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Presidential Ambitions In A Democratic Senator Are A Good Thing


I’m afraid I must dissent from my colleague’s post below on a couple points. I certainly I agree that Booker will be a self-aggrandizing blowhard, although a few noble exceptions aside for a United States Senator the description approaches tautology. Based on what little I know, I wouldn’t have voted for him in the primary if I was a New Jersey voter. But 1)really, let’s not forget what a colossal asshole Joe Lieberman was; Booker will never approach that level. And 2)presidential ambitions are a good thing. Even if he has no core beliefs, having presidential ambitions will mean that he will vote pretty much a straight Democratic line. (He may be many things, but he’s not dumb, and I think he saw how Lieberman’s strategy of running for the Democratic nomination on the platform of how much you hate Democrats worked out.)

Could New Jersey Democrats do better? I’m sure, although they can also do worse (and note that actual plutocrat scam artist with no core beliefs Jon Corzine was one of the most liberal votes in the Senate.) The McCain comparison is in a sense a good one — for all is reputation for “reasonableness,” McCain (apart from a brief period when he was motivated by personal animus against George W. Bush) never voted against his party on any vote that meant anything. That’s what senators with presidential ambitions do. Booker will be an annoyance, but he won’t be Lieberman.

…to expand a bit on something I said in comments, I think the core of the disagreement is that I think the extent of Booker’s concern trolling is being exaggerated. He’s not Zell Miller or Harold Ford. He’s more like Chuck Schumer or Joe Biden — a fairly standard issue moderate liberal Democrat who’s overly protective of the local plutocrats. That’s not admirable; I’d prefer Elizabeth Warren. But if 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.

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