Cory Booker was on Meet the Press Sunday, following his speech at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
For the most part, Booker spoke in broad themes, not entirely inconsistent with the tone of the program, where tenets of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington speech were examined by Rep. John Lewis and MLK III. But after a discussion of vast income inequality as the ‘lasting legacy of a dream unfulfilled,’ host David Gregory tried to bring discussion of poverty to the realities of the city Booker governs, and its 13-plus% unemployment rate. Why has he not been able to make progress? Booker shifted the discussion back to broad theme – “love multiplies and hate divides” – and credited cooperation with Chris Christie for what he says is the largest economic development period in Newark in a generation. Unprobed by Gregory was the question of why that hasn’t translated to new jobs for Newark people (or hasn’t yet), or the fact that our statewide jobless rate has been consistently high under Booker’s partner Christie, particularly compared to the states surrounding New Jersey.
Also unexplored by Gregory was the Christie connection in Booker’s next topic, the expensive and ineffective mass incarceration, which Booker says he has a program to deal with. But we know one of the big reasons for the prison boom is prison privatization and the opportunities for tycoons to make money by expanding. Some of those tycoons are the people who put Christie in power, like his best friend Bill Palatucci who until recently oversaw New Jersey’s problematic privatized halfway house system. Ah, but we were talking big themes and Kumbaya with Christie, not nasty old facts.
That said, the simple reality is that somebody like David Gregory is going to be more interested in broader themes, the newspeak of ‘bipartisanship’ and King’s legacy than in how things actually are here in Cory Booker’s launching pad city and state. And so it goes. Besides, the alternative is not only unthinkable, but ridiculous. And so, next up today is video of Booker’s opponent Steve “Charm Offensive” Lonegan, on UP with Steve Kornacki. [coming at 2:43pm]
Video after the jump.