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Saturday, September 29, 2012

If You Live in Seattle, Cory Booker Probably Made a Personal Appearance in Your Living Room Today

Posted by on Sat, Sep 29, 2012 at 12:22 AM


I kept running into people on the streets of Seattle all day long who were on their way to see Cory Booker speak, and it seemed like all those people were going to see Booker at different events.The mayor of Newark was making appearances all around town. He was the keynote speaker at the Plymouth Housing Group's luncheon at the Westin. After he booked that event, the requests for speeches started flooding in. I caught my Booker speech at the Washington State Democrats office at 901 Rainier Ave S. Dozens of Obama campaign volunteers gathered in the main front room to hear Booker speak about voter fraud, about Election Day numbers, and about the chances that Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016.

And it's no surprise why all these folks turned out: As I've noted multiple times before on this blog, Booker's a great speaker. He packs his speeches full of corny jokes—every time I've seen him speak, he's made a reference to spending time with his good friends "Ben and Jerry"—and catchy lines, and lots of optimism. "When I get around groups like this," Booker said, gesticulating out to the crowd of Obama volunteers, "I get jazzed up." Patriotism, he told them, is demonstrated by "your actions, not your words," and he admonished the volunteers that everyone alive in America now should know that they "eat lavishly at banquet tables" prepared by "your ancestors." That kind of thing. It was just the kind of energizing talk that a room full of people making calls and knocking on doors in their free time needed to hear; Booker worked them into a lather, and he seemed to feed on their enthusiasm as he went along.

But I always get a little itchy when Booker starts in on his bipartisan talk. It's what got him in trouble earlier this year, this impulse to not mention a flaw in Republican thought without marking an equal flaw on the Democratic side. He gives out compliments in much the same way, too. Today, he said Mitt Romney is a good man, and that "anybody who puts themselves up for that kind of scrutiny" by running a presidential campaign, deserves our respect. (What about the topics, like his tax returns, that Romney refuses to put up for our scrutiny? Is he really such a good man, in light of his 47% speech?) Booker always returns to the rah-rah party talk in a very convincing manner—"We know we have the better candidates," he says, and "we outnumber our opponents by a lot, actually"—but it seems that he always has to make amends with the other side first. But when the other side, as he suggested in his speech today, is so far to the right that the kind of Republicans Booker cites as the good ones—Snowe, Lugar, Kemp—are considered to be too liberal for the party, is that kind of centrism really helpful? Apparently, Booker believes so.

The best portion of the afternoon was the Q&A, in which volunteers asked Booker what he thought Republicans would do after the election. "When I watched the Republican primary, I felt sad. After they lose this election," Booker said, he hopes that the party comes back from the brink that the tea party has driven them to. Many of the volunteers were concerned about Republican-inspired voting restrictions. "This is a primary concern of the [Democratic] campaign," Booker said. Challenges to those ID laws are in force, and people will be on the ground to make sure every vote is counted. "We have lots of lawyers," he said, before he practically promised a questioner, "if we lose this election, it will not be due to voter suppression."

When answering a question about Bill Clinton, Booker all but threw his support behind Hillary Clinton. "I'm already starting to put my bets down on a certain lady in 2016," he said, to great enthusiasm in the room. One of the qualities that makes Booker such a popular speaker in this part of the country is his willingness to unabashedly cheerlead for the rights of women and marriage equality. Every time I've seen him speak, he always makes a compelling case for gay marriage, and he's one of the greatest advocates Planned Parenthood's got. I would go so far as to classify him as an out-and-out feminist. When the crowd finished a line from the Torah that Booker was quoting, he seemed impressed, because "people say Seattle is a godless place." Not so, someone in the audience said, adding that you can feel God everywhere in Seattle because "She's alive here." "She certainly is," Booker laughed.


Comments (9) RSS

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Sounds like he is running for 2016 himself, paying lip service to a Clinton run. But what the hell was he doing in my living room while I was stuck in fucking Yakima? My wife better have a good answer.
Posted by dbgill56 on September 29, 2012 at 3:49 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 2
Bipartisanship worked out so well for Obama his first two years in the White House. I mean look...we decided not to prosecute war criminals or crooked bankers and we got Bob Dole's plan for health insurance reform. And that's being celebrated as some sort of progressive victory on Slog. And hell, the banks got one of their own lawyers on the Supreme Court!

Sorry Cory, take your "bipartisanship talk" and shove it up your ass. The Republicans need to be treated like the sick rapists and child molesters that they are. This kissing up to them (when they are losing elections or don't hold majorities in Congress) if destroying the middle class.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on September 29, 2012 at 4:57 AM · Report this
If they should lose, and that includes 'if they should lose badly', they will still be backed by the same powers and principalities that have been backing them, pushing teabaggery, and generally defending the banks of the Money the party will be pushed to decide that it lost because they were not Marketolatrous and theocratic and militarist enough.

They will get worse and worse, until eventually events and inevitable Democratic mistakes give them the country.
Posted by Gerald Fnord on September 29, 2012 at 6:01 AM · Report this
Cory Booker is a whore for sale to the highest bidder. When the big money stops throwing money at the Republicans because the Republicans have gotten too crazy, Cory will be first in line with his hand out. We can see this in his support for charter schools, and in the big money that the hedge fund and private equity crowd is throwing at him.

In addition, what Cato said.
Posted by Fuck Cory Booker on September 29, 2012 at 6:44 AM · Report this
I want to like Cory Booker, but his words and his actions are not one and the same. While some of his social policies are very progressive, he's done other things - like pushing privatization of public services and public schools - that are right off the right wing's playbook.
Posted by StuckInUtah on September 29, 2012 at 7:42 AM · Report this
Asparagus! 6
What @5 said.

Cory Booker is a good speaker, but his politics are strikingly similar to Bloomberg.
Posted by Asparagus! on September 29, 2012 at 8:20 AM · Report this
His political career consists solely of being mayor and on the city council of some east coast shithole, but since he talks pretty people are already falling over themselves hoping he'll get the veep nod in 2016. Can we please fawn over someone who can get shit done instead of reenacting a Democratic Palin?
Posted by decidedlyodd on September 29, 2012 at 9:50 AM · Report this
I'm with @5. With his "Romney is a good man" schtick, Corey Booker is yet again demonstrating his inability to judge character. The 47% tape pretty much proved Slog right. Romney is a douchebag. If Booker hasn't figured that out yet, he's an asshole.
Posted by stating the obvious on September 29, 2012 at 1:19 PM · Report this
cressona 9
I'm glad Cato @2, StuckInUtah @5, Asparagus! @6, decidedlyodd @7, and stating the obvious @8 have beaten me to it.

Cory Booker is a personable guy, a good "Ellen" guest, but for those of us who want to see this nation move beyond the Bush-era crony capitalization where Wall Street sucks the productive energy out of the private sector, then this is a man to put at arm's length.

When Booker went on "Meet the Press" and tried to do the whole false equivalence thing about Democrats being just as bad as Republicans--when he had the nerve to attack the Obama campaign for its super PAC's anti-Bain ad--you were seeing the real Cory there.

Forgive me for gravitating to other Democratic politicians of African-American heritage, but these are the names that come to mind. Cory Booker is no Deval Patrick. He's really just another Harold Ford.
Posted by cressona on September 29, 2012 at 2:04 PM · Report this

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