Times endorses Obama 2.0 for Senator
UPDATE The headline orginally read "for President." That's silly. Booker won't be running for President until 2020, after first time. Just like Obama... --lambert]
We strongly believe the best choice is Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, who will be able to use his political star status to fight for the neglected, the powerless, people who are working and people who need to work in New Jersey and nationally. He wants to battle obesity, and the guns that kill and maim so many. And he wants to round up more support for the urban centers where more and more Americans live.
Ah, "political star power." Just what we need! But what are Booker's real qualifications?
Here's Booker rushing to Bain Capital's defense when Obama briefly flirted with populism:
"This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides. It's nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity [Bain], stop attacking Jeremiah Wright."
Finance owns New York, and finance owns the New York Times. And Corey Booker.
I don't have any hope for the Democrats as a party, but I hope scientist/educator Rush Holt beats the crap out of Booker (no easy task, I admit). Holt is sound on voting machines, and he's sound on surveillance -- two important ways what's left of American democracy is under assault. Of course, Holt doesn't tweet a lot, and he doesn't rush into burning buildings. One hope NJ is smart enough to understand it needs a Senator, not a wannabe fireman.
The word "vouchers" failed to form on Booker's lips; that might have set off alarms. People of color tend to get nervous when they hear cheering from the box seats of the Right. Newark is the largest urban center in a state where even much of the GOP was repelled by Republican former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler's 2001 gubernatorial campaign, built largely around the issue of school vouchers.
But Schundler and Booker are tight, traveling in the same far-right direction - where the money is. Together with wealthy Republican businessman Peter Denton, the trio founded Excellent Education for Everyone, a local non-profit pocket with which to stuff foundation and corporate contributions.
Booker's pal Schundler knows his way around that kind of money. He used a big chunk of a $500,000 Walton Foundation gift to his Scholarships for Jersey City Children non-profit to pay for advertisements featuring himself, during an election campaign. Walton's executives didn't object. Apparently, what's good for their candidate is good for the kids.
After establishing their non-profit, the two Republicans and Booker went on a pilgrimage to Milwaukee, Mecca for school "choice" money, where the Bradley Foundation was concocting its newest invention: the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO).
Naturally, Schundler couldn't join. But Booker became a member of the board.
The Friends of Cory
It is the BAEO and its patrons that have propelled a one-term councilman into places of honor at the tables of the right-wing rich.
The Free Congress Foundation proclaimed Booker among the nation's top four "New Black Leaders," along with J.C. Watts, the Republican congressman from Oklahoma; Deborah Walden-Ford, a professional Right operative who also sits on the BAEO board; and Star Parker, a Republican former welfare mother turned ultra-conservative speaking circuit maven. The Free Congress Foundation gets a fat check every year from Bradley - $425,000 in 2000.
Parker sits on the board of Black America's Political Action Committee (BAMPAC), the political toy of the ridiculous Alan Keyes, 1996 GOP presidential candidate and MSNBC talk-show host. White Republicans get most of BAMPAC's campaign contributions, but Cory Booker certainly qualifies for access to some of Keyes' more than $2 million treasury. Last year, Booker won the first BAMPAC Leader of Tomorrow Award, bestowed on those "under 40 who promote the BAMPAC mission and are seen as rising stars on the political landscape."
(Another BAMPAC board member, Phyllis Meyers Berry, is president of the Center for New Black Leadership, created out of nothingness with $215,000 from the Olin, Scaife and VCJ Foundations - and Bradley. The reader will discover that following this kind of money is like tracing the vector of a disease; sooner or later, it all leads back to Bradley.)
Booker's stock soared in the circles of selfish wealth. The Manhattan Institute, home of a repulsive roster of right-wing writers and speakers, and recipient of $250,000 in Bradley money in 2000, invited Booker to one of its power lunches, where he effortlessly dropped Right-speak code words.
"The old paradigm," he told the troglodytes, "was an entitlement program, in which large big city mayors controlled race-based machines.
"What that was really about was capturing big entitlements from the state and federal government and divvying them up among their cronies or among the people within their organizations to protect and preserve their organizations. It was about distributing wealth."
In just two sentences, Booker managed to stimulate the Right's erogenous zones by mentioning three of the phrases they most love to hate: "race-based," "entitlements," and "distributing wealth." This guy is good, very good. He speaks two distinct languages - one to the people he wants to elect him mayor of Newark, the other to the financially endowed, whose mission in life is to resist redistribution of wealth to race-based groups that think the poor could use some entitlements.
Of course, Black collaborators are entitled to all the money necessary to create an alternative political movement out of whole cloth.
But Booker is a relentless tweeter!