Cory Booker Was Right About Private Equity Firms, But You Were Too Stupid To Understand

It was revealed about a week ago by the New York Times, that Chicago Cubs owner John Ricketts, had a plan to spend up to $10 million in a negative ad campaign intended to smear Pres. Obama by reintroducing Rev. Jeremiah Wright. You know, Barack Obama’s radical preacher and the leader of the church where Obama sat in the pews for 20yrs, and listened to those crazy hate-filled sermons along with the occasional beheading of a white baby? Surely you remember him, right? Yeah, I know; it didn’t work in 2008, and I doubt it would’ve worked in 2012; but don’t tell that to a crazy old white man with tons of money who votes for Republican candidates; or, to the asshole Birthers willing to retread the racist tires of old. Yep, the old run and shoot-a-nigger playbook.

But as fate and convenience would have it, much to the disappointment of Sean Hannity and company at Fox News, Ricketts has since denounced any plans of resurfacing Rev. Jeremiah Wright. However, in speaking about negative campaign ads, Newark, NJ Mayor and self-avowed Obama campaign surrogate Cory Booker, has become the pariah of the week. Reminiscent of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his infamous, “God damned America,” 20 second soundbite of old, Booker expressed his disdain for the negative perception of Bain Capital cast by last week’s Obama campaign ad targeted at the GOP’s presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, who touts his record as a businessman who was once the head of Boston-based private equity firm, Bain Capital.

So what did Booker actually say? Aside from baseless negative ads being “nauseating,” he pointed out just how beneficial private equity firms like Bain, have been to the city of Newark. Of course such a characterization of Bain is antithetical to the perception everyone has bought into, that Bain was an evil monster who frequently came down from the hills to eat working peasants. You know, the perception one develops after taking a look at Newt Gingrich’s, “When Mitt Romney Came To Town,” Republican primary campaign, thirty minute attack ad mini-movie thing-a-ma-jig?

My guess is that the Obama campaign had already made a conscious decision to hit Romney below the belt by continuing the “Bain is evil,” narrative, that has long existed in the anti-Romney playbook that goes back to Ted Kennedy. Yep, no harm no foul by bringing Bain into the mix and using them as Mitt Romney’s audition tape for the big leagues. However, like Cory Booker, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and now, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick: I find the egregious characterization of Bain to be problematic, especially for the Obama campaign’s re-election efforts. And why do I say that? Listen to the entire discussion as opposed to the silly media spin:

Now, after watching the entire exchange — not to mention the entire episode last Sunday — can you show me where Booker was off message, or attacked the Obama campaign as it’s being sold in the media? Nope, you can’t; but, if you still insist that he did, personally, I think you’re an idiot. Okay, so maybe not an idiot; but instead, easily influenced by the media and are unable to think critically about what Booker said on Meet The Press last Sunday. Which from my observation, many of my fellow Democrats and Liberals are reacting to this, much in the same way the typical  brainless-right-wing-acolyte and Fox News programmed tool would, to anything Obama says.

So why is Cory Booker and all Liberals who agree with him are saying he’s right? First of all, all politics are local; and, Cory Booker happens to be the mayor of a major U.S. city that’s seen it’s share of economic decline. If you don’t understand what it is to be a mayor, think back to New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin crying out for help from the federal government before and directly after his city was hit by Hurricane Katrina. Yep, most U.S. urban centers were hit by the wave of economic downturn much in the same way the 9th Ward in New Orleans were flooded after the levee broke. Though the overall economy has shown slow signs of improvement, mayors like Booker are daunted with the arduous task of making sacrifices to keep their respective cities afloat.

However, beyond the criticisms of Booker and his defense of Bain, what I found to be quite iroic, was the way Pres. Obama pulled Booker from under the bus; and, he carefully prefaced his answer on the subject of Bain when asked by uttering the following response in Chicago on Monday:

My view of private equity is that it is, it is set up to maximize profits and that is a healthy part of the free market, of course. That’s part of the role of a lot of business people. That is not unique to private equity. My representatives have said repeatedly and I will say today, I think there are folks who do good work in that area and there are times where they identify the capacity for the economy to create new jobs or new industries. But understand their priority is to maximize profits, and that is not always going to be good for communities or businesses or workers. — Pres. Obama

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like an endorsement of the idea of Bain being a “vampire,” to me; and actually, as The Economist notes, it’s pretty clever. But then again, maybe Obama’s remark was carefully calculated for two reasons: 1) so as to not alienate potential independent voters who are actively engaged in the financial industry  as employees or investors, or 2) Obama is no stranger to accepting campaign contributions from private equity firms and entities with ties to Wall Street – heck, just about a week ago Obama attended a fundraiser at the home of Tony James, the CEO of the Blackstone Group, yet another private equity firm, that saw total contributions somewhere close to the $2.1 million mark. Which is funny, because I don’t hear any of my fellow Liberals chastising Obama for being a “sellout,” like they have Booker.

But no, instead there’s all this talk about money donated to Booker’s 2002 campaign by Bain Capital, and his Manhattan ties. However, the important thing to note, is that Booker broke no laws in taking campaign funds from Bain. More importantly and to the point he made on Meet The Press: the negative perception of Bain cast by the campaign ad can be problematic for Obama and Democrats in general. Again, this can potentially alienate undecided voters — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike — who represent the investment class, especially as Mitt continues to tout the “class warfare” meme, and the idea that Obama is down with punishing success by casting Bain in a negative light with his talk of fairness. Not a tough sell when you think about the fact that 78 percent of the companies Bain invested in became successful. Sure factories were closed, and yes people lost jobs; but, is it beyond reason given the companies total record that said factories and plants were doomed from the beginning?

Listen, in my humble and unprofessional opinion, a more effective strategy for the Obama campaign, would be to hit Romney where he’s most uncomfortable: his record as a “job creator” as Governor of Massachusetts. Sure Romney wants to tout his Bain record; but, fortunately for Obama his dismal record as Governor builds political capital in hopes of a reelection in this slowly recovering economy. Heck, let Romney lie talk about his Bain record. If he thinks that’s what it takes to be president, then so be it. The message war will be won if he is countered with the question: if Romney was such an effective “job creator” as seen at Bain, why then did Massachusetts go from 36th to 47th in the nation as far as job creation under Romney? A question you can bet he’d be as uncomfortable answering as he would about “Romneycare” being the template for “Obamacare”.

But hey, “nauseating” political campaign strategy aside. I’d like to congratulate the people on our side who have managed to revive Rev. Jeremiah Wright in the form of Cory Booker. Watching this all play out in the media this week, I can’t help but to be reminded of how much of what Wright said was taken out of context and twisted to advance a particular agenda. And what’s funny about it, is that back then, many of Obama’s supporters then like now, told Wright to shut the fuck up out of fear of Obama losing the election. Even funnier, was that those very same people, in no uncertain terms, all agreed that Rev. Wright was correct about much of what he said in his sermons.

But somehow someway, the “God damn America,” soundbite, that was originally delivered by a white reverend and repeated by Wright, made him a racist and self-serving idiot as he was thrown under the bus by loyal, but cowardly Obama supporters willing to attack Booker’s honest and principled position on private equity firms. However, it’s a damn shame when a Democrat catches hell for being honest about the influence of  money in politics, all because the media loves to see two black men duke it out on television. Yep, good job making Cory Booker the new Rev. Wright.