[This article co-written with David Spring]

Washington State Democratic chair Dwight Pelz is coming under criticism on Democratic email lists for inviting Newark mayor Cory Booker to be the keynote speaker at the State Convention Gala Banquet to be held on Friday June 1 in Seattle.   Booker is well known as a supporter of charter schools  — a position at odds with Democratic values and possibly with the State Constitution.

Furthermore, the LA Times reports today that on Sunday Booker called the (Obama campaign’s) attacks on Mitt Romney’s former company, Bain Capital, “nauseating” and “a distraction from the real issues.”   The White House was unhappy with that criticism, and  Booker later tried to backtrack his position, but it was too late.   The LA Times article says:

Republicans continue to exploit Booker’s comments…The Republican National Committee launched a “Stand With Cory” petition drive, and purchased ads on the social media site Twitter to amplify the message. The Romney campaign circulated an email with dozens of press accounts of Booker’s comments and the Obama campaign’s attempt to rebut them.

Booker is wrong that the American people do not care whether Romney closed down plants in the US and outsourced jobs overseas. Given that we have record unemployment in our nation as a result of predatory capitalists like Romney outsourcing jobs just to make a billion bucks, this should be a central issue of the campaign. It says that Romney does not care about the American economy or the American people or American jobs.

There’s more.  Parents Across America Seattle has announced that the fake grassroots pro-charter school group, Stand for Children, backed by the same billionaires who back Cory Booker, has endorsed Rob McKenna for Governor – probably because Rob McKenna, like Cory Booker,  supports Charter Schools. Nearly all of the 19 Dems endorsed by Stand in past races are corporate Democrats. They claim to be bipartisan – but what they really mean is bipartisan corruption.

So in inviting Cory Booker to be the keynote speaker at the State Dem Gala Banquet, the State Party is also indirectly helping Rob McKenna.

We are living in very strange times. Given that Jay Inslee is behind in the polls right now, the State Party would be a little wiser in their choice of keynote speakers. Is offending thousands of parents and thousands of teachers and thousands of union members what we want to be doing right now?

At least half a dozen participants on Washington State Dems email lists concur in the criticism of Pelz over the Booker invitation.

Last month too Pelz came under criticism — for his harsh words against Dennis Kucinich, who was considering running for Congress in Washington State.

[Added 2012/05/26: Paul Krugman writes: “And it has been especially sad to see some Democratic politicians with ties to Wall Street, like Newark’s mayor, Cory Booker, dutifully rise to the defense of their friends’ surprisingly fragile egos.”]