Thursday, January 31, 2013

I think Cory Booker is...

...making a mistake in forgoing a campaign for governor of New Jersey this year. Instead, the mayor of Newark is expected to run for Democrat Frank Lautenberg's U.S. Senate seat in 2014.

I know what you're thinking: Huh? But Gov. Chris Christie is one of the most popular governors in America, and Lautenberg is 89 years old! Am I crazy?

Maybe. But maybe not.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that Booker has his sights set ultimately on the White House. (No!) What would be a better launching pad, the New Jersey governor's mansion or the United States Senate? Well, let's see. While President Obama ran successfully for president from the World's Greatest Deliberative Body (Zzzz), he was the first since John F. Kennedy to do so since 1960. Remember Barry Goldwater, George McGovern, Bob Dole and John McCain? All losers. How about Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush? That's right -- winners. If Booker is elected to the Senate (as I expect he would), he'd be just one of a hundred lawmakers. (Again, Zzzz.)

If I were advising the mayor, I'd tell him to run for governor and run the cleanest, classiest, most issue-laden campaign ever. No negative ads, no personal stuff, nothin'. If Christie's popularity holds up, Booker would lose. But so what? He'd be only 43 years old and have a sterling image in New Jersey voters' minds (and with the national media). After four years in which Christie would presumably be running for president, Booker would be only 47 and well-positioned for another run. In 2020, he'd be 51. That's a perfect age for running for president.

Now, what if Chris Christie's approval ratings fade by November (See: Bush, President George H. W., 1992) and Booker actually won? Then he'd be a giant-killer, have even more executive experience and be in a terrific position to run for president in either 2016 or 2020. (And have that media on his side, too.)

Don't get bogged down in the United States Senate, Mr. Booker. Go Big or Go Home!

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