The Hook (Hillary Under the Sun)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, June 14, 2015. (Detail of photo by Jim Young/Reuters)

And there is the hook:

Sen. Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack remain two of the leading contenders for Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential pick, but Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey is also under active consideration, according to a Democrat with knowledge of the process.

Booker, a freshman senator and former mayor of Newark, has drawn relatively little attention throughout Clinton’s vice-presidential selection process but remains a serious prospect. He was among the roughly half-dozen potential running mates who met with Clinton at her home in Washington on Friday, a fact first reported Thursday by Politico.

(Wagner and Gearan)

Please let this be the hook.

On Sen. Booker (D-NJ): It is easy enough to say if not Warren then Booker. But neither is Mr. Booker a second choice for lack of better. Nor, in that context, should we view Sen. Kaine (D-VA) or Sec. Vilsack (D-IA) so poorly. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). Photo by Jake Rosenberg/The Coveteur. But in the case of the latter, Hillary Clinton can at least perceive the need for someone less institutionally ensconced than either of these stalwart political résumés offer the powerful left-flank movement asserting policy influence, a bloc whose votes and continued support she needs.

Sen. Warren (D-MA) seems the obvious choice, but truth told there is a fine argument for what she can do from the Senate, but this also presumes enough pressure on Democratic leadership in the Senate to buck future Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (NY) and Whip Richard Durbin (IL). It’s a tough proposition, but the Senate Democrats under Elizabeth Warren and Patty Murray (WA) or Amy Klobuchar (MN) would be a powerful majority caucus; as a minority, it seems an easy suggestion that they would be more effective than what Mr. Reid (NV) has managed in the face of Republican intransigence. It’s all speculation, though. The bottom line is determined by Hillary Clinton, this time; she can perceive the need, but how will she address and reconcile it?

Elevating Sen. Booker as her running mate is one of the things she can do. And should anyone find cause to doubt we are getting civil rights president out of this, selecting Mr. Booker would put that question to rest.

And if, as Amie Parnes reported for The Hill in April, black voters are asserting a particular interest in and share of her success, Hillary Clinton has, in Sen. Cory Booker, a candidate who not only offers up a specific manifestation of that interest and share, but also just happens to bring powerful gravity to the ticket.

It is easy enough, while enduring the familiar complaint from some of my neighbors still hoping to Bern the place down, to recite a platitude about how Hillary Clinton will be a fine president insofar as she won’t wreck the place. You know, she’ll do just fine. It is also easy enough to shrug and acknowledge that of course we expect tremendously more; Hillary Clinton is going to be an excellent president, with potential for greatness.

Likewise, of course, Mr. Booker would be a fine vice president. Because it is easy enough to expect that he would be an outstanding vice president. And while it is also easy enough to speculate that the former Secretary of State perfectly capable of turning the screw in order to mean the manner, relative dimension, and quality of experience, thus turning to the essential newcomer, neither is it so difficult to acknowledge that point considered Ms. Warren.

And it would probably be a stretch, reading too much into it―

The Democrat familiar with the process emphatically denied that Booker remains in contention because he is black. Booker has impressed Clinton with his work as mayor of Newark and as a bold thinker and risk-taker.

―to call that vagary from an unnamed source from John Wagner and Anne Gearan’s report for the Washington Post any affirmation of either screw or turn.

You know. Probably.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and HUD Secretary Julián Castro have both suggested they aren’t about to be nominated. Mr. Kaine, for his part, stayed on message: “I said all along what I’m going to say now: I’m a happy senator, and I’m not looking for another job.” They always say that, though, don’t they?α

And if the WaPo article very nearly reads like advocacy, perhaps that is because there are reasonably conventional pathways by which the junior U.S. Senator from New Jersey is not simply still a contender, but, rather, the most obvious and logical choice under the sun.

This is fascinating.

No, really. It is. I promise.


α Once upon a time, that included Republicans, too.

Image notes: Top ― U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, June 14, 2015. (Detail of photo by Jim Young/Reuters) Left ― U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). (Detail of photo by Jake Rosenberg/The Coveteur)

Parnes, Amie. “Black leaders expect Clinton to deliver”. The Hill. 12 April 2016.

Wagner, John and Anne Gearan. “Sen. Cory Booker of N.J. remains under VP consideration for Clinton”. The Washington Post. 21 July 2016.

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