Cory Booker has the largest hype-to-accomplishment ratio of anybody on the political scene since . . . well, since a guy who had been in the U.S. Senate for two years decided to run for president.
Newark is pretty much the same economically struggling city it was when he started; as the New York Times noticed,
his constituents do not need to be reminded that six years after the mayor came into office vowing to make Newark a “model of urban transformation,” their city remains an emblem of poverty. . . . A growing number of Newarkers complain that he has proved to be a better marketer than mayor, who shines in the spotlight but shows little interest in the less-glamorous work of what it takes to run a city.
He failed to disclose the extent of his holdings in his tech startup, which increasingly looks like it was designed to win Booker wealthy friends in Silicon Valley.
He failed to disclose his payments from his old law firm that did business with the Newark city government.
He ditched a Senate debate to hold a fundraiser with Oprah.
He broke his pledge to finish out his term as mayor.
So what is Booker good at? Photogenic publicity stunts like snow-shoveling, food-stamp diets, and, to his credit, fire rescue. Sure, he uses Twitter, but then again . . . so does Anthony Weiner.
Perhaps most important, Booker is good on television. Maybe that’s all he needs.
UPDATE: Another key component of Booker’s success: shamelessness.
“I do believe we have met requirements for disclosure and transparency and we’ve gone above and beyond what most of the — all of the candidates in this race have submitted to in terms of disclosure,” Booker told NBC News in a wide-ranging interview the day before the Democratic Senate primary.
See, no, you really didn’t.
The investment has been public for over a year, but he amended his federal financial disclosure forms in July 2013 to show his stake in Waywire is worth between $1 million and $5 million. He amended his forms with the city of Newark last Tuesday, a day before the Times story was published.
Later in that interview with NBC, he declares he believes that candidates should release their tax returns . . . and that he’ll release his tax returns sometime in the future — after tomorrow’s primary.