Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Coming of Booker by The Politicker

It's a New York political blog, but it's worth diverting your attention for a moment to the sweet-smelling state across the river to ponder what Cory Booker managed to do yesterday.
He carried carried six of six council candidates to victory yesterday in Newark's runoff elections, ensuring that his allies will be sitting in each of the council's nine seats when he takes office on July 1.

It's a pretty amazing political accomplishment. Although Booker had a multi-million dollar financial advantage over his opponents, it wasn't as if the candidates who lost yesterday were nobodies. Several well-known incumbents went down, including Ras Baraka - the son of 9/11 conspiracy theorist and former state poet laureate Amiri Baraka. And another surprise loser was John James, the son of the city's domineering five-term Mayor Sharpe James.

The guy's a media monster. My guess is he's going to get more coverage in New York over the next few years than all but a handful of city and state officials.

The challenges Booker's going to be grappling with in one of the country's poorest cities makes for a compelling story, whether he succeeds or fails. (A documentary about his first, unsuccessful bid for mayor was nominated for an Oscar last year.)

And he's going to attract national attention for some of his more controversial ideas. He's a Democrat, for example, but has made himself a hero to national conservatives (and an enemy of the local teachers union) by proselytizing for school vouchers.

This is proof that Black Nationalism has failed in urban centers. Ras Baraka, a well known Black Nationalist failed to get re-elected. So did John James. If Detroit can elect someone who is for vouchers and charter schools as well as privitizing then we can get this city moving again.

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