In case anyone questioned whether Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., would be making a presidential run in 2020, all they had to do was watch Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearing to become attorney general. In an unprecedented move, Booker testified against his Senate colleague. His testimony, however, spoke more about his own character than that of Sessions.
Demagoguery and the labeling of political opponents as a racist has become the standard operating procedure of the Left and that is exactly what Booker attempted to do during his testimony. "Sen. Sessions has not demonstrated a commitment to a central requisite of the job: to aggressively pursue the congressional mandate of civil rights, equal rights, and justice for all of our citizens," Booker claimed. Hypocritically, this statement stands in direct contrast to his own praise of Sessions last February when they worked together to pass legislation honoring civil rights advocates.
Booker was not alone in maligning Sessions' name in an effort to seek the political spotlight. Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Cedric Richmond, D-La., also took the stand to oppose him. Their calls echo the narrative being driven by the Left and the media that Sessions is a racist who is undeserving of the position of attorney general. This is the same line of attack that Sessions faced during his nomination for a federal judgeship in 1986.
What stood out about witness testimony during the confirmation hearing was the contrast between the testimony of those who have worked with him and individuals looking to bolster their political careers. The testimony of William Smith, who was the first African-American hired by a Republican to be chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was particularly moving.
"He is a good Christian man, and a good family man, a man who has dedicated his public life to service and fought for disenfranchised, he accomplished it. He fought for civil rights and against the ku klux klan and fought for people regardless of the color of their skin and that's the way it should be. After twenty years of knowing Senator Sessions I have not seen the slightest evidence of racism because it does not exist. I know a racist when I've seen one and I've seen more than one, but Jeff Sessions is not one."
The attacks from the Left also stand in opposition to Sessions' record. Although not widely reported by the mainstream media, as a U.S. attorney Sessions was instrumental in investigating the case against Ku Klux Klan member Henry Hays, who abducted and murdered 19-year old African-American man Michael Donald. Bobby Eddy, who was the chief investigator for the Mobile County District Attorney's office, testified that, "Without his [Sessions'] cooperation, the state could not have proceeded against Henry Hays on a capital murder charge."
When Sessions later assumed the position of attorney general of Alabama, he argued in favor of upholding the death penalty for Hays. Sessions also participated in a lawsuit against the KKK in Alabama that led to a $7 million judgment, which reportedly bankrupted the organization in the state. As a U.S. attorney, Sessions also filed desegregation lawsuits.
Politics does get personal, especially during confirmation fights, but painting a man as a racist whose actions would indicate that he is not one is unacceptable. It should be even less acceptable when it's done for political gain. The Left's demagoguery has gone too far.
Lisa Boothe is a contributing columnist for The Washington Examiner and president of High Noon Strategies.