Corey Booker: The Second Coming of Obama - Only Worse

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Lords of Capital have more than one Great Black Hope. “If there had been no Barack Obama, Cory Booker would have been Wall Street’s choice as the First Black President.” Newark’s mayor is fiercely loyal to his friends in the ruling class. “One thing Cory Booker cannot abide is anyone bad-mouthing his rich people.

Corey Booker: The Second Coming of Obama

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

He is ideologically committed to the privatization of public education and to government that serves the rich.”

Now that Barack Obama is a lame duck who can’t run for the top office anymore, it’s as good a time as any to speculate on who will take his place as the Black politician that rich white folks feel they can truly trust. One name stands out: Cory Booker, the 43 year-old Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, whose rightwing background and connections are far deeper and more intensely ideological than Obama’s. Indeed, if there had been no Barack Obama, Cory Booker would have been Wall Street’s choice as the First Black President. “He’ll be our second,” said a New York hedge fund partner, quoted in a recent Bloomberg News article.

The Lords of Capital love “Cory,” and call him by his first name. That’s how he raised $7 million to win Newark’s City Hall for the second time, in 2010. He has since amassed more than $250 million from wealthy capitalists, including the founder of Facebook, mainly for the Newark public schools. They’re willing to pile all this cash on Booker’s plate because he is ideologically committed to the privatization of public education and to government that serves the rich.

Booker’s national career began in September of 2000, as the key speaker at a Manhattan Institute power luncheon, a launching platform for new stars on the Right. The rookie Newark city councilman had already been vetted by the far-right Bradley Foundation for his efforts on behalf of vouchers for private schools. Railing against wealth redistribution, Booker won the hearts of the rich reactionaries, who bankrolled his first run for mayor, in 2002. Booker lost, barely, but won with even more corporate support in 2006.

Mayor Booker was of great service to his corporate-minded soul mate in the White House, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama’s reelection campaign. But, one thing Cory Booker cannot abide is anyone bad-mouthing his rich people. So fiercely loyal is Booker to the rich, as individuals and as a class, he recoiled against the campaign's criticisms of Mitt Romney’s private equity firm, Bain Capital. “I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” said Booker, on NBC’s Meet the Press. Of course he wouldn't – Booker’s entire career is a creation of private capital.

Booker won the hearts of the rich reactionaries.”

Booker may run against New Jersey’s Republican governor Chris Christie in 2013. If so, it will be a contest among political friends. Booker appeared with Christie and Louisiana Republican governor Bobby Jindal earlier this year at a “summit” meeting for supporters of school privatization.

We had Cory Booker’s number when he first ran for mayor in 2002, his pockets crammed with cash. Back then, we wrote that Booker’s “impressive education served only to teach him the quickest route to the houses of the wealthy. The Young Frankenstein is now plugged in to power, lacking only the national profile that Newark's City Hall would provide.”

Ten years later, Booker has both the national profile and access to hundreds of millions of Wall Street dollars. And he fully intends to become Obama the Second. You can’t say he hasn’t earned it. By the age of 30, Cory Booker had put together a rich white ruling class fan club of his own. This guy is a world class opportunist, and a rightwing ideologue, too: just the kind of Black man that Wall Street loves and needs.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].




Welcome to the 21st Century "New Black"

Mr. Ford is on point as always.  I concur with the premise that Booker is more dangerous than Obama because Booker is more aggressive than Obama and slightly more narcicisstic.  He has more slogans up his sleeve than Michael Eric Dyson and an East Coast brashness/edginess to go along with it.  Whereas Obama is Coltrane Cool, Cory is more Miles Davis.

But let me just say something even more depressing, albeit enlightening.  Corey Booker is no aberration, he is in fact emblamatic of the New 21st Century Negro.    This Negro is politically savy, cosmopolitican, worldly and unabashedly capitalisitic, though not necessarily the cut-throat/unfettered version.  These are not all bad qualities in and of themselves.  Trust me, I just spent the weekend with my Line Brothers, whom I love dearly,and whom all embody these "virtues."

We had some interesting conversations all veering to the political.  My opinions were gladly solicited.  We all enjoy a good intellectual exchange.  And I can only report my views were in the minority, I sounded like Nat Turner and Malcolm X in comparison to their views.  Each of my beloved frat brothers believe in Obama's politically saviness, they accept that he can't do anything to combat Israeli aggression (its politics), they believe that the bitter pill of a Grand Bargain has to be swallowed to avoid the fiscal cliff.  They believe in the fiscal cliff itself and insisit that Obama inheritied a mess.  They believe that the bank bailout was necessary despite the consolidation resulting from it, despite two of them having MBAs from elite schools.  They acknowledge that Obama is NOT LIBERAL but Center Right (a surprising and appreciated bit of candor), they even allege most people should know this to which I responded most don't.

(And we didn't even get into the Exective Powers/foreign policy piece).

I'm here to tell yall that as much as we think some of our educated Blacks are dumb (and some are misinformed), they ain't all actually dumb.  Many are quite sophisticated and simply compromised, they are successful because they know the game and play it well.  And although they said I was cynical (and I am) they are equally cynical in terms of their realpolitick worldview, but they don't necessarily see it as such.

Listen, it's not so amazing what a good Elite Education can do for assimilationism and cooption of the values of the Black Prophetic Tradition.  Don't expect to see to many of the new 21st Century Blacks speak truth to power, it's simply bad business to do so.  There's no ROI in it. 

"We Shall Overcome" our income being south of the $250K threshold for Bush/Obama tax cuts; we want to be in that number.....I'm here to tell you.

They only thing that might save us from ourselves is some leadership that musters the vision and will to PIVOT this human and financial capital to invest in urban areas and matters of African American well-being.  If you can put together a business plan that shows ROI in lending to poor folks and being willing to accept less interest than a pawn shop or payday loan outfit, you may get some takers, but if you are expecting a petiton drive to get Congress and states to enforce usury laws, fuhgettabout it.

We can complain about the mindset to high heaven, and I do, and we must continue to challenge it.  But we must also be creative in how to manipulate it because it is the 21st Century New Black mindset and we ain't going back to "We the People Who are Darker than Blue" or "Moving on Up, Keep on Pushing."  As Curtis Mayfield would say, "Freddy's Dead." 

It is what it is folks.  And frankly, it ain't like folks can't make a dollar and get people out of poverty too. Ask Montel Williams if you don't believe me.  (Pay day loans CREATE poverty, but they do demonstrate there is a market to help Black folks with limited means). That has to be part of the "business plan" for Black uplift moving forward.  The one thing I can say positively is that they also believe in building Black institutional wealth and power too. And they don't believe in post-racialism or that racism doesn't exist.

If you want to understand where this all comes from check out Chris Hedges.  The only thing more effective at assimilation than a McDonald's franchise is a solid Ivy League quality education. 


I contend that part of the "poison" of Reality TV is its inculcation of Horatio Algers nonsense. 

It doesn't matter than the game is rigged.  Through lotteries, and reality TV Americans don't accept that it's rigged, they are waiting on "their turn" though it will never come.

Reality TV and social media--youtube for example--has every Tom, Dick and Harry believing that wealth is within reach, all that is required is for them to be "discovered."

Ask Snooki and Nene if you don't believe me.  True reality is a nuisance and a Debbie Downer.  Leave (us) alone, all you "haters."  LOL 

Is that Corey "pivoting" in Asia or Obama? 

Obama the Pivot
By Pepe Escobar

The fabulous reclining Buddha at Wat Pho in Bangkok does not exactly subscribe to drone wars and "targeted assassinations" - not to mention bombing of civilian infrastructure. So the Buddha may have been puzzled - to say the least - when US President Barack Obama, right at the start of his whirlwind "pivoting" tour of Southeast Asia, and referring to Israel and Gaza, came up withthis: "There is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders."

So imagine the Buddha in nirvana, mercifully surveying the sorry landscape of this valley of tears, and duly noting that Obama's drones do rain Hellfires from Pakistan to Yemen, while one of Israel's trademark - extra-judicial - target assassinations, of Hamas military leader Ahmad al-Jabari, was the preamble to unleashing the latest chapter of Israel's collective punishment of Gaza.  

So in the end what was Obama exactly doing in his whirlwind Southeast Asia tour? To the horror of American exceptionalists of all strands, he was, essentially, offshoring US jobs.

Obama went on a charm offensive to expand to as many Asian nations as possible a North American Free Trade Agreement-style deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). TPP is yet another fabulous tool for US corporations - as well as yet another nail in the coffin of US manufacturing. Obama administration officials were busy spinning TPP as a tool to facilitate Obama's pivoting, in terms of "containing" China. On the contrary; Hillary Clinton herself announced that she would love China to be part of TPP.

Pivoting? Don't believe the hype. It's just business.


The only thing purer than Libido is Ideology

Don't worry Joell, I got the memo... I respect the site more than you think.

Here's the rub folks, a sampling of critical thought questions masquerading as psuedo-Ivy League intellect: 

1.  It's not where you get the money, its what you do with it... think Wall St. or drug money;

2.  If its a "game," then why not be the best manipulator? Why not play it to win?  If you can receive funding that will allow you to transform your CBO into your vision, than do you apply/get the funding or not?

3.  If there are commercial and money-making opportunities in the Black Communities, controlled by Black electorate, then what are the impediments to marshalling the administrative/policy machinery to effecuate Black-Wealth making and do it equitably, i.e. non-discriminatory fashion.  Not hard.

4.  Why are African Americans sidelined vis a vis foreign affairs?  Where is our AIPAC as it relates to African Affairs? Why aren't we dictating how Africa's resources are distributed and seeking a Grand Bargain beneficial to all ?  (Are we to busy touring the "Holy Land?")  Do we have a clue as to how much wealth is transferred via foreign trade and the small cadre who dominate, including NGOs.  Given our resources, where is/are the Black NGOs?

5.  Why DIDN'T the Million Man March marshall moral, intellectual, and financial capital into an institutional instrument?  (the only LB encouraging us to check out strippers was the LB who feel ill and couldn't make it, ...just a personal note .  I won't discuss the idiocy of investing in strippers since I've gone G-rated.

6. The money is gone flow folks, while we try to educate, out of our pockets into others, out of other's pockets back into the Black community to promote their interests not necessarily aligned with the Black community.  Maybe some of these store-front churches NEED to sell some beer and wine, why can't they use those profits as a "sin-tax?"  Time to think outside the box.  As I say, "get in where we fit in and work it for independence."

7.  Let's remember we honored the Hip Hop Movement, the youngbloods, for their entreprenurial swagger.  Who is now profiting from this culture?  Justin Bieber, Boy Bands?... Seriously? Is this "deja vu" all over again?  Yall weigh in.

 8. There is nothing wrong with making money its how we use it for creative production. Other cultures calculate/impose usury in creative ways.  And too many pro atheletes and entertainers wasting BILLIONS on bullshit, this has to be stopped. Celebrating materialism is different from enjoying the fruits of your labor. Plus, it aint' like calling "them" out will inure to their detriment.  Some folks could use some tough love to avoid squandering their wealth. 

This is just a sampling of my musings. I invite yours because it is what it is.  It's about strategy, always has, always will be.

And I'm not engaging in apologetics, its the real world.  Don't believe me?  How many people do you know who spend $20 a day buying lottery tickets?  I can give you my anectodal answer based on converations with WHITE merchants where I buy my beverages. (I wish I could buy at a store-front turned into church).

The lottery/scratch off players would be better off buying life insurance policies and transferring some real wealth.  Can we guess what a $200.00 a mo. policy pays in Death Benefits? At least $250K -$500K?  And who knows, might send a message to the industry?   Do you suppose the industry might take another look at Black mortality--cause and effect?  The Risk Analysis team probably would?  I know Vegas, where we met, would.

p.s.  In lieu of strippers we dropped about $75 a night on fine dining establishments, and blessedly, stimulating conversation.  But I was wondering if a $25 buffet would have served the same purpose and spend MORE $ on booze for chilling in the hotel.  Am I cheap or introspective?  Btw, I love how strippers look but I don't coutenance gratuitious wealth transfers to them any more than I do to banksters.  I feel I'm being pimped in either circumstance.  LOL