Listen: Cory Booker on NPR

The value of an NPR interview is the intelligence and depth of the questions. That’s one reason I’m flagging this 7-min radio interview for you, conducted by host Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition. It’s the first in their series Opening Arguments, to explore the message of 2020 candidates. And Booker has a better shot at the White House than Christie did.

The lofty talk is familiar. Coalitions of conscience. Sacred honor. Courageous empathy.  You might be quite burned out on Booker’s uplift. So, I think I should tell you a story.

A couple years ago I attended the SIX (State Innovation Exchange) Conference in D.C. with Sen. Loretta Weinberg. It’s yearly confab of progressive state legislators – hundreds of them. The Minnesota delegation was huge, moving through the halls like a phalanx. Virginia was off in a corner, sharing session notes. The West Coast sent dozens. All Jersey pols had to do was jump on the Acela and hurtle down the I-95 corridor. But there was Loretta, all alone, New Jersey’s only (I was there as press). It was pretty star-studded: Eric Holder; the pastor at Standing Rock; Million Hoodies for Justice; Nancy Pelosi; Dr. Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who blew the whistle on the Flint water crisis. But when Cory Booker walked in the room a cheer went up. And when he took the microphone, every one of those 400 attendees’ cell phones went up to video every word. No lie. These were progressive legislators … and they were star-struck.

That’s what I think of when people tell me Cory Booker has zero shot. Mm hm.

Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

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