A Contentious Conversation With Cory Booker On Twitter Over Bain Capital
By Jack Kelly
As the Presidential campaign has began in earnest, with President Obama hammering Governor Romney over his connection to his prior employer Bain Capital, a private equity firm, many of his fellow Democrats have come under fire. The reason for this is quite simple; some democrats such as Deval Patrick and Cory Booker previously stated, quite strongly that attacks against Governor Romney over his lengthy ties to the private equity market, were a net negative against the President. Their interpreted belief by this author was the attacks were a strategic blunder and would eventually, harm the President. Several political observers, who are not privileged enough to engage with top level financial power players like Governor Patrick and Mayor Booker, understood the angsts’ of average voters residing in the struggling middle class. These voters, contrary to the belief of high level insiders from both parties, look quite unfavorably on the financial system as a whole and do not like conditional benefits of the privaleged private equity market such as outsourcing.
With this knowledge in mind, the attacks against Governor Romney over his ties to Bain Capital have been effective, (Duh) and subsequently, Mayor Cory Booker has received some criticism over his past statements on Meet The Press where he stated the President’s attacks against Romney’s private equity record were “nauseating.” Well, Mayor Booker and other high profile democrats were dead wrong, as many of us ‘normal’ people in the trenches believed them to be. This has prompted Mayor Booker to defend himself and offer ‘spin’ as to what his misinterpreted meaning truly was. Mayor Booker has tried to insinuate that his comments simply meant that he wished to offer a political philosophy of bipartisanism and his comments were an over arching defense of such high ideals.
If this were the actual purpose, then Mayor Booker and myself would be in agreement. I wish and would demand, if I were in such a position, the same and believe the constant bickering on both sides is killing our country. However, with all due respect to the Mayor, I simply do not believe him that ‘bipartisanship’ was the intent of his comments.
So, on July 13, 2012 at 7:40pm, I responded to a tweet sent out by Politico reporter Alex Burns that stated “Where are they now: Cory Booker.” This prompted me to respond as follows:
“Looks like @CoryBooker was dead wrong on Bain right @CoffeewCaesar?”
Like Alex Burns, I was suggesting Mayor Booker had calculated that the Bain attacks would backfire on the President, but since they have proven to be effective, the Mayor was wrong in his original analysis. Well, later that night, I received a DM (Direct Message) from Mayor Booker. The Mayor harshly criticized my perception of his comments on MTP. He tried, as he had before on various other TV programs such as Rachel Maddow, to explain that his comments were more about rising above “petty politics” and ‘preached to me’ that we need to reach accord on higher idealistic governmental concepts. All well and good, only Booker, with all due respect, did not mean it in such a way. He meant it exactly how it has been portrayed. He simply felt it was a bad political strategy and from his own personal perspective, (or political interest) he has a lot of friends in private equity and he did not want to upset them. Plain and simple!
So, here is what Mayor Booker sent me via Twitter’s Direct Messaging tool. And for those unfamiliar with Twitter, Direct Messaging is simply a private message sent to other Twitter users that is not public. Think of it like a text message or an email.
So, below is the DM Mayor Booker sent me:
“Dead wrong on Bain!? What do you really think I was saying. I really challenge you to go out and listen to the whole MTP interview before
you tweet so irresponsibly. I was talking about the add (which the NYTimes said had factual error) I was talking about the need for civility
in politics and that private equity as a whole isn’t a bad thing. I then went on to say in a number of appearances afterwards that it was
perfectly reasonable and right to explore Romney’s record at Bain. That he opened the door when he claimed to be a job provider and that
the Obama Campaign should bring light to HIS record there. I said that on Rachel Maddow, I said that on my own Youtube Video and even
talked about the incident on Jay Leno. So please sir, don’t mischaracterize my views. Romney’s Record at Bain is something I never defended
what I attacked is exactly what you seem to be doing, a political climate in which facts are subordinated to attacks, where we paint each
other with broad brushes obscuring the total truth. I sincerely wish you the best. I hope for both you and I that we encounter great grace
in the world and that we get better at extending that spirit and the spirit of kindness and understanding to others. May we both get better”
In all of these direct tweets, I tried to converse back with the Mayor but as a result of him not following me, I was prevented from doing so because of rules set in place by Twitter. However, on several occasions I tried to publicly tweet the Mayor about establishing a dialogue about these private messages he had sent to me, to no avail. Apparently, the Mayor was upset enough to send these tweets, but thought little enough of me to actually respond to some of his improper assertions about myself. I would like to state that I am a big fan of Mayor Booker and I am a strong democrat who served as a delegate for Hillary Clinton at the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver and was one of 5 members of the Massachusetts delegation to switch their vote for President Obama. In addition, I spent 5 years serving my community for Boston Mayor Tom Menino and uniquely understand, as does Mayor Booker that local governance is far more nuanced than national political discourse. But, I also see political spin for individual gain when I see it, as I have been guilty of this myself. Mayor Booker saw an opportunity to distance himself from things he felt may have hinderd his own personal ambitions and instinctively reacted to it and went off script while on MTP.
He should just admit it and move on and continue, like he has, to be a good surrogate for the President. As previously noted, I believe Mayor Booker can continue to ascend the political ladder and become/continue to be a good public servant.
But on this issue, you simply screwed up Cory, so just admit it buddy. It doesn’t make you a bad guy or bad Mayor.
O, BTW, I would still love to chat brother,
so “Tweet” me up @Jackkelly111!
Stay Thirsty My Friend