Dave Begley: Live from Indianola

Yesterday Cory Booker brought his campaign for the Democratic presidential campaign to Iowa. We had Dave Begley on hand to cover the festivities. Dave is a Nebraska attorney practicing elder law and estate planning in Omaha. He is also our occasional presidential campaign correspondent. Dave has filed this report Booker in Iowa. He has also forwarded this Des Moines Register story about Booker in Iowa. This time around Dave took his life in his hands to ask Booker some pointed questions from the Democratic crowd:

On Saturday Senator Cory Booker appeared at a winery outside Indianola, Iowa. I’ll confess going into the event I did not like Senator Spartacus because of his outrageous performance during the confirmation hearing for Judge (now Justice) Kavanaugh. The party of moral superiority acted in an immoral and dishonest fashion. One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to know that Christine Blasey Ford was a liar and not a very good one at that. She had less than zero credibility with anyone who wasn’t a rank partisan.

I found the Democrats’ allegation that young Brett Kavanaugh had the time and inclination to organize rape parties absurd. Not only was such an activity a sin and a crime, his mother was a judge or assistant county attorney at that time. Common sense tells anyone that a Catholic high schooler trying to get into an Ivy League college whose mother was a public official would never – in a million years – do such things. The lack of any witnesses and, of course, his handwritten summer calendar completely destroyed the already incredibly weak case against him. But the Dems persisted in their disgraceful farce.

I had my iPhone audio recorder on when Senator Booker and I had this exchange (emphasis supplied):

DDB: Senator, during your speech you talked about fairness. When are you going to apologize to Justice Kavanaugh for your performance at the confirmation hearings? (Crowd: Boos, laughs, “no,” “never.”)

CB: First of all, sir, you called it a performance. I stood every single day and was outraged how those hearings were run.

DDB: Hold it. You mean Senator Grassley conducted an unfair hearing in your opinion? (Crowd: Yes. Yeah. Yeah.)

CB: I was threatened to be kicked out of the Senate for challenging and releasing. It’s like someone is applying for a job and you only get to see ten percent of their resume. They kept secret.

DDB: Well, you read his opinions, didn’t you?

CB: Sir, I’m not going to get into an argument. I believe in the old saying you don’t have to attend every argument you are invited to. (Crowd applauds.) I’m proud of my performance, or as you call it, but I’m proud of what I did to fight as I did to make sure that someone who is not qualified to sit on the Supreme Court did not. (Wild crowd cheers, applause and whoops cut off the last of his answer.)

Booker is sticking with his Spartacus story. Kicked out of the Senate? The senior Senator from New Jersey wasn’t even censured after being acquitted at his criminal trial so I don’t think the junior Senator was going to be kicked out for a stunt.

That business about “ten percent of his resume” alluded to the canard that the Senate Democrats were entitled to see everything that crossed Brett Kavanaugh’s desk when he was White House staff secretary.

As to Justice Kavanaugh being “unqualified,” the rule used to be that you might disagree with a nominee’s written judicial opinions or political party affiliation, but if a nominee had the requisite temperament, experience, academic qualifications and character then the nominee got confirmed like Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg did. Later in the event, by the way, Senator Booker said he hugged the “unfair” Senator Grassley on the Senate floor when the criminal justice reform bill passed. A bill that President Trump signed.

Booker backs the Green Leap Forward. Details to come latter. His drew an analogy to Kennedy’s commitment to our landing a man on the moon; the Senate didn’t debate rocket design. This is a crisis and we only have twelve years to act or our children are doomed. He will undo everything President Trump has done in this area.

Booker also asserted that our rivers are being poisoned. “No one will out bold me on climate change.” However, some may out bold him on proper use of the English language.

One woman asked him if he supported Senator Sherrod Brown’s S. 377 which would lower drug prices by allowing the Secretary of HHS to determine reasonable prices for drugs manufactured by patent owners. Booker wasn’t familiar with Brown’s bill but he noted that he and Bernie Sanders have offered S.102, The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act of 2019. This bill would allow the government to set prices on drugs based on prices in five other countries. Neither bill should pass.

Senator Booker twice advocated for increasing pay to public school teachers. Apparently President Obama didn’t get this or other dire inequities fixed in his eight long years in office, even with crushing Democratic majorities in Congress during his first two years.

Booker’s principal theme was the need for a “conspiracy of love.” We must love our fellow citizens. Politics is pitting us against each other by race and geography. President Booker will bring us together.

Cory Booker’s family story is compelling. One grandparent moved from Alabama to Iowa to mine coal. One of his grandmothers was born in Des Moines. His dad was a top salesman at IBM. For context, this was in the ’60’s and ’70’s when IBM had a virtual monopoly with the best sales force in the computer business. They were paid very well. Booker must get his salesmanship from his dad.

He related his parents purchase of a home in an all-white New Jersey neighborhood that was “off limits” to blacks at the time. A white straw purchaser bid on the house and the bid was accepted. Booker’s parents showed up at the closing. The contract had been assigned to the Bookers. The real estate agent punched his dad in the face.

Booker went on to play football end at Stanford, win a Rhodes scholarship and graduate from Yale Law School. The Dems keep revisiting the civil rights struggle of the 1960’s. Why not celebrate the successes? Move on. The great grandson of a black coal miner won a Rhodes scholarship, is a United States Senator and is running for President. What a country!

From his television appearances, I thought Booker was clownish. In person, however, he has an effective and winning stage presence. Booker expressly said his campaign is not just about Trump and removing him from office. This election can’t be “about who you are against.”

Booker also brought down the house of about 125 with laughs when he told the story of a private exchange after President Trump’s inauguration. According to Booker, President George W. Bush told President Bill Clinton, “That was some strange sh*t.” Booker doesn’t want to lose too much of the Democrats’ “against” vote to his rivals.

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