What’s So Bad About Booker?

Corey Booker Thanks Constituents After Winning Primary

Most Americans haven’t heard of Cory Booker, who is almost certain to be New Jersey’s next Senator. Pareene provides an unflattering introduction:

In many ways, Booker is perfectly suited for the United States Senate. He won’t be expected to accomplish anything. He will have so many more opportunities to spend time with even more rich people with elite backgrounds and worldviews similar to his. He will have much more access to television studios and Sunday shows and cable news cameras. He will, in short, be the worst kind of senator. The kind that has no power and no real desire to exercise power on behalf of the people the senator ostensibly represents, but the kind that always expresses opinions on television about whatever national issues people on television care about that day.

Enten thinks that Booker will “probably be right in the middle of the Democratic caucus” and places him “slightly to the right of then junior Senator Barack Obama of Illinois“:

That said, it isn’t Booker’s style to stay quiet. He isn’t likely to put his nose to the grindstone and table pieces of legislation that please your tax accountant and nobody else. This is a man who thrives on the affection of fans on Twitterwho runs into buildings that are on fire, who likes to be heard.

So, if Booker isn’t going to make very liberal comments or pass very progressive legislation, then how will he make his presence felt? He’ll do what Obama promised to do when running for president: reach across the aisle.

Weigel is surprised that “that no Democrat ever scored a hit on the guy, who is loathed by some progressives in a way that’s only now being noticed”:

How often do Republicans toss out a conservative for a “gosh, guy, I want to cut deals” moderate? The only progressive argument for Booker, honestly, is that there have been only four African-Americans ever elected to the U.S. Senate, and from only three states, and that the long-term interests of a party that depends on huge minority turnout adding to white liberal turnout are served by promoting nonwhite stars.

Scott Lemieux doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about:

[I]f I’m going to be sold on the idea that he’s some kind of unique threat to the Democratic Party, I’d like someone to name one issue on which he’s to the right of the prohibitive frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

(Photo: Newark Mayor Corey Booker greets people along with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer (R) at the Hoboken PATH station after winning the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate on August 14, 2013. Booker will face off in a special October election against former Bogota, NJ mayor Steve Lonegan to fill the empty Senate seat left formerly held by Frank Lautenberg, who died on June 3rd. By Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images)