I wasn’t going to comment on the story of Cory Booker stomping all over Barack Obama’s campaign strategy and practically throwing the election to the Republicans so let’s all just go home now (because everyone knows that Mayors of Newark have that kind of pull), but I feel I have to because practically everyone on the internet is getting it wrong. Let’s take a brief look at the statement in question (transcript here):

MAYOR BOOKER: But the last point I’ll make is this kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides. It’s nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity, stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff has got to stop because what it does is it undermines, to me, what this country should be focused on. It’s a distraction from the real issues. It’s either going to be a small campaign about this crap or it’s going to be a big campaign, in my opinion, about the issues that the American public cares about.

This is not seemingly a dig on Obama. It’s almost too vague for that. This is your boring-ass standard false equivalence. One can easily imagine a David Brooks or (especially) a Tom Friedman saying these exact words. Perhaps the most unremarkable statement ever uttered on a morning program that continually features such sentiments. There’s certainly a pro-Wall Street undertone to it, but in this quote it’s generic. At least, so it seems from a face value reading of the quote.

But there is a pretty serious problem here. See what it is? Barack Obama’s campaign has, in fact, attacked some of the job-closing antics of Bain Capital. Mitt Romney’s campaign hasn’t actually attacked Obama over Jeremiah Wright. That was a proposed SuperPAC campaign that was strangled in the crib. So, really, it’s a false false dichotomy. Booker is nauseated about something Obama did, and something that Romney didn’t do. So it’s a trojan horse way of complaining about attacks on Bain, which follows from what Booker says a bit earlier about how they’ve been great to businesses. Which means, yup, he’s a Wall Street shill. And an astonishingly dense one too. It takes a special kind of incompetence to make such an incredibly bad first impression, and it’ll be hard for him to escape being known as Wall Street’s man in Newark because that’s all most people know about him now.

And good on Obama for keeping this line of argument going. Romney’s argument that he created jobs at Bain is incredibly fatuous. If he ever did, it was because that coincided with making a profit. Private equity has its place, but Romney is being intentionally deceptive on what his goals were there.

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