Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Blurb on Cory’s election by the WSJ’s Jason Riley

Different Democrats

Oct. 18, 2013 11:51 a.m. ET


Cory Booker's double-digit victory Wednesday over Republican Steve Lonegan in New Jersey's special Senate election surprised no one. The Garden State hasn't elected a GOP senator in four decades, and Mr. Booker is considered by many (judging by his fundraising prowess, among other things) to be one of the most talented young Democratic politicians in the country.

Mr. Booker, a black Rhodes scholar educated at Stanford and Yale, regularly draws comparisons to Barack Obama, and many suspect that Mr. Booker, who is only 44, will someday run for president. But in at least one important respect the Obama comparison sells Mr. Booker short. As mayor of Newark, the state's largest city, Mr. Booker has taken on the teachers unions and pushed relentlessly for more educational options—including school vouchers—for low-income families. In other words, he is a Democrat from a blue state who has picked a fight with a special interest group that wields tremendous influence on the political left.


By contrast Mr. Obama, at the behest of the same labor groups that Mr. Booker has challenged, repeatedly tried to end the school voucher program in Washington, D.C., and might have succeeded but for opposition from House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans. More recently, the Obama Justice Department has sued to block a voucher program for low-income students in Louisiana.


Blacks overwhelmingly support school choice and have for decades. Both Cory Booker and Barack Obamaare aware of this, but only Mr. Booker has spent significant political capital putting the interests of students ahead of teachers unions. It is hard to see how black outcomes will improve—with respect to employment, income, crime rates, health and other measures—without better educational opportunities for kids stuck in crummy schools. Democrats like Mr. Booker seem to understand this. Democrats like Mr. Obama have other priorities.

 Subscribe in a reader