Monday, August 12, 2013

21st Century Cronyism, Same Old New Jersey

Raymond Chafin in Just Good Politics defined democracy as rewarding as much as possible those most responsible for getting you elected.

The former Logan County boss helped to expose the fact that some politicians consider their constituency to start with those who helped with the campaign, then those who cast their votes for you, then, and then only maybe, the rest of the people.  This is an underground culture of politics, lurking beneath the aboveground assertion that all politicians work for "the people."

This is why the New York Times  sounded the tocsin on Newark's Democratic mayor (and some say eventual presidential candidate) Cory Booker's techie startup called Waywire.

Booker's startup oozes with revelations common to the confluence of politics and big business.  He has strong connections with leading lights at Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and other companies.  Many of them invested heavily in Waywire. Add to the list of investors the ubiquitous Oprah.  Although struggling now, it had been expected to perform strongly.

Even more strange, Waywire's brain trust included the 15 year old son of CNN president Jeff Zucker.

Booker certainly understands how to cover media, business, and political bases.

Columbia Journalism Review in their write up added that "Booker will still owe . . . favors even when it (Waywire) goes under."

This is a new twist on an old game.  In the 1870s, John D. Rockefeller bought out and propped up West Virginia politico Johnson Newlon Camden.  Camden served as Rockefeller's right hand man in West Virginia and rode his patronage to the United States Senate.  Doubtless, Booker had hoped that his company would provide him with enough wealth to start a run for president.

No need to worry about Booker going on relief anytime soon.  Until he announced his Senate campaign, he collected $30,000 for speeches presented at public universities. And yes, he did speak at West Virginia University.

Booker and his backers both worked hard to build this shady enterprise.  Booker expected wealth and strengthening connections with the novae of the tech world.  Certainly the tech riche expected some political help in return if Booker made it to the Senate or farther.

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