is bought and paid for by Silicon Valley, which is heavily invested in corporate education reform, and Wall Street.  He might be able to frame his rhetoric in such a way that will mollify you and make you feel as if you had an impact on him, but he will continue to be a terribly negative influence on the ideological direction of the Democratic Party.

    The fact of the matter, deciminyan, is that the only way that progressives can ever reclaim our party and make it what it was before Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Cory Booker pulled it as far to the right as they have, is to declare the same kind of civil war within the Democratic Party that the Tea Party movement has declared within the Republican Party.

    Well before Democratic electeds started endorsing Christie, the Democratic establishment has been actively working against progressive Democratic candidates in general elections.  The Union County Democrats threw Maryanne Connelly under the bus in 2000 after she defeated their handpicked Congressional candidate, enabling Mike Ferguson to win an open seat.  Ray Lesniak, the boss of that same political machine, undermined Linda Stender on behalf of his former State Senate colleague, Leonard Lance.  Operatives within the Democratic establishment went out of their way to try to discredit Marie Corfield’s candidacy last year, especially because she had a very good chance of winning, simply because they didn’t want to have to spend money in LD16 this year.

    How many times does Lucy (aka the Democratic establishment) have to pull the football away at the last minute, Charlie Brown, before you stop trying to play her game her way, and kick her in the teeth instead?  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity.  When are progressives going to stop being insane and start being as ruthless as our adversaries in both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party?

    Reply

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