Progressives Hate the Idea of Sen. Cory Booker

He's more interested in the wealthy than the poor is a common refrain

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 14, 2013 11:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – Cory Booker now looks poised to become Senator Cory Booker in this fall's special election in New Jersey, a feat that would make the high-profile Newark mayor only the fourth black person elected to the Senate. So why are there so many raspberries coming from the left after last night's primary win? Because he "is loathed by some progressives in a way that's only now being noticed," writes David Weigel at Slate. "A Booker victory will mean the replacement of a reliable, plodding progressive with a less reliable neoliberal." Or as Alex Pareene at Salon put it, Booker is "an avatar of the wealthy elite, a camera hog, and a political cipher who has never once proposed anything to address the structural causes of the problems he claims to care so deeply about."

He'll follow that same superficial path in the Senate, predicts Pareene. Ed Kilgore at the Washington Monthly sums up the Booker phenomena thusly: "For admirers, he’s the next Barack Obama, a charismatic African-American pol with possible transpartisan appeal. To detractors, he’s an unholy combination of Harold Ford Jr., and Joe Lieberman, beholden to Wall Street and Silicon Valley." The bigger issue for critics, he adds, is whether Booker has White House ambitions. For more on the liberal unease with Booker, see the Week.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker addresses a gathering after winning the Democratic primary election yesterday.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker addresses a gathering after winning the Democratic primary election yesterday.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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