Christie to NJ: Sit down, shut up and vote for my bro, Cory Booker

NJ's bros
NJ’s bros

   What is so maddeningly frustrating about Cory Booker’s inevitable victory in tomorrow’s election for Senate is that it was engineered by a man most Democrats in  New Jersey pretend to hate: Gov. Chris Christie. Without Christie, Booker would never have faced such an extraordinarily easy path to a full, six-year Senate term following a tenure as Newark’s mayor that left the city broke,  bleeding, divided, and  the model for how the rich and the white can reclaim a city through gentrification based on the destruction of neighborhood public schools.

Thanks to Christie’s expensive manipulation of election laws, Booker had an easy go of it in both the Democratic primary in August 2012 and the special election in October.  Booker returned the favor by tepidly campaigning for Barbara Buono. Here’s a challenge: Find a statement from Booker in 2013 in which he sharply criticized Christie while allegedly campaigning for Christie’s Democratic rival.

Booker, if he had any integrity, would have repudiated Christie’s corrupt use of election laws that cost New Jersey taxpayers $24 million. Instead, Booker accepted the gift and  used that corruption as a greased express train to Washington DC as the politician most undeserving of a Senate seat in modern history.

.Just how weak a candidate Booker proved to be was shown in how close the laughable candidacy of Steve Lonegan came to defeating him for the unexpired term of the late Frank Lautenberg, Christie’s and Booker’s shared nemesis. Despite outspending Lonegan $2.5 million to $180,000, Booker won by only 10 points.

bookerchristieChristie also helped by politically spaying his fellow Republicans, rendering them impotent and invisible against a Democrat who might have lost against a legitimate GOP challenger. Does anyone remember the Republican governor campaigning for the Republican Senate candidate? He has traveled the country campaigning for out-of-state Republicans–has he campaigned for Bell?

But Christie wouldn’t do that–because he and Booker had been buds and bros for years and the relationship continues. Does anyone really believe that Christie–with his power in the Republican party–could not have arranged for a stronger candidate than the superannuated carpetbagger, Jeff Bell?

Sure, Christie doesn’t want another strong Republican in New Jersey–but that wasn’t his only aim. He also wanted Booker to win the senate seat.

I have no special insight as to when and how the Booker/Christie political bro-mance started, but it has been going on for years. Look how Christie–abusing his power as US Attorney for New Jersey–so weakened former Mayor Sharpe James with his leaks to media about alleged corruption and his carefully timed issue of subpoenas.

Once Christie helped make Booker mayor, show me the evidence Booker ever took on Christie. When Christie cut aid to the city and forced the layoff of hundreds of the city’s cops, where was Booker? Where was his outrage? Show me his condemnation of the governor who helped create the bloodbath that was Newark in the last years of Booker’s failed mayoralty.

BLOGBOOKERCHRISTIE ZUCKI’ll tell you where Booker was–he was campaigning  to expand charter schools and to bring voucher schools to New Jersey. In 2011, instead of criticizing Christie for awarding the city’s streets to gangs, Booker was telling the Legislature that privatizing public education was “the civil rights issue of our time.” And who can forget the roll-out of the anti-public school junta orchestrated by Oprah Winfrey?

Oprah, Zuckerberg, Christie and Booker–now there’s a group with a lot in common with the people of Newark. But it’s always fun to hear fairy tales about how Booker saved grandmothers and pitbulls. Kept our minds off how blood ran in the streets of the city.

After he testified in favor of  the Christie/George Norcross voucher plan before a legislative commitee, I asked him why he wasn’t as passionate about  crime in the streets and the firing of police officers. Booker said he was but was able to speak privately to Christie about that. He had a special relationship with the Governor.

Right. He sure did. He sure does.

I don’t know the details of  who brought Booker to Newark from Harrington Park, Yale and Stanford. I don’t know who made him the Manchurian candidate who would rob New Jersey Democrats of legitimate leadership, but I have my suspicions–and they include Ray Chambers and Art Ryan, leaders of the Newark business elite who realized they could not gentrify Newark unless they destroyed the city’s neighborhood schools in favor of a privatized system of charter and voucher schools. If there is anything we know about New Jersey, it is that few white folks  send their children voluntarily to school with the children of black folks. That’s why experts here in New Jersey and throughout the nation consider the state’s public school system as “apartheid”–a system where 100,000 black children go to school every day without ever seeing a white classmate.

Booker came to Newark pushing school privatization.  He tried to pitch his idea to Sharpe James who laughed it–and him–off. Booker founded E3, a right-wing, pro-voucher lobbying group whose leader recently predicted Camden’s public schools would soon be eliminated. Booker took politicians and other opinion leaders on national tours of places where vouchers were tried.  Then he formed  formed his sinister alliance with Christie to ramp up the campaign–see Dale Russakoff’s article, “Schooled,” in The New Yorker. He helped bring Christopher Cerf to  New Jersey and his old campaign worker, Cami Anderson, to the city as school superintendent to force privatization down the throats of Newark residents.

Frankly, I don’t think Christie really gives a damn about what happens to urban schools. I don’t think he has the intelligence to conceptualize any serious approach to school reform.  But he knows what he doesn’t want, and he doesn’t want  either to desegregate public schools or to provide the funds required by law to improve them. He wants to keep them separate and unequal to schools in white suburbs.

Booker provided Christie with an out, a fig leaf, a change of subject–let’s privatize the schools and, as an added incentive, bust the public school employee unions. And Booker is, of course, an African-American who pretends to liberal credentials, so he could pull off helping his Republican friend Christie while still not losing his base among liberal white suburbanites who will vote for him, no matter what.

I can still heart Phil Ochs singing, “Love me, Love me, love me–I’m a liberal.”

In the tortured politics of now, Booker might be a liberal, a neo-liberal like Andrew Cuomo, but he is no progressive. Little wonder he has formed his deepest Senate relationship so far with crazy Rand Paul. Booker is an anti-public school, anti-public employee union, pro-Wall Street opportunist who betrayed the people of Newark. He’s the guy who, while campaigning as a surrogate for President Barack Obama, said criticism of Mitt Romney’s use of Bain Capital to destroy the lives of workers made him want to “vomit.”

I know Booker will win tomorrow,  but I do not believe he is the lesser of any evils. He and Christie have formed a partnership of evil. That partnership may some day make Christie president. But it already has weakened public schools and other neighborhood institutions in cities throughout New Jersey.

I am sick to death of those Democrats who warn of terrible consequences of voting against someone like Booker. Those terrible consequences already are happening now–and will continue to happen for however long voters are fooled into believing there really is much of a difference–aside from style and skin color–between opportunists like Christie and Booker.

It’s time to scare the Democrats straight. Maybe the party will purge its ranks of the likes of Booker, Joe DiVincenzo, George Norcross, and Steve Sweeney. They need to get the message that public institutions are not for sale to the highest bidder, whether they be public schools or campuses of Rutgers University.

Christie is telling New Jersey to sit down, shut up and vote for his bro, Cory Booker.

I say we should tell them both to sit down, shut up and get their slimy, money-stained hands off our public schools.

 

 

 

14 comments

  1. Michelle

    Booker will win . Jeff Bell is too radically fundamental. He will do nothing to prevent the ruination of women in terms of his anti- choice platform. Booker was always anice guy with clay feet. Add $100,000,000.from Facebook CEO, and Booker can be bought. Welcome to a political nightmare except for the wealthy.
    Let’s see how quickly he may try to distance himself from Christie after nov 4th. I will be undecided when entering the election booth tomorrow..

    There is no choice. Just need to choose the lesser of two evils.
    Afterwards, I will have to decide how I chose the lesser of two evils.

    • Galton

      I strongly Disagree with the “lesser if two evils” strategy. That approach may work if the issue were not as serious but Booker is owned by the reformers (sad but shamefully true). And, a
      US Senator can’t do as much damage as a Governor. Vote for the greater of the two evils!
      Save the progressives, Vote 4 a Dolt!
      Vote 4?Bell!!! Send a message to the bosses.

  2. Mythology

    Bob, all of what you say is true. I have become an advocate of Impeaching all those politicians that do not follow the mandates of people who they govern. A recall of both of these politicians is in order. How can Christie, Booker and Anderson waste millions of tax payer money and not be brought up on Federal charges. By getting them out of New Jersey we will be amazed at where they finally finish their political careers.

    One of the things that I have noticed about their plans to steal and rob money from New Jerseyis that they failed to take into account the push-back that both are getting from the people who have been motivated by people like you. This is no small thing. As I write this I realize that this push-back against stealing tax-payer money has to culminate in Impeachment. It’s the only way to save our children right now. Tomorrow I am writing in Mayor Ras Baraka for State Senator with my vote. To all the teachers and public workers who do not have Election day off, make the time to cast your vote. By not voting it leads to people like Christie who belittle, steal and promote corrupt people to cover up their own crimes. In his campaign against Corzine, he was told to “Sit Down, Shut Up” and you will be elected. So you have to cast your vote tomorrow.

    No more Problems, More Solutions!

  3. Joe

    What a wonderful state of affairs. You can vote for the bought and paid for corporate shill, lap dog to the billionaires and Wall Street banksters, vote for some right wing nut who wants to take us back to the gold standard, vote for some independent candidate who doesn’t stand a chance in hell of winning or don’t vote. Before there can be any progress, the big money has to be taken out of our corrupted political system and the recent pro corporate supreme court rulings need to be overturned or legislatively negated. That will be a heavy lift and will probably take many decades. Just look at how long it took for women to gain the right to vote or for blacks to overturn all those horrible segregation laws.

  4. Rev. Tony Johnson

    I sent my mail-in ballot for Ras Baraka for Senator weeks ago. I also did a write-in for County Executive. I love Codey and respect Holt, but it made sense to me to write in the name of one who has directly challenged Booker’s legacy.
    Bob, thanks for the picture of the Three Musketeers of School Privatization with their female D’Artagnan.

  5. Bill Wolfe

    Hi Bob – I come here, because you are one of the few people who get it on public education and write so well.

    But I wil disagree with this observation you made:

    “Frankly, I don’t think Christie really gives a damn about what happens to urban schools”

    I think you know darn well that Christie cares deeply about what happens in urban schools.

    This is about an historical long time abuse by the elites to maintain privilege by denying opportunity, and then blaming the victims for their failure to achieve, which then becomes both a justification for their privilege and an excuse to repress.

    No, Christie doesn’t care about the children and their education or the teachers.

    But he does care about his ideological project. Let me explain.

    The Right views the New Deal, Great Society, the social safety net, and the entire public sphere as illegitimate creations of the Democrats to build a political constituency to hold power. According to this cynical wold view, the Dems create “dependency” solely to perpetuate political power through patronage.

    So, they have embarked on a corporate dismantling agenda.

    Their strategy is crafted by people like Lewis Powell (google “The Powell memo”) and Karl Rove – one essential tactic is to divide and conquer by pitting progressive factions against each other while promoting right wing corporate interests.

    Thus, we see things like the culture wars, attacks on teachers and unions, charter schools, and “right wing populism”.

    The Karl Rove faction of the Right wing sees unions, black people, immigrants, working class, and environmentalists as the base of the Democratic party.

    They have attacked each element of the base with a ideological project that will create division and break what they see as the link between public funds and patronage politics, all while promoting corporate and partisan Republican interests.

    Thus we see Charter schools and attacks on teachers unions.

    They divide communities, channel public resources to private corporations, and pave the way for privates sector profits via gentrification and real estate projects.

    And tort reform – the trial lawyers allegedly provide money to Democrats as the force corporations to be accountable. Thus tort reform isn a twofer – just like Charter schools.

    We just saw the same thing happen yesterday on the environmental front, where an allegedly motherhood and apple pie “open space” ballot question end up slashing public parks and DEP regulatory programs, while rewarding private landowners and corporations with public money.

    It is evil and a very sophisticated right wing war.

    They for the Supreme Court years ago. Yesterday they captured Congress.

    In 2016, its the Corporate Coup d”etat as they get the Presidency – don’t be surprised if its Christie, who has proven so adept at advancing this agenda and hiding it behind right windy populist bluster.

    Bob Braun: Frightening but difficult, if not impossible, to argue with.

  6. mike

    Christie will never be president and will never even get the Republican nomination. He is as hated by the conservative base of the GOP as much as he is hated by the progressives. He is what is called a RINO: a self-serving political opportunist who has no moral guiding principles. He would readily switch parties if that presented the best way to advance his political aspirations.

    Booker is the same on the other side. Would make a great RINO. You could trade them between parties without blinking an eye.

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