by Yvette Carnell
Newark Mayor Cory Booker has replaced Barack Obama as the shiny new Negro that many African-Americans have hitched their dreams to, but the question remains……….why? He’s an attractive guy who saves women from homes engulfed in flames and puppies from freezing temperatures, but what does any of that have to do with actually governing? As Booker mounts his bid to fill deceased Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s shoes in the Senate, many observers are drawing attention to how Booker uses his individual acts of heroism to cloak his conservative agenda.
From The Guardian:
Booker is a far more conservative figure than the Cult of Cory, which is too busy making Superman or Chuck Norris jokes, may actually realize. He is a long-time advocate of charter schools and, more quietly, of voucher programs: a favorite hobbyhorse of the men of high finance. George Will, the paleoconservative columnist of the Washington Post, is a big fan. Michelle Rhee, the fallen DC schools chancellor whose union-busting, corporatist education reforms resulted in a citywide cheating scandal, is someone Booker calls “a friend of mine”….
And as New York Times writer Kate Zernike pointed out in a 2012 article titled Promise vs. Reality in Newark on Mayor’s Watch, Booker spends a good deal of his time schmoozing with celebs instead of actually governing:
They say Mr. Booker’s frequent Twitter posts to his 1.3 million followers, his appearances on television and at gatherings of moguls and celebrities — he was out of town nearly a quarter of the time between January 2011 and June 2012, according to The Star-Ledger…
Although Booker says he’s out of town raising money for the city, you know, hustlin’ ‘n stuff, even the money he does bring back isn’t funded directly into Newark. It becomes part of some neofeudal arrangement where business Overlords sit on boards and determine where the money should go, leaving private business interests in control of public city funding.
And Because Booker is a politician who takes wheelbarrows full of money from the financial sector, constituents don’t have a voice (unless they have a cat up a tree or a lost dog). During the 2012 campaign, Booker was taken to the woodshed by Democrats for saying he found it “nauseating” that the Obama campaign would attack Romney’s career in private equity, a wink and a nod from Booker to the good ‘ol boys on Wall Street.
If you like Obama, you’ll like Booker a little less. Booker is Obama without the identifiably African-American affectation. But if you’ve been disappointed by Obama’s penchant to cave to Republicans on everything from taxes to Shirley Sherrod, then Booker isn’t your guy.