If you believe the polls, Newark Mayor Cory Booker is expected to cruise to victory in the Aug. 13 Democratic primary for the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-NJ) Senate seat, as well as the Oct. 16 general election. And nothing in last night’s Democratic primary debate seemed to change that trajectory. So let’s raise the larger question about this campaign: What kind of senator would the 44-year-old Booker be? Our educated guess – he would be a disruptor, in ways that could be interpreted as both good and bad, depending on your view of the U.S. Senate. You would see him partner with someone like Rand Paul on legislation; you would see him alienate some of the old bulls, both Democrats and Republicans (just like he alienated Lautenberg when he started to eye the seat before the incumbent said he wouldn’t run for re-election); and you would see him become the first true social-media senator (with his 1.4 million Twitter followers). So you could have a disruptive force in one of the government’s most orderly and decorous bodies. That could produce some interesting results and stories and surprising rivalries and surprising bedfellows. The way Ted Cruz has lit up the right in his first 9 months, don’t be surprised if Booker becomes a liberal counterweight to Cruz. He’s unlikely to pursue the strategy that Hillary, Franken and Elizabeth Warren have all pursued or are pursuing and that is to keep a low profile in his first term. That’s not how Booker ticks.
Nate Cohn thinks Mitch McConnell remains a heavy favorite to win reelection, despite current publicity.
Christie checks the crucial boxes of the religious and business wings of the Republican Party. He’s pro-life and he’s against gay marriage. He has solid credentials opposing taxes and attacking unions, which will eventually compliment a reformist, conservative domestic policy agenda. His great acts of moderation are on immigration, where many of the contenders are on the sage page, or on guns, which isn’t anything close to a litmus test—especially in the states Christie is counting on. Maybe Medicaid expansion will be a big issue, but history suggests that Republicans are willing to nominate candidates with deficient conservative credentials, so long as they don’t violate a few sacred rules about abortion and taxes.
It’s surprisingly easy to envision Christie winning the nomination. His conservative credentials are pretty good, so now all he needs to do is get Republicans to remember. That shouldn’t be hard for Christie. His charisma and brass-style will make him an excellent Obama-, union-, and liberal-basher once he wins reelection. It’s easy to envision him cleaning up the debates, like Newt Gingrich before South Carolina. It’s worth recalling that he was once a Tea Party favorite for exactly this reason. Unlike 2008, when Giuliani’s northeastern starting point was interrupted by Romney and McCain, there’s not another northeastern, maverick-y candidate to prevent Christie from doing well in a state like New Hampshire, Michigan, or Florida.
Other people are going to say Hillary Clinton so I’m going to say Chris Christie. He’s got a tough needle to thread in the next few years.
Former Congressman Allen West has become a business. But it’s worth noting how uninteresting his actual record was, and how badly he fared as a candidate for office.
At the same time, beneath his brash exterior, the former Army lieutenant colonel knows how to fall into line. No matter how outlandish the statement, he keeps a deadpan tone, so he never seems unhinged. And, according toNational Journal‘s analysis of congressional votes, he was only the 110th-most-conservative member of the House in 2012 — the middle of the GOP pack. He left Congress in the good graces of the Republican leadership, meaning he was deft enough to please the GOP establishment and the Tea Party at the same time.
Still, even some in West’s orbit doubt that a man with his track record — he lost a district that Mitt Romney won, despite a $19 million war chest and a young opponent who had never held office — should be driving much of anything. “It’s one thing to be beaten by the sheriff or the county commissioner, but to be beaten by a 29-year-old construction executive who worked at daddy’s company — that’s a sad commentary,” says a former adviser who requested anonymity to speak candidly. The No. 1 job of any elected freshman in Congress is to get reelected, and West failed. “Anybody in politics who can put two and two together can come to that conclusion,” the adviser says.
Q: You are pretty tough on Obama in your book.
DB: Neither side rose to the moment of trying to overcome where we were with our paralysis and negativity. Obama decided the best way to overcome that was to win convincingly. Everything we’ve seen since is that that didn’t work.
Late night comedians are currently more likely to use Democrats as punch-lines. I think it’s a combination of scandals with Weiner and Filner, in addition to Democrats being in charge. There aren’t as many high profile Republicans to hit.