Cory Booker is not a Good Candidate

 

Too many Democrats are running for the nomination to take on and defeat Spanky McDotard in 2020. While I have no choice but to vote for whichever candidate has the ‘D’ next to their name in the general election, I do have a choice as to who that candidate will be. As of right now, there are some good choices and some awful choices.

A candidate like Tulsi Gabbard showed such poor judgement in the past that she’s irredeemable today. For instance, in the early 2000s Gabbard worked with The Alliance for Traditional Marriage – a PAC run by her father – that opposed pro-LGBT lawmakers and laws, and promoted conversion therapy. I sympathize with candidates whose views have evolved on the gay marriage since my own views have over time.

However I never supported or would support gay conversion therapy. It is cruel and inhumane. While she recently apologized for supporting such a wicked and stupid program, it’s an absolute deal breaker for me.

Gabbard was one of the first Democrats to meet with Trump after the 2016 Election (supposedly to influence his foreign policy). She did the same thing with Bashar al-Assad, the guy who gassed his own people. She did not join the 169 congressional Democrats who signed a letter of opposition to Steve Bannon’s appointment as Trump’s chief strategist.

More deal-breakers.

Gabbard also weighed in during the negotiations to end Trump’s government shutdown, blaming Democrats and Republicans for refusing to sit down together or give ground on some of their priorities.

“Both sides have completely hardened their positions and are unwilling to come together and work out the differences, and that’s the problem here,” Gabbard said. “Our federal employees and contractors and their families have gone far too long suffering as a result of this intransigence.”

Ah yes, both sides! Imagine if Pelosi took her advice.

Gabbard was also the first congresswoman to endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016. My opinions on Bernie Sanders are well known. He wants to win over Trump supporters. Personally, I don’t want those people in our coalition nor do we need them to win a presidential election.

It’s true that anyone is better than Trump, but that doesn’t mean we should just settle for any democrat in the primary. The country has moved leftward over the last two years and the party is energized and radicalized for the first time in ages. Let’s make hay while the sun is shining.

This is the most right wing administration in American history. It no longer makes sense to nominate Clinton centrist-types as we have for decades. The days of picking a democrat based on who moderate republicans will vote for are over.

The problems we face – from climate change to the wealth gap to gun violence epidemic to systematic disenfranchisement of minorities – are grave. The next Democratic president can not make the mistake President Obama did during his first year and a half in office. There can be no compromise with the forces of fascism.

Cory Booker, who announced his candidacy last week, is dead set on finding common ground with the GOP. Some people like Booker’s loquacious style. Some still buy into the notion that if democrats just tried a little bit harder to find compromise, the ship will right itself.

This view should be rejected.

I watched Booker’s two debates with a legally blind, extremist Tea Party goofball from 2013. His name is Steve Lonegan. He was out of step with most voters in the blue state of New Jersey. And yet, he was a strong candidate in a different kind of way. He had command of the facts, unflinching in his beliefs. And he was authentic.

What should have been a cakewalk for Booker turned out to be a race. A good candidate would have crushed this guy. Lonegan could have won if New Jersey was a purple state. I think the reason Lonegan did so well is because he didn’t come off like a typical Washington politician. Booker sounded rehearsed and phony.

This is the final debate against Lonegan. Go to about the 34 minute mark.

Booker was ill-prepared for Lonegan’s attacks. You can hear the crowd getting behind Lonegan by the end of this performance.

And it showed on Election Day. Yes, Booker won. But he performed poorly in a race where a good candidate would have obliterated Lonegan. I mean by over 20 points. Trump is similar to Lonegan except he has name recognition, money, and the advantage of incumbency.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s how New Jersey voted in the last three presidential elections:

2008

Barack Obama/Joe Biden      57.14%

John McCain/ Sarah Palin      41.61%

 

2012

Barack Obama/Joe Biden        58.38%

Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan            40.59%

 

2016

Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine             55.45%

Donald Trump/Mike Pence        41.35%

 

This is how New Jersey voted in the special election (that took place in the during a government shutdown that Ted Cruz instigated.

2013

(D) Cory Booker             740,742 votes          54.92%

(R) Steve Lonegan       593,684 votes          44.02%

 

The special election for Frank Lautenberg’s senate seat only sent Booker to Washington for a year before he had to run for re-election in 2014. His next opponent was a former Reagan speechwriter named Jeff Bell. Bell was not a Tea party wacko but at times it seemed like he didn’t want to win. Bell hadn’t even lived in New Jersey for 30 years! He was rumored to be running his campaign out of a hotel lobby!  Booker’s numbers were better than in 2013, but still nothing to brag about.

2014

(D) Cory Booker          1,043,866 votes         55.84%

(R) Jeff Bell                     791,297 votes             42.33%

 

You can’t blame Booker’s under-performance on race. Obama won the state by an average of 16.66 points. Hillary won the state by over 14 points. The man Booker replaced, Frank Lautenberg, cruised to re-election in 2008 by 14 points.

Bob Menendez, who’s as crooked as they come, won his 2012 election by a whopping 19.5 points. Menendez hung on to win by 11.2 points last year after a mistrial had been declared in his corruption trial.

So why don’t people in Booker’s own state like him very much? And what damaging stuff could come out if he were to somehow win the nomination for the 2020 Election?

Here’s Olivia Nuzzi, who covered his campaign in 2014 for the Daily Beast:

All the while, from 2006 to 2011, Booker was still receiving annual payments, which totaled close to $700,000, from his former law firm – Trenk, DiPasquale, Webster – from which he had resigned once elected mayor to avoid “the appearance of impropriety.” Booker’s campaign spokeswoman, Silvia Alvarez, told me: “He was paid out by the firm as part of his separation agreement for work he performed before he became mayor.” OK, sure, but while Booker was profiting from the firm, they were profiting from Newark: over $2 million in work for Newark’s Housing Authority, the Watershed Conservation Development Corporation, and a wastewater agency.

And:

Meanwhile, it looked as though Booker’s record in Newark might be catching up with him. As mayor, he presided over and strengthened the Newark Watershed Conservation Development Corporation – a publicly funded entity that managed the city’s reservoirs and treated water for its residents. Pretty boring stuff. But a state audit by the comptroller’s office found that the agency’s director, Linda Watkins-Brashear, a donor and close ally of Booker’s, was using the Watershed like her own personal bank account – paying herself $1.98 million over seven years, when her salary came to just $1.16 million. She also doled out millions in no-bid contracts to her friends and husband. Further, Booker’s former law partner, Elnardo Webster, had been acting as the Watershed’s counsel – and his firm had profited $212,318. “He had nothing to do with the business the firm conducted with the Watershed,” Booker’s spokeswoman, Silvia Alvarez, told me.

Uh, okay. So Booker is either corrupt as hell or incompetent. Very inspiring stuff there, Cory.

When asked yesterday whether he thinks any liberal initiatives can become law with the filibuster in place, Booker said yes, he sees ways to keep the filibuster AND meet the 60-vote threshold.

What the hell is he talking about?

A democrat will never get liberal legislation through the senate with the filibuster in place. That’s why Obama was reduced to signing executive orders once he lost control of the House and Senate.

The filibuster is one of the least democratic tools in place. It keeps real change from ever happening, and while it has benefited democrats in the past, it has become. The ‘tell’ is how Mitch McConnell, who cares nothing about norms or ethics, refused to get rid of it when Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress.

I don’t know if Booker is delusional or just naive, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s an empty suit and a walking platitude. Progressives finally have decent candidates who understand what’s up. We have the opportunity to take a left turn and start getting this country back on track. It would be foolish to think that candidate is Cory Booker.

Between the skeletons in his closet from his time as mayor of Newark and his tone deaf calls for compromise in the Age of Trump, Cory Booker is the wrong person to lead the Democratic Party. There are better choices.

Pay no attention to the flowery rhetoric. Look at his record. Watch what he does. We don’t need to settle for less.