Is being telegenic the only remaining qualification for high office?

Posted by: Phineas on August 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Cory Booker is Newark, New Jersey’s, “rising star” mayor. He’s young, smart, personable, has a great online presence, and even rescues people from burning buildings.

Now he’s running for the federal Senate seat that came open when Frank Lautenberg died and, this being New Jersey, he’s almost certain to win. At The Corner, Jim Geraghty looks at Booker’s record in office and finds it awfully thin. And that’s being charitable:

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.”

Read the rest to see a list of Mayor Booker’s “accomplishments.”

So here we have another wildly hyped media-darling candidate who seems to be “all sizzle and no steak” seeking higher office based on… what? Being telegenic? Giving good sound bites? Being hyperactive on Twitter? Fixing the city’s budget and reducing crime seems so pedestrian by comparison.

Remind anyone of a certain president we all know?

To be honest, I find this “election by media mania” to be depressing. If you want higher office, you should prove yourself in lower ones, first, to show people what you can do. City council, state legislator, the mayor’s office — as long as you actually demonstrate competence, not just charisma. The Romans called it the “cursus honorum” — the course of honors. It was the path an ambitious Roman would follow from the lowest magistracies to the highest, putting in the needed time and gaining experience along the way.

Nowadays, you just need a web site and some starry-eyed fans.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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6 Responses to “Is being telegenic the only remaining qualification for high office?”


  1. kevino says:

    RE: “Is being telegenic the only remaining qualification for high office?”
    If so, then Sec. Hillary Clinton and Vice President Biden can’t win. That would be nice.

  2. Ike says:

    No. There is at least one other qualification and that is to have attended at least one of the upper crust idiots’ vacation palaces … ahem … one of the colleges and universities attended regularly by the spawn of our lords, ladies and masters. Graduation is not required, nor is any exhibition of the slightest iota of intellect. Just have been there and attended classes. Can’t just let any Rand, Sarah or Tom become one of the Lords of Nature; can we?

  3. Laura Nero says:

    Cory Booker was a city councilman, and then mayor of Newark. So while he IS telegenic, he’s also experienced.

  4. Carlos says:

    Yep, and, as the article notes, certainly has a long list of accomplishments to trumpet while holding those positions, too, Laura.

    Take the time he…

    Oh, well, you know that if he was elected to those public offices he HAS to have accomplished SOMETHING!

    Oh yeah, now I know what it is. He didn’t become such an embarrassment to the jackass establishment that they called for his resignation (as in the case of Filner), which really is an accomplishment considering the in-office antics of such Demo luminaries as Bubba and Barney. That in itself is an accomplishment, even though the bar is set so low it’s touching the ground.

  5. Drew the Infidel says:

    Politics is no place for those with a compulsion to be universally admired. Let Booker get into a vicious campaign for higher office and he will have a new “experience”.

  6. Zippy says:

    Being a native of NJ, initially I liked Booker’s enthusiasm but he ended up being another blow hard Democrat idiot.. I lost all respect for him going back when he had to back pedal on some topic or other.

    People don’t care about substance anymore.. He’s another dipwad who needs a kick in the arse.