Every time I see or hear Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, I'm more and more impressed. On Meet the Press last Sunday, he seemed to be the lone voice in America willing to call out his own party. He called the Obama campaign's ad attacking Mitt Romney's previous professional experience "nauseating."
Having watched the ad, I agreed. I also found the campaign's bin Laden ad, implying that Romney wouldn't have had the courage to kill the world's most wanted man, to be in poor taste as well.
I thought Booker's comments were not only honest and accurate, but would ultimately help the campaign. The Obama campaign doesn't need to go unnecessarily negative to win the election. They can go two routes effective routes. 1) Clarify and explain President Obama's achievements during his first term. 2) Simply play clips of Governor Romney contradicting himself or making radically far right statements (those clips can be left in context). Election won.
Instead, Democrats have killed Booker for his comments. Have we become so partisan that a member of a party can't make one simple criticism? We get the leaders we deserve. We say we don't want negative ads. We say we want substance. Yet when a someone calls out negative ads in their own party and begins to talk about issues of substance, he's thrown under the bus.
Let me be clear, Republicans are just as guilty as Democrats here. Both parties want their members to stay "on message" or face the consequences. Jon Stewart does a great job on The Daily Show of putting clips together where members of the same party spout the same inane gibberish.
Later in the election cycle, when we all complain about how the candidates are merely attacking one another and not talking about anything real, let us remember this moment.