Voice of the People: Cowardly Cory Ducking Debates

Voice of the People by James J. Devineby James J. Devine

Cowardly Cory Booker has agreed to participate in only two debates, one televised by NJTV on Aug. 5, and the other broadcast by radio station WBGO FM on Aug. 8.

Those two debates take place just days before the Aug. 13 primary election to nominate candidates for an Oct. 16 special election to replace the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

“The Booker campaign appears to have unilaterally selected a single TV and a single radio debate that will reach only a tiny fraction of New Jersey voters, and now they’re suggesting that they won’t consider any other debate invitations,” said Thomas Seay, a spokesperson for rocket scientist Rep. Rush Holt (D-12th Dist.).

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.) has so far agreed to participate in five debates, beginning on July 25, and he says he is hoping the other candidates will show up them.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex), who is also running in the Democratic primary, issued a statement saying she is willing to debate because voters, “deserve to hear from all the candidates…”

That condensed debate schedule deprives voters of a full and unfettered discussion on the issues. A guy who claims that he has charged into burning buildings sure shows some trepidation about taking heat for inconsistent and undeserved popular acclaim.

For example, Booker’s latest ad claims “shootings are down 27 percent” but the latest crime figures in show assault with firearms in Newark increased from 415 in 2011 to 475 last year, for a 15 percent increase.

It is easy to conclude Booker is both not telling the truth and seeking to deny his opponent a forum for calling out those lies.

In his announcement speech, Booker promised to work to “earn every single vote” but talking about the issues in a public forum does not fit into that game plan.

Booker spokesman Kevin Griffis claimed, “As Newark’s mayor, Cory Booker deals every day with the real-world impact of federal policy. What we look forward to discussing in this race is the progress he’s made in curbing gun violence, creating jobs and improving schools to improve people’s lives, progress often made despite the headwinds coming from Washington.”

We would like to know where he plans on discussing these issues, because he has declined the invitation to do so at our July 30 debate just as he rejected at least a half dozen other joint appearances with his Democratic competitors.

For the record, the progress Booker’s made in curbing gun violence is actually an increase in murder and firearms assaults, Booker’s record on creating jobs has been doubling unemployment in his city and by ‘improving schools’ he must be referring to the secretive distribution of $200 million to political cronies, because there has been far too little transparency on that score and no measurable results.

We know Booker can get billionaires to give him money but we still do not have any clue how he is going to make that ability translate into anything except his own glamour, stardom and celebrity.

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