New Jersey Mayor Becomes Rising Democratic Star at Convention
Newark Mayor Cory Booker took the Democratic National Convention stage on Tuesday, September 2. Booker was selected by the Democratic Committee in an attempt to energize the party’s base. Booker was one of two New Jersey politicians to take the national stage at a political convention. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spoke at the Republican National Convention last week.
He spoke about the Democrats’ platform and explained why incumbent President Barack Obama was the best person to lead the country.
The main point of Booker’s speech was differentiating President Obama’s economic vision and Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s. “We choose American economic might and muscle, standing strong on the bedrock of the American ideal: a strong, empowered and ever-growing middle class,” said Booker. Booker also advocated for small businesses. “It is our most fundamental national aspiration— that no matter who you are, no matter what your color, creed, how you choose to pray or who you choose to love, that if you are an American— first generation or fifth—one who is willing to work hard, play by the rules and apply your God-given talents— that you should be able to find a job that pays the bills,” said Booker.
Michael Rosas, communication major, was impressed with Booker. “Booker’s performance was unexpected. Booker, recently receiving acclaim as the man who will say what is on his mind, even if it may be against his party, decided to stay on message. Some would say that Booker dropped his In-Your- Face rhetoric of criticizing and instead only praised the democrats beliefs. The idea Booker gave us that the Democratic platform is “not about partisanship but pragmatism” is brilliant,” stated Rosas.
Booker mentioned how college is an essential part of the “American Dream.” Booker stated, “Our president has already doubled Pell grants, raised education standards, invested in research and development at our universities and early childhood education in our neighborhoods. Our platform and our president state it clearly: our nation cannot continue to be the world’s number one economy if we aren’t committed to being the world’s number one educator.”
Michael Hamilton, a junior political science major, thought this was something that needed to be addressed. “The investment into the American infrastructure and hope to raise small businesses and raise education stuck out to me the most.” When asked how Christie’s ideas on education differed from Booker’s, Hamilton also stated, “Christie seemed to focus more on an elitist approach to education than the education for all approach Booker seemed to want to target.”
Rosas was behind Booker’s statements directed for college students, “As a college student, Booker reminded us about how the Democrats fought to raise the Pell grant (and to keep college interest rates down) reminding us that Democrats find that education is the greatest investment they can make while Republicans find that college students should find more affordable options which may even require working enough hours to afford all costs of college.”
Dr. Don Swanson, professor of applied communication, said he was pleased with the steps that have been made for college students but feel more can be done. “It is unconsciousable that the only ones who cannot declare bankruptcy are college students. It is also unconsciousable to make college students incur such debt when every other contemporary democracy provide their education for their young people,” stated Swanson.
Booker took also on Romney and his objection to having the wealthy pay more in taxes. “Being asked to pay your fair share isn’t class warf a r e—i t ’s patriotism.” The crowd began chants of “U.S.A, U.S.A” following the statement. According to an NJ.com article, “Definitely a strong delivery of the national party platform,” said Camden Mayor Dana Redd. “I can think of no better person to deliver it. The crowd was energized and definitely motivated.”
During his speech, Booker pointed out Obama’s record in attempting to hire troops as they return home. “For President Obama, ‘home of the brave’ are not just the last words of our national anthem, but also a call to action. This is why the president’s policies and our platform include incentives to train and hire our troops returning home. Not only because of our moral responsibility, but because it makes for a stronger, more secure American economy.”
Both being from New Jersey, Booker and Governor Christie’s speeches were compared. Some believe that Booker may oppose Christie in 2013 in the race for New Jersey governor but Booker denies these allegations.
According to NJ.com, “Booker scoffs at rumors that he is lining up statewide support for a run at Christie — a race that would capture national attention.”
But Booker has not completely left out a run for the Governor’s mansion. “People are speculating with me all the time,” Booker said when asked about talk that he was locking down supporters among county party chairs and union leaders. “The answer that I give them is, let’s get the president re-elected and then it will be the time to talk about the future. Right now, I have a significant role to play as a leader within the Obama campaign,” according to the NJ.com article published on September 2.
Patrick Murray, from the University’s Polling Institute was quoted in an article in the Asbury Park Press as saying, “Cory Booker has had some ups and downs, and it’s not clear what his standing in the Democratic Party but certainly after this convention it became certain his political ambitions are being worn on his sleeve.”