Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J., in his appearance on last Sunday's "Meet the Press," said he was nauseated by the attacks on private capital. He said Mitt Romney's firm, Bain Capital, "has done a lot of good." He added that he was sick of all the political attacks, "Stop the attacks on Jeremiah Wright and stop attacking Bain Capital," he demanded.
Frankly that comparison made me sick.
Everybody knows that the Republicans used Rev. Wright to stoke the fires of racism and division in order to try to defeat Obama in 2008. They are planning to open up a new attack campaign using the Wright issue for this year's election. I agree this racist manipulation of the voters should be stopped.
On the other hand, Booker knows that Romney is playing the race and class card when he says that because of his experience in the private sector he knows how to create jobs and Obama doesn't. This is Romney's core argument. This is why he thinks he should be president. The fact is that his company destroyed a whole lot of jobs too and what it mainly created was huge profits and great personal wealth for him. Which is what firms like Bain Capital do. If the Democrats can't criticize what Romney did at Bain it will be very difficult to defeat him. They have to take on and defeat Romney's core argument if they are to win.
Booker was so openly critical of Obama on "Meet the Press" that David Gregory, the show's host, had to assure his viewers that Booker was a supporter of the president.
The Republicans immediately took Booker's remarks and turned them into an ad for Romney. There was a huge outcry against Booker who then tried to backtrack on his statement.
Obama refused to retreat from his criticism of Bain, in fact, and made the point that Romney's ability to make maximum profits in the private sector does not qualify him to be president. Obama pointed out that the president has to take into account the general welfare of all the people. Romney's profits-before-people approach is what has brought on the severe crisis we are now experiencing.
You can't blame the biggest economic crisis since the 1930s on Rev. Wright. A lot of people understand that the 1percent got rich from exporting our jobs, from war and from manipulating the financial markets. That's why a majority want to curb the power and increase the taxes of the super-rich.
Mayor Booker may have burned a very big bridge this time. He is in effect waving the flag of surrender in the face of the Republicans, who are using this election to qualitatively set back the democratic rights and economic well being of the working class and racial minorities.
Why is Booker doing this? Why does he continually bow at the feet New Jersey's Republican blowhard Gov. Chris Christie every chance he gets? Many good-thinking people know that Booker has the possibility of running for the U.S. Senate and they believe he wants to assure the Wall Street big bucks folks that he's their guy. Booker is a good showman and he loves to play the one who's above it all, whose politics are neither left or right. For the mayor of Newark - a city going through particularly hard times - to surrender to the party of austerity for the workers and prosperity for the rich is shameful.
This time his fake neutrality may have cooked his goose politically.
This is not a time to make nice with the Republican menace. The unemployed, the dispossessed and evicted, the homeless and the bankrupt, the criminalized immigrants, the African American and Latino families that have lost virtually all of their hard-earned assets and are hungry and impoverished, the millions of vulnerable working families - all demand that politicians who say they are on their side show that they are by their actions.
Sam Webb, in a recent People's World article commenting on the huge $2 billion lost at JPMorgan Chase, made an important basic point that applies to the capitulation and vulnerablity of capitalist politicians. He wrote:
"... the struggle for minor and major financial/regulatory reform - not to mention turning Wall Street into a public democratically run utility - cannot be left to the politicians - even the best of them. It must become the business of an aroused people."
This election year and beyond, let the people continue to be aroused...
We must go forward.
Photo: Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker. Anne White CC 2.0