The progressive and liberal onslaught against Cory Booker continues on Tuesday, after Booker made controversial comments on Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" when he railed against the prevalence of negative campaigning in the 2012 election. Booker condemned the rise of negative campaigning on both sides, castigating Republicans for again dredging up Jeremiah Wright to prove Obama is a "radical," while also chastising Democrats for attacking Romney's history with Bain Capital.
Yet Booker's remarks sparked instantaneous backlash from liberals, who felt the long-time Obama supporter undermined the President's campaign and fueled Romney's election chances. Indeed, Republicans like John McCain thanked Booker for "the straight talk" over Obama’s negative campaign, while the GOP launched an "I Stand With Cory" initiative praising him for defending private equity.
The reaction was so severe that Booker later walked back on his comments in a video to his social media followers, in which he tried to tone down his rhetoric and redouble his support for the Obama campaign.
Now, Think Progress has launched an investigation into Booker's past and found that Booker took more than $565,000 in campaign contributions from Bain Capital leaders for his 2002 campaign for mayor. According to ThinkProgress, "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."
In response, liberal commentator Chris Matthews has lashed out against Booker, saying the rising star of the Democratic party has committed an "act of sabotage" and a "betrayal" of President Obama. Matthews said, "I've never seen anything like what we saw on 'Meet the Press. It was an incredible 180 on everything the president stands for in this campaign," Matthews said. "I'll tell ya, it was astounding that they have listed this guy as a surrogate when he is intending to go on television and to trash everything Obama is making the case for."
I find liberal attacks against Cory Booker to be shameful, harming the credibility of progressives. As Andrew Hanson points out, "Booker is a rising star in the Democratic Party and disowning him for playing the “honest, centrist, above politics” role is a really poor political strategy. Democrats aren’t going to accomplish their goals by adopting the GOP’s small tent, Spanish Inquisition strategy — rejecting everyone who doesn’t toe the party line."
On Sunday, Booker rightly pointed out that one of the many dark sides of the rise in super PAC spending has been a surge of negative campaigning on both sides, which has been off-putting for the general public. The Obama campaign's continued attacks on private equity at large as a sign that Romney is disqualified for office have been desperate, just as Republicans' attempts to question Obama's past association with Jeremiah Wright have been pathetic.
Rather than attacking the messenger, Democrats should be rallying against the political system which Republicans have championed, which allows super PACs to spend wild on negative campaigning ads. Evidently, Ezra Klein and Van Jones understand this. Liberals should take note.
An urban mayor who nearly DIED saving neighbor from a fire, has earned right 2 demand integrity & courage from other leaders. @corybooker— Van Jones (@VanJones68) May 22, 2012
Would love it if @CoryBooker's recent tweets were revealed to be a meta commentary on the mindless loyalty expected from campaign surrogates— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) May 22, 2012