Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cory! Cory! Cory!

Cory Booker is as bad as anybody in American politics today, and that includes everybody in both wings of the same neoliberal political party.

He is rotten to the core, completely compromised by the far right and has been since the beginning of his dubious rise to prominence.

Remember that $100m donation to the Newark schools from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, promoted with its very own Oprah episode? The cash didn't go into the Newark school system; it's controlled by a non-governmental fund, with Booker on the board, and has been so unaccountable that the ACLU had to sue the city to learn what was going on. (Booker's office first denied that the emails the ACLU sought existed; when a judge ordered the emails to be made public, the Booker team released them on Christmas Eve.)

Add to this Booker's privatization of the Newark sanitation department, and his repeated attempts to do the same to the water supply, and the picture becomes clearer. In the world Booker and his cohort inhabit, there are no systemic problems and no class interests. There are only pesky inefficiencies, to be fixed with better data and more money from smart, happy, rich people who can spend their cash far more sensibly than the public sector.

Poor Frank Lautenberg. The so-called "swamp dog" was one of the great remaining liberals in the Senate, a quiet but committed defender of unions and the working class, and a constant advocate for progressive taxation. And New Jerseyans have a chance to vote for a successor in his mold. Two quite progressive House members, the long-serving Frank Pallone and the physicist-turned-politician Rush Holt, have both declared their candidacies.

But it seems far more likely that the next senator from New Jersey will be the anti-Lautenberg: a neoliberal egomaniac who sees government as nothing more than a charity for billionaires and corporations to support as they please. There may be no stopping the rise and rise of Cory Booker. But let's at least recognize his impending triumph for what it is: another victory for the men in the glass towers, enabled by a nonstop publicity campaign waged 140 characters at a time.

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