Political Animal


May 21, 2012 5:08 PM African-Americans For Private Equity

By Ed Kilgore

I swear I tried to ignore the Cory Booker “story” today, since I can’t really imagine why a toss-off comment defending private equity firms from a guy who may be running as a “centrist” for governor of a state that’s half in the New York media market is surprising or matters a whole lot. But then Harold Ford piled on, unfortunately playing to type, and apparently Team Mitt is talking about nothing else. Hell, the RNC, in a move that may not please Chris Christie, is circulating a “I stand with Corey!” petition.

Oh well. I know I’ve already quoted Dave Weigel once today, but he really does sum up the hypocrisy of the Romney camp on this manufactured story, and how silly the whole thing is:

Last week, as the Joe Ricketts/Jeremiah Wright storm raged around her, WaPo blogger/Romney sympathizer Jennifer Rubin called on the media to stop falling for the lastest campaign crap. “Unfortunately,” she wrote, “the way the media works, in herdlike fashion, as soon as a major outlet holds up the next ‘shiny object,’ other outlets follow suit. Well, the New York Times is covering it! News judgment goes out the window, and any sense of proportion fades not only for the outlet that first held up the ‘shiny object’ but for the whole news corps.”
My question: Does Bookergate qualify? The Romney campaign is spending all day “messaging” Cory Booker’s Meet the Press comments, raising the stakes with a profoundly dramatic video ad that’s intended to further the “Booker SLAMS Obama” story. Did you know that former congressman and frequent Morning Joe guest Harold Ford is a “key Obama supporter,” and not just a has-been now working for Merrill Lynch?

Hilarious. Next we will probably be told that the Booker/Ford one-two is an indication that Obama is alienating his African-American base, which is famously cozy with Bain Capital.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • SadOldVet on May 21, 2012 5:25 PM:

    Nice slam on Harold Ford. Wasn't he your boss at the DLC? Is there no loyalty among the DLC/DINO types?

    Harold Ford is a prime example of one of the 'house n!ggers' that Fox and the Corporately Owned Media roll out occasionally as an example of a 'liberal democrat' who is willing to side with the republicans.

  • Mimikatz on May 21, 2012 5:29 PM:

    Corey Booker and Harold Ford are both guys who take a lot of money from private equity firms. In fact I think Ford is employed by some financial firm now.

    Obama just gave a really good response to this in his news conference. He pointed out that Romney is NOT running on his time as Mass Governor, but on his business experience, which was all at Bain, so since it is Mitt's chief qualification, it is fair game. Then he explains that while the job of a private equity head is to make money for investors, the job of President is much bigger. The Pres has to think about all the people, including retraining for the ones who were laid off, a fair tax system, keeping communities vital etc. Making money for the investors is not what being Pres is about, and if Romeny thinks it is, he doesn't understand the job.

    I'd argue Romney does understand, but he intends to load the country up with debt, like he did at Bain and let the wealthy pull their meny out via tax cuts, then leave us with the husk.

  • TCinLA on May 21, 2012 5:42 PM:

    Can't Booker go jump in a burning building and stay there? Or maybe get back to polishing Christie's shoes, something he's good at?

    Further proof the Democrats are still the party of Will Rogers" "I'm not a member of any organized political party. I'm a Democrat."

  • Kathryn on May 21, 2012 5:51 PM:

    @ Mimikatz......Pres. Obama was excellent in his response, quite strong and a response that did not invite whiny follow up questions, really liked his demeanor and hope to see more of it. Meanwhile on MSMBC Chris Matthews is hysterical about the damage done by Booker. Got to say Booker's use of the word nauseating was nauseating and Harold Ford is a Democrat like I'm rapid Tea Partier, he's been off the reservation for a long time, a perfect guest for David Gregory.

  • elisabeth on May 21, 2012 6:13 PM:

    I agree with Kathryn, Chris Matthews was beyond hysterical -- it's sad that he couldn't find anything else to talk about (but I guess it's the NBC line, all hosts must talk about all other hosts' shows whenever possible). I was particularly annoyed that Matthews was so unwilling to hear Booker playing the "both sides do it" card. Not that it is a valid statement, but it does form the basis of what he might have been thinking as a guest, that he would be able to bring in some independents who are sick of both parties' practice of ignoring detailed policy discussion for broad brush character assassination.

  • schtick on May 21, 2012 6:46 PM:

    TCinLA, almost my train of thought, although I was going to say Booker is kissing Christie's skirts. I'm thinking Christie and Booker have got a deal going.

  • Joe Friday on May 21, 2012 7:01 PM:

    How the hell does the Obama campaign telling the truth about Bain get Booker seeing an attack on private equity ???

  • jjm on May 21, 2012 9:23 PM:

  • exlibra on May 22, 2012 1:49 AM:

    Don't know about Booker (I was, briefly, nauseated by his sycophantic little show, but then he backpedalled so fast, it hardly registered) but, Ford... Here's a guy who could serve as a creepy guide to English grammar as regards tenses and moods: had been a creep, has been a creep, was a creep, is a creep, will be a creep, would have been a creep... And I omitted gerundives on purpose, to save on electricity.

    Agree with Mimikatz, Kathryn and elisabeth about Obama's response: simple, lucid, forceful and to the point. And delivered without a teleprompter, too :)

  • Ron Byers on May 22, 2012 8:56 AM:

    Can we all agree that Harold Ford is now officially qualified to take Juan Williams job at the Fox Propaganda Channel.

    We are just entering the summer season. Nobody is paying close attention. Now is the time for subliminal branding. I have a hunch the Obama campaign will be smiling in a couple of weeks when they think of this little dust up. The President's campaign will stick to their attack. All anybody will think when they hear vulture capitalist will be Mitt Romney. When they hear Bain all they will think is Romney. The Cory Booker dustup is just another late Spring data point nobody will remember clearly, but lots of people will vaguely connect Cory Booker with Bain Capital and Mitt Romney with vulture capitalism.

    What is remarkable about all of this was the incredible performance of Chris Matthews to last evening. He was nothing short of hysterical. Does anybody on that show have any smarts?

    The big loser here is Cory Booker. Too bad. So sad.

  • roshan on May 22, 2012 10:31 AM:

    There are innumerable political class dems who actually favor the GOP 'the rich can't do nothing wrong' ideology. The echo chamber of the various pundits in the media is drowning with high praise for the rich. "Oh, they didn't seem it coming, no one could predict the crash" they say. The truth is that there is no one who can cross them and stay afloat. Not even Obama. They are going to throw the sink at him this time around.

    Booker is just another dem politician who thinks he can diss the democrats, the hippies, and still expect them to vote for him. It's nothing new. Republican pander to their base while Democrats kick theirs. Also, Booker knows it's easy to win using money power than people power.

  • N.Wells on May 22, 2012 10:40 AM:

    "Private equity" is not the way to talk about this. It's asset stripping, vulture capitalism, corporate theft, corporate piracy. Obama was very good on the job creation / job loss side, but I think he could make additional hay by emphasizing additional moral outrage that Romney's group not only invested $5 million in Ampad and destroyed the company and its jobs for $300 million profit, but at the same time they stiffed Ampad's creditors, who were owed $170 million but only received $330,000. A) No one likes deadbeats and welchers, but conservatives get especially steamed over that sort of thing. B) That rip-off represents a lot of needless and pointless misery and lay-offs beyond Ampad.

  • bluestatedon on May 22, 2012 1:29 PM:

    Booker revealed on Maddow that he's angry at the GOP for using his words against Obama.

    I guess he's the kind of dope who gives a loaded weapon to a career criminal and then is outraged and surprised that the thug uses it to rob him.

  • Slideguy on May 22, 2012 3:43 PM:

    This is a story because it's another example of Democrats going unnecessarily and cluelessly off message. Obama is not criticizing private equity. He's criticizing Romney's record, so Booker was defending against a criticism that the administration hadn't made. And in doing so, gave the Republicans ammunition.

    And going on Rachel to apologize is like pissing in the Atlantic. He should have gotten himself booked on all three network morning shows the next day and talked straight about it.

    What he's done is exposed his indebtedness to private equity, and given me suspicions that he'll be one more Democrat who is afraid to offend the people he like to go to work for when he leaves public office. Reference Bill Clinton, who sold out the poor with welfare "reform", and the middle class with NAFTA. Now he rakes it in by way of speaking fees, and hobnobs with the swells in Davos where he is offered investment opportunities that you and I will never see/

  • ozzy on May 23, 2012 3:23 AM:

    Booker gave himself away by saying he was an "independent democrat". Thats shorthand for an unprincipled whore who'll go into the tank for any republican "compromise" if he thinks it'll get him 2 percentage points in a statewide race.