He's my least favorite kind of Democrat: charming, articulate, popular, and incredibly conservative.
Cory Booker: the inexorable rise of Newark's neoliberal egomaniac | Jason Farago
Cory Booker, the hedge fund guys' favorite politician and the most self-regarding official in America, is more likely than not headed to the US Senate – and I can't imagine he's dismayed at the accelerated schedule. He may be esteemed by Wall Street tycoons and Hollywood titans, and worshipped by an unserious internet brigade that prefers its politics in GIF form, but Booker has not had a good run of it lately in New Jersey's benighted largest city. Carjackings – the signature Newark crime; they used to call it "the carjack capital" – have gone up for four years in a row. Violent crime, which had been declining in Booker's first years, has spiked again; in summer, things will get worse. Police have been laid off, firefighters too, as Booker has slashed city budgets. And when the mayor recently tried to get an ally of his on the city council, the meeting devolved into a ruckus, with police officers resorting to pepper spray.
Except for a stinging New York Times report last year, one doesn't hear much about the actual conditions of life in Newark – a city that, to what I suppose is Booker's credit, has made conditions friendlier for companies such as Panasonic (enticed with a $100m tax break) and the Manischewitz kosher wine firm. But oh, one hears an awful lot about Booker. All politicians are to some degree wannabe celebrities, but it has been a while since we have met a showman as narcissistic as him: a man who makes Chuck Schumer look camera-shy, who makes Michele Bachmann seem like a subtle media operator.
He sleeps in tents. He shovels snow. He brings diapers to stranded mothers. He runs into a burning building, then holds a press conference to celebrate his own heroism. He tried to live on food stamps for a week, which I almost admired – but then he told his story to Face the Nation, and then the Today show, and then the Daily Show, and then Piers Morgan on CNN.