Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital is one of the few quantifiable ways voters can see how he intends to approach employment issues and corporations, and the Obama campaign has done a terrific job of pointing out the "vulture capitalist" Romney so desperately tries to hide. In fact, they launched a new website this week highlighting the swath of devastation Romney left behind. It gives details about the different companies they stripped of all assets in order to maximize profit to investors.
Also this week, Joe Biden gave a speech where he was on fire -- as on fire as I've ever heard him -- about the differences between the middle class and the 1 percent and why Romney's Bain Capital profit model was guaranteed to benefit only the rich while further destroying the middle class and leaving them farther behind. It was a speech for the ages. It also had Republicans on the run, scurrying to counter the message in the Wall Street Journal and wherever else they could spread the word.
So this morning on Meet the Press Mayor Cory Booker just managed to undo all of that work with a few measured sentences. Start at about 5:31 of the video clip embedded above and watch until you hear Booker tell the panel that he's "uncomfortable" with the attacks on private equity. Via TPM:
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday, Newark Mayor and Obama bundler Cory Booker said he was “uncomfortable” with the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s career with Bain Capital.
“It’s a distraction from the real issues,” Booker said, of both attacks on Bain and Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “It’s either gonna be a small campaign about this crap, or it’s gonna be a big campaign about the issues the American public cares about.”
“I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” Booker added. “If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses — to grow businesses. And this to me, I’m very uncomfortable.”
Well, Mayor Booker. Thank you so much for that false equivalence. The Bain Capital issues strike right at the heart of what this campaign is about. Are we a country of financialists or a country of opportunity and growth for the middle class? Is the goal to maximize profit at the expense of workers or is the goal to simply strip the value from companies in order to reward the private equity investors.
To be clear, there is absolutely no equivalence between the bogus Reverend Wright revival and Romney's actions while at Bain Capital.
If Romney can't be criticized for his vulture capitalism and we can't "indict" private equity then what does he think this campaign should be about? The deficit? Some abstract notions of "jobs" and "the economy" without any reference to the fact that it was the financial sector and "private equity" that caused this situation in the first place? Sounds perfect. For Wall Street.
Sadly, this is exactly the kind of concern trolling that will make the Village declare that the Democrats are hitting below the belt by criticizing Bain Capital and the Dems will fall in line. Indeed, the fact that it's Cory Booker who's saying it today indicates that it's the Democrats themselves saying "stop us before we hurt the Masters of the Universe's feelings again."
Yes, this. Exactly this. Already the RNC has popped out with their version of "even Democrats agree with us" on this issue, thanks to the careless remarks of Mayor Booker, and even though he attempted a halfhearted walkback via Twitter, he did a terrific job of stepping on the success of last week's campaign messaging.
Please, politicians. Stop being so darn polite on these shows. Stop assuming that people like David Gregory will actually try to insert facts into factless discussions. Bain Capital and Romney's conduct while there is absolutely relevant to this election and no one should think otherwise.
Update: Mayor Booker responds to the criticism: