The Washington Post sent Jason Horowitz to tag along with Newark mayor Cory Booker, as New Jersey's Twitter folk hero and presumptive next United States Senator made his rounds. Cory Booker is pals with everyone:
He says goodbye to the diner owners in Greek, chats with an Ecuadorean patron in Spanish and wishes a Jewish reporter happy holidays in Hebrew.
Or almost everyone. Booker is not happy about the critics who accuse him of over-coziness with the plutocracy. So what if he called complaints about private equity "nauseating"?
“That critique does not hold up to a magnifying glass at all,” says Booker, who, for starters, notes that he did pretty well in the recent Democratic primary. “All I know is, many of these bloggers wouldn’t walk down a street in my city without feeling insecure.”
That's right. The bloggers may say that Booker is captive to the interests of the moneyed class, but Cory Booker would like to point out that, as mayor of Newark, he has preserved that city's status as a terrifying hellhole of poverty and crime. Cory Booker's critics would not dare to walk a block through the impoverished nightmare landscape of urban decay of which Cory Booker is the chief executive, responsible for safety and public order and for encouraging development.
(Well, maybe one of the desolate blocks right by Newark Penn Station, where in response to the region's housing crisis, the city has filled the useful, potentially dynamic space near a transit hub with barren parking lots, a sports arena, and a few hulking monoliths connected by Habitrails.)
But to be fair to the bloggers, other people who have had difficulty walking the streets of Newark include the city's own previous mayor. Back in April, 77-year-old Sharpe James—who had defeated Booker in 2002 in a vicious campaign, painting Booker as too soft, elitist, and un-streetwise to run the big, mean city—got mugged:
Newark police say Williams attacked former Newark Mayor Sharpe James from behind last Thursday, putting him in a choke hold and escaping on foot with the former mayor’s gold chain. James was not injured in the attack.
(James went on to describe the incident as "horseplay.")
Other highlights of the profile include Booker being introduced as "Pennsylvania's future third senator," Booker stammering his way through a discussion of Waywire, and Booker denying having ever dated Arianna Huffington, while saying he's glad people think he's gay. Newark will miss you, Almost-Senator Cory Booker!
[Photo via Getty]