by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Did Newark mayor Cory Booker really cross the Obama campaign when he defended vampire capital companies like Romney's Bain? Or was he just being truer to his own, and Obama's roots than presidents and their surrogates ought to be in an election year?
Don't Be Fooled. Cory Booker, Barack Obama & the Whole Black Political Class Love Bain Capital
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Barack Obama, Cory Booker and the entire black political class have a problem. They must deliver the votes of their people to the campaign contributors who make their careers possible. Their voters oppose unjust wars, privatizations of public assets and services, and corporate bailouts. Once safely in office, these are exactly the measures Obama, Booker and their colleagues enact. But right now Barack Obama and other Democrats need to be re-elected, and to be re-elected they must pose at least as half-hearted opponents of the bloodsucking model of parasitic venture capital practiced by Bain Capital, J.P. Morgan and other players..
It's not an easy act to sell, and sometimes Obama and his surrogates are caught in their own tangled webs. Romney's Bain Capital, like other vampire capital firms like it don't just have relations with Democrats as well as Republicans. They have deep institutional and personal ties with leading members of the nation's black political class. Bain's business models, along with reams of their business advice in the forms of pro bono “transition” and “turnaround” reports recommending the mass firings of public workers, especially teachers, and the wholesale privatization of local water, government payrolls, parking meters, garbage pickup, parks and recreation departments, and everything that can or cannot be nailed down have been common staples on the desks of incoming black mayors in Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Columbia SC, Atlanta and other cities.
When former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin swept into office in 2005 her pro-bono transition report was “the Bain Report” put together by Mitt Romney's colleagues intent on turning government services into lucrative business opportunities and pocketing the money saved by firing workers, reducing their benefits and eliminating their pensions while jacking user fees for the public to the maximum sustainable levels. Fortunately for Atlanta, the water privatization deal already done by her predecessor unraveled in spectacular fashion just as Franklin was entering office, creating a less favorable atmosphere for other immediate privatizations. Out of office, Franklin is a lobbyist and consultant to firms specializing in the privatization of education and government services of all kinds.
On last week's Meet The Press, Newark mayor Corey Booker rose to the defense of parasitic venture capital, declaring himself disgusted at what he called the useless rhetoric about how the nation's bloodsucking financial sector extracted its profits. Booker has his own relations with Bain and similar outfits, and looting the public sector at their behest is at the very center of his mayoral administration. You wouldn't know it from the national media coverage, but Cory Booker has been a relentless advocate of privatizing the city's water, parks, garbage collection and a whole range of public assets and services --- implementing the vampire capitalist model in Newark.
It's not easy either, for Barack Obama to pretend to be against what Bain Capital does, when his former chief of staff William Daley, brother and son to longtime Chicago mayors and one of the guys who wrote NAFTA, was a vice president at J.P. Morgan, a much bigger shark swimming in the same pool as Bain Capital. The Obama administration and its advisory bodies are riddled on every level with hundreds of vice presidents, lobbyists and functionaries of vampire capital. Barack Obama knows where his real allegiances lie, and what time of year this is. He'll score a few rhetorical points at the expense of Bain Capital. But his heart belongs to J.P. Morgan. He knows, and we should know, that talk is cheap.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.
Bruce Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.