It is interesting to reflect on the fact that in just one decade, Cory Booker has gone from Inspirational Activist Mayor of a Devastated Black City to Untouchable Neoliberal Scum.
Ten years ago this month, Booker became mayor of Newark, famously living in the projects, sometimes personally rescuing residents and dogs from perilous situations, and generally assuming the role of Second Most Popular Black American Politician After Obama. His future was bright. He moved to the Senate. But along the way, all the real lefties and activists cooled on him after he kept getting extremely cozy with people like Mike Bloomberg and Mark Zuckerberg and hedge fund motherfuckers in general.
How far has Cory Booker’s reputation fallen today with the sort of people who might have loved him ten years ago? Witness these portions of a Democracy Now! debate between Michael Eric Dyson and Princeton professor Eddie Glaude—two left wing black intellectuals—over how black people should vote in the upcoming election. Dyson launches the hardest credibility-destroying insult he has:
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: [...] I want that aspiration to be about what we can do to transform the fundamental condition of our people. And I know, given the fact that Cory Booker has a prominent blurb on your book that’s supporting you—
EDDIE GLAUDE: Oh, but we disagree.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Right, I know you disagree, but I’m saying you disagree with him, but you’re still in league with him in terms of your analysis of what happens, even though—and I’m a fan of Cory Booker, but the devastating analysis of the consequences of neoliberalism in Newark.
EDDIE GLAUDE: Absolutely, absolutely.
EDDIE GLAUDE: —to think strategically about the vote and what does it mean to actually embrace a radical Democratic vision. If you are a centrist liberal, own that.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Right. Here’s my point.
EDDIE GLAUDE: If you’re not, then embrace a different kind of politic.
AMY GOODMAN: Professor Michael Eric Dyson?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: But I’m saying you’re not a centrist liberal, but you’ve got a centrist liberal on your book. You engage with him.
EDDIE GLAUDE: Oh, it’s published by Crown.
Damn. “Cory Booker blurbed your book” is the 2016 equivalent of “You named names at the McCarthy hearings.”
He still has a great smile!