Cory Booker is not a progressive

As Salon points out, and as I’ve been saying for years. New Jersey voters apparently prefer to vote on personality, not actual issues that affect their lives:

“We just had the worst financial decline in my lifetime, and there were really, really bad actors involved in it,” Booker says. “The mortgage lending agencies, ratings agencies, undercapitalized insurance companies. All of these things are egregious things that from a public policy perspective we must take action on.”

You’ll notice Booker didn’t include “banks” on that list. And those who have done battle with him in the rough-and-tumble world of Newark politics (the documentary about the 2002 campaign that helped launch him to stardom was called “Street Fight”) are skeptical of his zeal to take on these bad actors.

“Cory’s definitely no Democrat but he plays the liberal game,” says Ronald Rice, the longtime Newark state senator whom Booker defeated in 2006. “His whole life is Wall Street and Silicon Valley. We picked that up when he first came here. He was always a part of the privatization movement.”

Booker’s critics point out that he collected over half a million dollars from the financial industry during that first, unsuccessful mayoral run against cartoonish machine pol Sharpe James. Since defeating Rice, James’ hand-picked successor, in 2006, Booker has overseen major layoffs of public employees, including over 150 cops in 2010. Murders are down substantially and the population is inching upward for the first time in decades, prompting talk of a revival, but unemployment, poverty and carjackings remain exceptionally high and public services are often maligned (even if tweeting at the mayor about an unplowed street can occasionally produce an encouraging response).

Booker is also a vocal fan of charter schools and “education reform.” He’s tight with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a hero to conservatives for hurling rhetorical grenades at labor unions whenever the opportunity presents itself, and New York City Mayor and unabashed 1 percenter Michael Bloomberg, who (like many titans of big finance) is raising cash on Booker’s behalf.

And yet, for all of this, one other thing is true about Cory Booker that neither he nor his opponents can deny: Rather than revolting against him, New Jersey Democrats have gone all in.

The reason? As Booker puts it, switching to the third person, “Because he’s gonna win. Our internals reflect that.”

4 thoughts on “Cory Booker is not a progressive

  1. The 1% have been marketing conservative blacks for office for some time now. They then fund their front groups and media propaganda organs to play up the ‘most liberal person ever’ meme to cement the deal. And then it’s a message of “listen to what I say, not what I do” to mainstream voters.

  2. Seven or eight years after we should all know better, a whole lot of democrats still think Obama is some kind of liberal. It is just unfathomable that a black politician could not be, for them.

    So is Booker the gay Obama? (assuming Obama is not gay, which quite a few gay folks I know suspect. My gaydar doesn’t ping for Barry, but my gaydar only worked back when I was in the closet)

  3. A report on WNYC, in discussing why Barbara Buono, the Dem candidate for governor, is some 30 points behind Christie even though her plans for the state match much more closely what the public wants the state government to do, said the public likes Christie, that his humor, his anger, and his apparent moderation make him seem genuine (walking around with Obama on the Shore post-Sandy and this summer did Christie a great favor, btw). I should be using all kinds of scare quotes, but I figure readers here can supply them.

    Obama, of course, likes Christie because they’re rather similar Corporatists.

    The state Dem Party is barely giving Buono any support! She is being well truly screwed. Because she is not all all a Corporatist.

    And Big Money gives big donations. The state Dems are sucking on Big Money dicks so hard they can’t even see what’s going on the base of their party.

    Obama, I’m pretty sure, was not only charged with protecting and enriching Big Bianksters and Big Money holders in general, but also with destroying the Dem Party.

    Also, on either NPR or BBC, it was reported that Bush Boy’s approval ratings are up remarkably. There was a complete reversal of Strongly Disapprove and Strongly Approve numbers, all favorable to the man who couldn’t see that watching out for airplanes used as missiles was important, who lied us into an illegal war, who let the Banksters run rampant, who screwed up big time with Katrina, and so forth. Gee, I wonder if that’s because Obama is continuing Bush/Cheney policies and making the faux progressives now call them “liberal” policies?

    Help! And, oh, how we need that help. If only to figure out how to help ourselves.

  4. And, yes, the PTB’s have figured out how to con the electorate. Very effectively, altho’ I thought a lot of people would be a bit more wary and look at actions, not just words.

    But, Cory Booker has been remarkably effective in doing things which the MCM enjoy covering, to his benefit. Gee, it’s good to be a pol blessed by the Corporatists!

    And, of course, I have to look back at my support for Bill Clinton. Was that too really manipulated by the PTB’s working with the MCMers?

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