Former Newark Mayor and current U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) was a great mayor, and is a great senator, but he really needs to work on his campaign surrogacy game.
At a Hillary Clinton campaign rally Monday night, former President Bill Clinton went on a bit of a riff comparing supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) with Tea Party supporters who swept Republicans into huge congressional majorities in 2010 and 2014:
It’s not altogether mysterious that there are a lot of people that say, well, the Republican Party rewarded the Tea Party. Just tell people what they want to hear, move them to the right, and we’ll be rewarded, except they didn’t get anything done. Then that’s going on now in our party. If you don’t deal with the fact that we are too politically polarized, and we keep rewarding people who tell us things we know they can’t do because it pushes our hot button, we can’t go forward together.
While I would strongly disagree with President Clinton that the Tea Party got nothing done, or that they wouldn’t have gotten more done with a Republican president, the specific comparison, in terms of political temperature, is solid. Is he trolling Sanders supporters a little bit? Sure.
Cut to Tuesday morning, where Sen. Cory Booker is making what I believe is his first appearance as a Hillary Clinton surrogate this cycle on Morning Joe, while also promoting his new book “United.” Because he’s Joe Scarborough, host Joe Scarborough decides he’s going to get cute with Booker and continuously ask him if he agrees with President Clinton that “Tea Party supporters have something in common with Bernie Sanders’ supporters” until Booker answers definitively.
The problem is that even after the seventh or eighth try, Sen. Booker never gets around to it, or figures out a way to shut Scarborough down:
This isn’t that complicated. After the “distraction” gambit doesn’t work, you simply say “I think the former president’s remarks speak for themselves, and I agree with the narrow point that he was making,” or “I hope that a major difference ends up being that Sen. Sanders’ supporters will then support Hillary once the nominating contest is over” or something like that. Disagreeing with the candidate’s husband is out, and blathering for three minutes like a deer in the headlights is out, at least as far as effective campaign surrogacy is concerned.
It’s an inauspicious start for Senator Booker, who screwed the surrogacy pooch in much more spectacular fashion in 2012 when he called Obama campaign attacks on Bain Capital “nauseating,” and who until recently has been heavily promoted as a possible VP pick by some of Hillary’s most influential donors.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.