A new Washington Post Poll suggests that whatever Cory Booker thinks is fairly irrelevant to the American people.
As noted by Jonathan Chait in the Atlantic, at this point Americans are ready to eat the rich.
The poll asks which is the bigger problem: unfairness in the economic system that favors the wealthy, or over-regulation of the free market that interferes with growth and prosperity? Fifty-six percent of Americans say unfairness, 34 percent over-regulation.Rachel Maddow puts this into perspective from a political standpoint:
That's not what Romney and the GOP want to hear -- Obama's vision for what ails the economy has a 22-point edge over the Republican vision, and that gap is growing, not shrinking.The WAPO poll numbers show Obama leading nationally 49 to 44%, among all Americans, and by 3% among registered voters. The poll also shows higher enthusiasm for the President (and implicitly, his policies).
Romney can take some solace in the fact that the race for the White House is very competitive, but it's not a good sign that American voters continue to reject his larger worldview.
It doesn't matter whether Cory Booker is an opportunistic DLC'er, a wolf in sheep's clothing, or a damn fool. Enough has been written about his recent "gaffe" to suggest he's probably all three, but ultimately it doesn't matter. Cory Booker can stand on top of the Prudential Center in Newark and extol the virtues of private equity until the Passaic River churns out drinkable water. He hasn't hurt Obama this week, he's probably done him and us a favor, however unwittingly.
I didn't wake up Tuesday with any more favorable opinion about venture capital and private equity than I had going to bed. Did you?
The only people that have a favorable opinion of the magical powers of "private equity" right now in this country -- at least the ones for whom this issue resonates as a make-or-break political issue--are those who are already pretty much in the pocket of the Republican Party to begin with. The average voter has been fucked by private equity and can see that with his/her own eyes in his/her day-to-day existence. You don't have to have camped out in Zucotti Park to see where "private equity" has taken us. All you have to do is pick up a newspaper. It's taken us for a ride.
It took us for a ride in the tech bubble, when all those bullshit dot-com crap companies funded by venture capital folded with their whiz kids taking their stock options with them at the peak of the tulip mania, leaving average investors to pick up worthless shares of companies that for the most part went Bankrupt or just de-listed from the NASDAQ. Many people who forgot that are watching somberly as the Facebook shares they lapped up are now sinking below their pre-IPO price, with only Howdy Doody here (and his banker pals who apparently found creative ways to short the stock) walking away any richer. So long, suckaahs!
Private Equity does create businesses, and businesses do create jobs, but here's the thing. The average Joe in the street doesn't think too much about "private equity" and when he does he thinks of people who are already filthy rich investing in a venture that will make them even filthier rich without having to do the actual work that's involved in making that venture successful. In other words, the type of work Joe in the Street does. So really there's not a whole lot of difference in Joe's mind between "private equity" and insider trading--hell, he'd like to be in that position but even he's not naive enough to believe he ever will be. Joe may even have some respect for the sources of "private equity," but it's doubtful he has enough of a connection to believe those people (he has a picture of what they look like in his head, and most all of them look like Romney) have really ever done him any favors.
Conversely, even by sticking his foot in his mouth, Booker does Obama a favor by driving the news cycle this week so Americans are thinking about all the wonderful things "private equity" and "venture capital' has done for their lives.
The GOP can put Cory Booker in as many Super PAC ads as they want, but all they're doing is keeping the issue of the glaring disconnect between Romney's vision of the economy and the reality experienced by the vast majority of Americans front and center. There's a reason Romney's team continues to shy away from discussing Bain. It's an argument he can't win.
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