Friday, July 25, 2014

Cory Booker and Republican segregationists

Joan Walsh discusses the latest segregationist dance steps in The right’s pathetically low curve: How it got a pass on race and poverty Salon 07/25/2014. I was especially struck by the section on Rand "Baby Doc" Paul, who sports a rawer segregationist ideology than most Republican politicians, though that's not saying much given today's Republican Party:

Then there’s Rand Paul, continuing his "outreach" to African Americans with his visit to the Urban League annual convention. Paul actually deserves credit for trying to tackle issues of criminal justice reform with Sen. Cory Booker. But in his Friday speech he also seemed to decry voter suppression laws, insisting his goal is to "help more people vote," in the words of the Louisville Courier-Journal.

"We have to be together to defend the rights of all minorities," Paul said.

But Paul flip-flops on this issue every chance he gets. "I don’t think there is objective evidence that we're precluding African-Americans from voting any longer," he said last year, after the Supreme Court curtailed the Voting Rights Act. But a few months later, he seemed to have second thoughts.

"Everybody's gone completely crazy on this voter-ID thing," Paul the New York Times. "I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it's offending people."

That was big news. But then, confronted by his friends at Fox, he lurched into reverse. Paul assured Sean Hannity he was fully on board with the Republican voter ID strategy. "No I agree, there's nothing wrong with it. To see Eric Holder you've got to show your driver's license to get in the building. So I don't really object to having some rules for how we vote. I show my driver’s license every time I vote in Kentucky ... and I don’t feel like it is a great burden. So it's funny that it got reported that way."

"It's funny it got reported that way," when that's what Paul said. [my emphasis]
I've written before about Booker's dubious politics, What kind of Democrat is Cory Booker? Not a reliably progressive one 08/14/2013. He's been a Wall Street loyalist, even criticizing Obama for making an issue out of the harmful acts of Bain Capital under Mitt Romney's direction. Booker's personal business dealings are entirely admirable.

In that earlier post, I included this video of Sam Seder talking about Booker's politics Cory Booker's Role Models: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul 08/13/2013:

And I also cited an article about Booker's ties to Pentecostal Christian Dominionists, Susie Madrak's Anybody But Cory Booker C&L 08/12/2013:

Cory Booker is very, very tight with the religious right wing -- but he's also very careful about what he says, since he hopes to run for president one day and cultivates strong LGBT support. The problem is, he hangs with the Dominionists. Is this a case of "I'll work with anybody who wants to help my city", or is there something more?

He's very religious himself. So where are the lines he won't cross? Is it okay for Democrats to validate and support any parts of the right-wing agenda that's politically convenient? [my emphasis]
And he's not just co-sponsoring a prison reform bill with Baby Doc. He's going out of his way to generate publicity about his friendly alliance with the hardline Kentucky segregationist.

Sarah Smith reports for Politico (aka, Tiger Beat on the Potomac per Charlie Pierce) that Cory Booker, Rand Paul join on 'common sense' 07/09/2014. It features an embedded video titled there, "Rand Paul, Cory Booker talk bromance." And it's pretty clear that Booker isn't just tactically cooperating with Baby Doc on a politics-makes-strange-bedfellows issue of prison reform. Booker is branding himself as a partner of segregationists and Ayn Rand disciple Baby Doc:

The two also talked about their friendship, to applause throughout the room.

"I'm just wondering if we could get a reality show and if Ethics would allow us to get any compensation," Paul joked.

They used their friendship and collaboration as an example for a government that’s been widely dubbed as too partisan to get anything done. Paul criticized each party for overreaching on deals instead of compromising; Booker, for his part, got agitated over too much talk on parties and too little talk on issues.

"Why don't we stop talking about party and start talking about the real issues?" Booker demanded.

At the Playbook event, Paul and Booker covered a variety of issues — and steadfastly declined to answer political questions like their opinions on the immigration crisis and the fate of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. They discussed minority outreach, technology and innovation for low-income communities — during which Booker mentioned the benefit of the free market.
Paul leaned forward.

"Maybe you could become a Republican," he said. "You said 'free market.'" [my emphasis]
It's worth people keeping a close eye on what they mean by "prison reform," what it could become in the legislative sausage-making and what will actually past the House dominated by Baby Doc's segregationist colleagues. Prison reform is very much a civil rights issue because of the disproportionate and unfair effects the justice system has on African-Americans and other minorities. So is this House going to let a bill that seriously ameliorates that problem pass?

Bloomberg Business Week reported the same story in much the same tone in a piece by Josh Eidelson, Rand Paul and Cory Booker's Washington Love Affair 07/17/2014:

As one lobbyist in the hall announced, they were “just here for the show”: the first joint appearance by Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, and Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, Washington's newest odd couple.

The two politicians appear to have little in common except, perhaps, the ambition to be president someday. One is a Texas-reared libertarian and longtime antitax activist who built a thriving ophthalmology practice before becoming a standard-bearer of the Tea Party movement. The other is an Ivy League-educated Rhodes Scholar, beloved by progressives, who built his political career in the postindustrial wasteland of Newark, where he was a councilman and then mayor. "I'm worried who’s Felix and who’s Oscar," Booker joked at the Newseum event, organized by Politico and hosted by Mike Allen, the capital’s chief gossip.

In recent weeks the freshman legislators have established a close working relationship that harks back to a long-ago era of political cooperation on Capitol Hill. [my emphasis]
Our Pod Pundits just loo-oove this stuff: Bipartisanship! Cooperation! Reaching across the aisle!

But notice what it takes to stage this fantasy: defining Booker as "beloved by progressives." A shamelessly-Wall Street-friendly corporate Dem, who made millions from ethically dubious business dealings, closely tied to Christianist theocrats ... "beloved by progressives."

"Why don't we stop talking about party and start talking about the real issues?" Yeah, a New Kind of Democrat, yee-haw!

He sounds more like "Joe Lieberman" for the second half of the 2010's to me!

Also, credit to Eidelson for identifying Politico's Mike Allen as "the capital's chief gossip."

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