It looks like Spartacus is going to try to run for president. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker hit up Iowa on Saturday – just hours after the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court – to tell Iowa Democrats they shouldn’t be discouraged and to “stay faithful.” Via Des Moines Register:
This is not a time to curl up. It is not a time to shut up. It is not a time to give up. It is a time to get up, to rise up, to speak up! It is time for you not to wait for hope, but to be the hope…You cannot love your country unless you love your fellow countrymen and women. Democrats will never be pulled down so low that we hate folk. We can’t hate Republicans. We need each other, as Americans. We’ve got to lead with love. You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people — all the people.
It sounds like Booker is going to try to take the ‘hope’ mantra from former President Barack Obama and run with it – although it’ll be curious if he’ll appear on the campaign trail in garb from the old Kubrick film or the Starz series. It’d be amusing if he tried, even though Booker swore to The Hill last month he didn’t mean to compare himself to the Grecian gladiator slave (yeah, right).
Booker’s speech is drawing raves from the usual circles with plenty of Democrats loving it – with POLITICO suggesting he’s taking more pages from the Obama playbook.
It was at this event In 2007, then called the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, where another 40-something, African-American senator — Barack Obama — delivered soaring remarks, leading some to declare that Obama won the 2008 Iowa caucuses that very night.
“You don’t give a speech like that unless you’re running for president,” Scott Brennan, Iowa Democratic National Committee member and a former state party chairman, said afterward.
Booker’s appearance couldn’t come at a better time for him politically, just as he comes off one of the most prominent stretches of his political career. Before a nation captivated by the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, the New Jersey Democrat played an outsized role as agitator: releasing key documents, walking out at one point, and seizing the spotlight at another by saying he was willing to risk expulsion from the chamber in what he called his “‘I am Spartacus’ moment.”
Booker’s hard-charging performance in the Senate Judiciary Committee commanded the attention of Iowa Democrats before he even arrived in Des Moines.
“He’s been a face of the resistance,” Brennan said. “We Iowans are stuck with Chuck Grassley and have been since the beginning of time. It was nice to see somebody who wanted to get to the truth.”
The last statement by Brennan is obviously on the Kavanaugh vote – and I’d be curious to see if the comments were the same if a Democratic SCOTUS nominee ran into the same accusations as Kavanaugh. My guess is no given whatever is going on with the accusations against Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison – but Booker could always surprise me.
Booker is a grandstander – he is a politician, after all – so his moves to get to the front of the line when it comes to the 2020 nomination makes sense. The shine may be off Michael Avenatti 2020, so Democrat voters may be looking for someone else to hitch their wagons to. Of course, there’s also California Senator Kamala Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden lurking in the shadows, along with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and ex-HUD Secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is probably considering a run, and ‘Independent’ Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will also push for a spot at the table.
Avenatti is the only one ‘confirmed’ candidate for 2020, while everyone else is playing the traditional ‘waiting to make an announcement about an announcement about an announcement’ game. Who knows if Spartacus 2020 will actually work and my guess is all his opponents need to do is run against Booker’s record in Newark to have a good shot against him.
Of course, it probably won’t matter since politics isn’t about policy – but about who has the most gregarious personality and ‘connects’ with voters the most.
I miss actual policy discussions. Like what the Kavanaugh debate should have been about. Alas…