In this #MeToo environment, Cory Booker's obsession with giving hugs and talking about love is a little off-putting.
But, did you know that Booker is an "earnest" politician? That's what New York magazine really wants to get across in its new profile of Booker: "Can I Get a Hug?"
"Cory Booker's got a lot of love to give," the magazine explains. "And he's betting that's what it will take to win in 2020." Or maybe the American people will be creeped out.
Booker is "touchy-feely." Everyone on his staff hugs reporters when they walk into his office. In Newark, N.J., he does not go 20 paces "without a hug and/or kiss and/or selfie."
Set aside the problematic nature of hugging strangers, Booker is also "constitutionally compassionate" and speaks in insufferable and indecipherable New Age language about love. For instance: America is a "physical manifestation of a larger conspiracy of love." Another: "If this country hasn't broken your heart, you don't love her enough." "America would have finally found out who she is" if Hillary Clinton had won. Or my personal favorite: "Tolerance says I couldn't care less; love says I couldn't care more. Tolerance crosses the street when it sees you coming; love confronts love and embraces." Really makes you think.
Can you believe he's a vegan, too?
"Cory Booker is in real trouble, because he is earnest in the extreme," New York explains. There's that word again. He "talks about love and kindness and compassion and empathy all the time."
That sounds fun. See, Booker and his "unabashedly sincere self" are running in 2020 because Booker cares too much. Indeed, he thinks it "would be irresponsible" not to run for president.
But it's not all unicorns and rainbows. Booker has a dark side. New York fails to mention bad Cory, except to say sometimes he gets angry and has "eruptions" in the Senate, like when he "pressed" Mike Pompeo about gay sex during the secretary of state's confirmation hearing.
"But there is that question of how he rubs people," New York writes. Is that so?
Even Democrats have to admit Booker and his political stunts are "a little ridiculous, and the opposite of authentic," said Nick Merrill, a former Hillary Clinton adviser. But his gifts as a politician shouldn't be dismissed. After all, he "brought out a lot of sparkle" in Hillary when he was on the short list for VP in 2016. No small feat.
Booker has the potential to run in 2020 as a "change agent" and the "capacity to project into the future," according to John Podesta (a community organizer who has "passed very few pieces of legislation" but is "good at creating a conversation" on social media. Great.).
But can you be a "forward thinking" politician when everything about you reeks of a 1970s kumbaya jam session at the hippie commune? (At least that's what he's going with today). I guess it's more along the lines of "I'd like to buy the world a federal jobs guarantee and Medicare for all."
New York magazine wonders whether Booker will have a chance in 2020 because America has "soured on earnestness." Or maybe they soured on overly ambitious, phony, partisan hacks. Who needs a hug?