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Cory Booker and Torquemada

May 22, 2012

The Cory Booker-Bain dustup is amusing on a few levels. First, there's the much remarked upon forced confession/hostage video aspect to it. Yes, Booker has said that he clarified his remarks of his own volition, in both a video and a speak-to-the-base performance on MSNBC, but does anyone really believe it? It's obvious he thinks the Bain critique is a distraction from real issues as the Democratic mayor of Newark famously said on Meet the Press.

I don't think that means he's a secret Romney supporter or that he was out to sabotage Obama as MSNBC host Chris Matthews said yesterday. I don't think it means he was bought by Wall Street as many a tweeter on the left keeps suggesting. It does mean he has reservations about this critique of Romney. This isn't Galileo retracting the truth about the solar system. It isn't Torquemada, the leader of the Spanish Inquisition. It's not auto-da-fe, the ritual public penance during said inquisition. It is funny. 
The Obama campaign's need to orchestrate this rollback is the other funny thing. If they had just let it go, it wouldn't be half as big. But by turning it into this big deal, they've made the situation more amusing. 
Of course, Obama is right, too. If Romney's going to run on his Bain credentials, then his Bain record is fair game and not a distraction. The record of businessmen in the White House is decidedly mixed, of course. Mining executive Herbert Hoover and agribusinessman Jimmy Carter did well in the private sector ... well, you get the point. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were, by some estimates, richer than Romney, although how you compare Monticello to the mansion in Belmont, Mass. is beyond me. Still, it's worth asking about Bain and a business background in general and Obama is within his right to ask it. Ironically, the Cory Booker confession is a distraction from that real issue. 
Finally, I can't help but think somewhere in a parallel universe Sen. Marco Rubio is going on Fox to clarify his remarks.
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