Cory Booker in Cory Booker On The Issues, by Jesse Gordon

On Gun Control: Failed to pass gun legislation after Orlando mass shooting

BROKEN PROMISE: Booker attempted and failed as senator to resolve conflicting promises: he promised to fight for gun restrict-ions, but also promised to collaborate with other senators on guns on "day one" (implying "priority"). That forced a broken promise by self-contradiction. There are not enough anti-gun senators to make that a realistic promise on "day one."

ANALYSIS: After mass shootings over past years, Senate Democrats introduced new gun legislation. None passed. Booker pointed out that Congress failed to act "in the wake of Newtown," the 2012 mass shooting, when Booker was mayor. When Booker was Senator, the 2016 Orlando mass shooting occurred, and provided Booker an opportunity to "join with others to make a difference," as he promised--that legislation failed too. Booker and Democrats are aware that they cannot pass gun restrictions nationally on "day one"--which is why they try only in the wake of mass shootings.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p. 17 Apr 1, 2017

On Crime: Evolved from supporting Broken Windows theory to opposition

BROKEN PROMISE: : As Mayor, Booker applied the "broken windows" theory, which is generally considered a Republican theory for crime reduction: take care of small issues like broken windows in inner cities, and the level of respect for the law, and for police, leads to reduced crime rates overall. Mayor Booker believed in this theory and applied it to inner-city Newark. Senator Booker "evolved" and renounced the theory entirely.

ANALYSIS: : Booker's turnaround can be attributed to two factors: First, his city's police department was challenged on this issue, and the practice was found counter-productive. Second, the "Black Lives Matter" movement took hold between Booker's time as mayor and his time in the Senate, questioning the effectiveness and the racial bias of many police practices. Both of those factors led Booker to "evolve" on this issue. Booker might say that he responded to facts, and to societal change, rather than breaking a campaign promise.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p. 19 Apr 1, 2017

On Drugs: Opposes Drug War, but control border for opioid precursors

BROKEN PROMISE: : Booker had adopted a strongly progressive stance on drugs -supporting medical marijuana; supporting treatment instead of incarceration for drug possession; opposing drug enforcement is racially biased; and opposing the War on Drugs in general. He "evolved" and signed on to the War on Opioids, seeking international treaty restrictions on opioid precursor trafficking.

ANALYSIS: : Some progressives and minority voters would consider the "opioid epidemic" just the latest application of biased enforce-ment, and would expect Booker to apply his racial-bias philosophy to a general rejection of drug enforcement. Booker would differentiate opioids as more dangerous than marijuana - which critics would say follows in the scare-tactic footsteps of Demon Rum and Reefer Madness. Booker's proposed border interdiction above is a standard proposal of Drug Warriors--just involving international institutions as a novel feature.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p. 30 Apr 1, 2017

On Energy & Oil: Supports tax-funded carbon reduction, but not carbon tax

BROKEN PROMISE: : The Booker campaign claimed that Booker had never supported a carbon tax, but in fact he had supported "lower carbon output." Voters would infer from his support of "lower carbon output" that Booker would support some sort of economic incentive to achieve that. We call that a broken promise by "legalism."

ANALYSIS: Booker was TECHNICALLY not lying when he said he never supported a carbon TAX--he meant he supported OTHER forms of economic incentives (paid for with taxes, of course). Booker omitted that from his campaign explanation, even when given the chance to clarify (his Senate campaign opponent raised the issue in a TV ad). That omission misled voters into thinking he opposed incentives for reducing carbon output. And he DID support reducing carbon output in his actions in the Senate, in contradiction to his misleading omission.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p. 58 Apr 1, 2017

On Tax Reform: Promised no taxes; but meant "no on one city tax increase"

BROKEN PROMISE: : The Booker said "no tax increases; voted against mayor's tax increases." on his Mayoral campaign website in 2002 but meant "I opposed THAT tax increase," referring to a proposed tax increase when Booker was on the City Council. But voters very reasonably interpreted it as "no tax increases in the future." We call that a "legalism," pretending that there is a meaningful difference. He broke his no-tax promise as mayor, and went on to adopt more pro-tax rhetoric in the Senate.

ANALYSIS: President George H. W. Bush lost his 1992 re-election in large part due to breaking his "no new taxes" pledge. Booker should have learned the lesson of absolute no-tax pledges; he ignored that lesson for political expediency in 2002.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p. 64 Apr 1, 2017

On Jobs: Supports unions, except maybe teacher unions

BROKEN PROMISE: : Booker studiously said nothing about his relations with unions during his mayoral campaign and Senate campaign. His job-based accomplishments and campaign statements SOUND vaguely pro-union--or they sound vaguely anti-union, depending on what each voter preferred. That sort of intentional vagueness "muddies the water" and counts as an "broken promise by obfuscation."

ANALYSIS: Booker's actual actions make it clear WHY he was vague: he is generally in favor of union organizing, but has a long antagonistic record with teachers' unions due to his pro-charter school stance. By avoiding union issues, the teachers' union would not have the opportunity to denounce Booker. Booker took plenty of heat for his pro-charter stance--but he was honest about that! He would have taken even more heat if he publicly made the connection--like many Democrats and liberals do - between a pro-charter stance and an anti-union stance.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p. 70 Apr 1, 2017

On Social Security: Once supported raising retirement age; now opposes it

BROKEN PROMISE: : Booker said he "opposes raising the retirement age for most people in the country - except, perhaps, for people in their 20s or younger." Booker's campaign "hint" was followed by repeated retractions--i.e. he learned his lesson and has taken a hard-line against all discussions of reforms ever since. We rate this an "evolution" because Booker has now kept up that hard line for years.

ANALYSIS: Booker touched "the third rail" with his truthful sentiments on Social Security--that he believed that reforms might apply to younger workers. President George W. Bush made Social Security reform a valid topic for discussion, in his rhetoric of the early 2000s, but that only defused the third rail for Republicans. For Democrats like Booker, reforms are still something not even to be discussed--and Booker has paid the price for his honest indiscretion.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p. 74 Apr 1, 2017

On Abortion: Claimed to support post-viability exceptions, but voted no

BROKEN PROMISE: : While running for Senate, an opposition ad claimed that Booker condoned abortion at any stage of pregnancy and without restrictions. Booker's campaign responded that Booker does support restrictions: "Mayor Booker does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortions if exceptions are made for the health and the life of the mother." Booker attempted to appear more moderate on abortion by parsing meaningless differences in policy: we call that "legalism."

ANALYSIS: Booker was pressed for specifics during the campaign and said he accepted "post-viability exceptions." But then he co-sponsored a bill that banned post-viability exceptions. Booker might say, "Well, SOME post-viability exceptions are ok, but not THOSE post-viability exceptions." But THOSE post-viability exceptions are the currently controversial ones, which come up on pro-life bills for votes in the Senate.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p. 82 Apr 1, 2017

On Education: New public school models & more public education options

BROKEN PROMISE: : Booker said on his Senate campaign website, "We have a lot to be proud of in Newark, including: More kids in preschool; Tackling illiteracy; New public school models & more public education options; Empowering teachers; and Rewarding good teachers." Booker is muddying the water here - basically Booker was afraid to say what he REALLY believed in--because he knew that the mainstream Democratic Party would strongly disagree.

ANALYSIS: Booker's rhetoric misuses standard liberal pro-public school phrases. "Empowering teachers" to liberals means "empowering teachers' unions"--exactly the opposite of what Booker did. His subtly-worded "options" line did include "new models"--charter schools and, later, vouchers. This is the education policy equivalent of a pro-choice advocate saying "I'm pro-life for the mother"--which everyone would recognize as misleading.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p.100 Apr 1, 2017

On Homeland Security: No irresponsible spending on weapons military doesn't want

BROKEN PROMISE: : Booker said on his Senate campaign website, "America has, and must continue to maintain, the strongest military force in the world." But he cites on the same website that Congress engages in "irresponsible spending on weapons our military doesn't want." Booker made these two inherently conflicting promises, attempting to portray himself as a moderate on defense spending. He contradicts himself in that pair of promises, and his promise on the "strongest military" was belied by his NAY vote on Congress' biggest military package

ANALYSIS: Booker opposed the "National Defense Authorization Act" which President Obama vetoed (agreeing with Booker) because it "underfunds our military in the base budget, and instead relies on an irresponsible budget gimmick of Overseas Contingency Operations funding." Booker's ambiguous campaign promise has the usual purpose of attempting to please both sides at once by being intentionally vague.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p.119 Apr 1, 2017

On Free Trade: Deal with China despite their cheating

BROKEN PROMISE: : Booker said on his Senate campaign website, "China's cheating--through artificially depressing its currency and other unfair trade practices--is so damaging to American workers." But in the Senate, Booker called on Vice President Joe Biden to help settle a trade dispute between the U.S. and China over solar equipment, rather than continue anti-dumping investigations and tariffs. Booker talked tough on China during the campaign, but caved in when it came to actually negotiating a deal. We label this an "evolution" where Booker accepted that dealing with China gave more leverage than pressuring China from a stand-off position.

ANALYSIS: Comparing the two contrasting statements, Booker is in effect saying "China cheats--but let's deal with them anyway." Booker's campaign statements support "fair trade" - rewriting the rules--whereas his actions support "free trade"--making SOME sort of deal despite whatever problems come up.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p.129 Apr 1, 2017

On Free Trade: Promote exports, but restrict multilateral trade deals

BROKEN PROMISE: : The Newark Star Ledger reported, "Booker voted against giving Obama the ability to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership." But Booker voted to provide an additional $25 billion for the Export-Import Bank, to finance U.S. exports. Booker opposes multilateral trade deals, but supports export promotion--he is technically FOR free trade on the export side, but AGAINST free trade on the import side.

ANALYSIS: Booker's pro-export anti-import policy actually has a name--"neomercantilism"--which differentiates Booker from "protectionism." Protectionists believe in limiting all trade (in both directions); mercantilists believe in limiting imports but favoring exports. That's in line with Booker's pro-corporate outlook: mercantilism helps American corporations at the expense of foreign corporations (and at the expense of consumers). Both protectionists and mercantilists call themselves "fair traders" but they differ in this key aspect.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p.130 Apr 1, 2017

The above quotations are from Cory Booker
Promises Kept & Promises Broken

by Jesse Gordon
Click here for main summary page.
Click here for a profile of Cory Booker.
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Cory Booker on other issues:
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
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Govt. Reform
Gun Control
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Page last updated: Feb 21, 2019