And another Democratic candidate learns the pitfalls of answering a simple yes-no question with an essay. Kamala Harris learned her lesson at a town hall kicking off her run for the party’s presidential nomination when she was asked whether her embrace of the socialistic Medicare for All meant she was willing to put an end to the insurance industry as we know it. Her answer, which opened her to attacks by prospective kingmaker Michael Bloomberg and coffee magnate Howard Schultz, led to her shamefacedly recanting her position within 24 hours.
Yesterday it was Cory Booker’s turn. When asked whether he thought Donald Trump was racist, he replied:
I don’t know the heart of anybody. I’ll leave that to the Lord. I know there are a lot of people who profess the ideology of white supremacy that use his words and I believe his failure to condemn bigotry and racism, I believe that when he makes comments about African countries, when he challenges and demeans the ability of a federal judge to do their job because of their ancestry, that’s bigoted language. There’s no way around that. But I just want everybody to know, I’m going to run a race not about who I’m against or what I’m against, but who I’m for and what I’m for. I’m not even looking to simplistically beat Republicans. No, I’m looking to unite Americans in this race because I believe we have more in common than what divides us. I believe that this reflexive partisanship is undermining our ability to find common ground and get common sense things done.
Before getting to meat of his answer, it is worth recalling that not too long ago, right around the time Booker was having his “I am Spartacus” moment, he professed to “know the hearts” of two individuals — Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh — when the former accused the latter of sexual misconduct. Having no evidence beyond Ford’s uncorroborated and at times spotty testimony about an incident that purportedly occurred decades earlier, Booker told her as television cameras rolled:
You are speaking truth that this country needs to understand, how we deal with survivors who come forward right now is unacceptable. Your brilliance, shining light onto this, speaking your truth, is nothing more than heroic.
And what did Booker find in Kavanaugh’s heart? Evil:
In a news conference with two other senators, Booker had called the fight to block Kavanaugh a “moral moment” and that “You are either complicit in the evil, you are either contributing to the wrong, or you are fighting against it.”
As for Booker’s comments on Trump yesterday, contrast his measured waffling with his melodramatic claim in August that he cried “tears of rage” over Trump‘s rhetoric. Even now he doesn’t call Trump a racist directly but says he uses “bigoted language.”
Does Booker ever listen to the things he says?