11:26 a.m. August 13, 2013

Cory Booker: Stanford Libertarian?

Everyone’s now trying to figure out if Cory Booker developed his Silicon Valley connections (you know, the ones that set him up with the shady Waywire slushfund-startup) back when he studied at Stanford in the late 80s/early 90s— “at the same time as many people who would become some of the richest and most successful tech entrepreneurs,” says the NYT.

I’m currently busy on a big print feature about Booker’s weird political ties, but what I’m wondering is: Was Stanford also where Cory Booker got hooked on libertarianism? Let's look at the evidence!

Booker might be running as a Democrat, but he sure fits the libertarian profile—has ever since he got into politics.

For instance: In 2000, right around the time Cory Booker gave his first Manhattan Institute speech about the need to stop “entitlements” and federal government “wealth distribution”, a reporter from the Moonie Washington Times followed Booker around in Newark and was genuinely surprised:

“He’s not even a Democrat, if anyone wants to get technical about it. The majority of his views are either Libertarian or the opposite of what the national, state or even local party bosses say is the Democratic platform.”

Booker even had the movie taste of libertarian: a DVD collection restricted to sci-fi films and biblical epics. Yep, when a New York Times reporter dropped by his house in 2002, Booker told him that “there is little space in his routine for frivolities like fiction,” but apparently his distaste for “fiction” didn’t include episodes of Star Trek, “which Booker tapes most days and then watches while working out.”

In my previous post, I wrote about Booker’s anti-progressive politics and that he has long been seen as a cover tool of the right. “Black Trojan Horse for the Republican rightwing,” is how retired Harvard professor Martin Kilson, the first African-American to receive full tenure at that institution, described Booker in 2000. The reason: Booker didn’t try to hide his rightwing corporatist political agenda, which included bullshit ”neither left nor right" politics, privatization of public housing and public education, religious belief in markets and small government… Hell, back then Booker was endorsed for Newark mayor by WSJ’s Koch poodle John Fund and Reagan’s supply side clown Jack Kemp.

Even the people closest to him said Booker had libertarian politics: “He is pro-capitalist, pro-business. He’s pro-school vouchers,” is how Booker was described by his neocon Yale buddy Mark Gerson to the New Yorker magazine. Gerson wasn’t just a friend, he was one of Booker’s biggest campaign fundraisers in 2002. Booker’s dumbshit freemarket positions were the main reason why Gerson got involved in raising money for his campaign.

So let’s go through this once again:

  1. Sci-fi. Check
  2. Jesus nostalgia. Check.
  3. Tapes Star Trek. Check.
  4. Serious pseudo-intellectual self-image. Check.
  5. Third-way politics. Check.
  6. Pro-capitalist. Check.
  7. Pro-business. Check.
  8. Pro-school choice. Check.

Indeed, if you ignore the progressive halo that’s been planted on Booker’s head by mainstream progressives and go look at the beginning of his political career, it pops right out: Booker’s politics are straight outta the Koch-Walton-Bradly freemarket-thinktank industrial complex. No wonder why prof Kilson’s described Booker as “an errand boy Black politician for conservative Republican power-class penetration of governing control of Black Newark.”

But back to his days at Stanford. In 1992, while finishing up his MA degree at Stanford, Booker wrote an op-ed in the Stanford Daily admitting that he had been a hardcore homophobe—“I hated gays. The disgust and latent hostility I felt toward gays were subcategories of hatred, plain and simple.”—but had been converted away from his bad hateful thoughts by a gay counselor who made him realize the persecution of gays “was almost identical to stories my grandparents told me about growing up Black”…

The New York Times reported that Booker’s startup Waywire got money from one of PayPal founders, Reid Hoffman. H’mm…Wonder if Booker ran around with the rest of Peter Thiel’s libertarian Stanford crew—guys like Keith Rabois, who once screamed “Faggot! Faggot! Hope you die of AIDS” outside the home of a gay professor, something he later explained was "an experiment". Thiel later defended Rabois against PC critics, and the two would later go on to start PayPal. And Thiel of course became the multi-billionaire libertarian moneybag that he is today...

Whatever the case, I can say with total certainty that Cory Booker and Peter Thiel partied down at Sean Parker’s wedding.

Case closed.

Back channel chatter

  1. Yasha,

    You see this quote contained within: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/Cory_Booker_Is_So_Very_Awesome

    Elizabeth Warren is no Rand Paul. Thank fucking Gawd.

  2. Wow. Great find...

    So, now on top of everything, Cory Booker's praising Senate bagger babies Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and saying he'll emulate them. You can't make this shit up, folks.

  3. I have to blog-tip the great Charlie Pierce for that one.