Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, sat down with the Big Red Car in Zilker Park in Austin By God Texas along the banks of the dammed Colorado River known as Town Lake or Lady Bird Lake for a free ranging interview about his Senatorial career and his decision to run for President of the United States.
“Welcome to Austin, Senator. Have you ever been here before?”
“Yes, but I can’t remember when. What a lovely city. Not to be critical, but I think you need a good washing. Sorry.”
“Well, I actually need a good paint job, if the truth were known. But, we’re here to talk about you and your decision to run for President. Where would you like to start?”
Booker cleared his throat, turned a powerful profile to the skyline and said, “Let’s begin with my upbringing.”
“So, your parents were both high level IBM executives. No ghetto life for you? No street cred?”
Cory Booker laughed with one of those laughs like when you get caught picking your nose at a traffic light.
“No, ghetto Cory. My parents, Cary and Carolyn, were first rate nerds.”
“Tell me about your education, please, Senator.”
“Bad ass football player in high school led me to Stanford where I got an undergrad degree in poly sci — that’s political science. Get it?”
“Yes, thank you, Senator, I recognize the name. Afterward, masters in sociology. Then, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford’s Queens College followed by Yale Law School. Very impressive education. You ever feel like becoming a rapper?”
“That’s a racist comment, Big Red Car. Not funny.”
“Fair play. It was a little out of line. Guess I was reacting to your privileged existence. Now, I know you used to live in a rough part of Newark when you were Mayor. That counts.”
“I was a member of the Municipal Council of Newark. Do you remember my hunger strike? That I lived in a tent? Then a motor home in the ghetto? I may not have grown up ghetto, but I worked the ghetto angle when I could.”
“Yes, I remember all of that, Senator. Some folks in your party thought you were a grandstander, but we can discuss that later. Let’s switch to your Presidential aspirations. Folks say you are a liberal. Fair?”
“I am as liberal and progressive as you can get. AOC’s New Green Plan? On it. Supporter from the beginning. If it’s on the left, I am on it.”
“Have you read the New Green Plan resolution?”
“No, but I don’t need to. If it’s lefty, I am on it.”
“OK, fair play. Before we go completely Presidential. You lost a very ugly mayoral election in Newark that was chronicled in the documentary Street Fight. Remember that?”
“Hell, yes. My opponent, Sharpe James — real name, I swear to God. He called me a Republican who took money from the KKK and the Taliban. Said I was helping the Jews take over Newark. Let’s top there — maybe the Jews want to take over Palm Beach, but Newark? He said I wasn’t black enough to understand the whole Newark vibe. Son-of-a-bitch said I was a carpetbagger.”
“Were you? You had no ties to Newark. Why did you want to be a politician in Newark?”
“Big Red Car, let’s move on. Let’s discuss policy.”
“OK, as you wish. The other day you came out in opposition to meat and cheese. The most common combination of meat and cheese is in the venerable cheeseburger. Are cheeseburgers — and I guess by extension those who eat cheeseburgers — a serious or viable political philosophy?”
“I intend to wipe out cheeseburgers in my lifetime. Nobody has a right to eat a cheeseburger. The United States has tons of vegetarians and they have no representation at the highest levels of American politics. I am that man. Here’s my serious anti-cheeseburger face. Pretty good, huh?”
“Senator, Donald Trump has been a fast food eater — some say a glutton — for his entire life. During the government shutdown, the man served McDonald’s to the visiting Clemson football national champs. He was able to win the presidential election. Is being a vegan, being anti-cheeseburger actually a governing philosophy?”
“He served McDonald’s and Burger King in the people’s White House. He defiled the people’s house. The man has to go. Served them under the woeful, disapproving eyes of Abraham Lincoln himself. The man is a ….. Let me take a minute to compose myself, please, Big Red Car.”
The Senator walked to the edge of the river, wiped his eyes, his body shook as he breathed deeply before returning.
“For the record. I am a proud vegan. I intend to be the first vegan President. I am against Tabasco sauce on pork rinds, the Filet-O-Fish, chicken fingers, and pizza. Let’s move on.”
“You realize that you have just opposed almost the entire American population — cheeseburgers, pork rinds, chicken fingers, and pizza? You realize that, right?”
“Move on, Big Red Car.”
“Last question? Sushi? What does a Booker admin look like on sushi?”
“I do not befoul my physical temple with fish bait. Move the fuck on, Big Red Car.”
“Senator, no turkey leg at the Iowa State Fair?”
“No. God damn it.”
“No Fletchers Corn Dog at the Texas State Fair?”
“No. No. A thousand times no.”
“The American meat industry is a trillion dollar business. That industry carries a lot of weight in places like Iowa. They have an army of lobbyists. What say you?”
“Look, I will take anybody’s money. I am, after all, a politician. But, I will not eat meat. No cheeseburgers.”
“OK, Senator, dairy? Does a Cory Booker presidency turn its back on all-American cold milk and chocolate chip cookies?”
“Milk is from an animal. I don’t eat anything from animals. Almond milk? OK, but milk from cows. No bueno.”
I tried to regroup, but the Senator cut me off. An aide whispered in his ear and then he turned to me.
“Look, Big Red Car, I feel like you’re ambushing me here. Let’s call it a day, shall we?”
“Kamala Harris? Running mate?”
“Willie Brown’s Lap Dance Barbie — haha, love that. I said it to her face and she slapped the snot out of me. Tough woman. I just don’t see it. Now, Big Red Car. I must go. It’s been real.”
“Senator Booker, only eight percent of the US is vegetarian. Less than two percent are vegan. Thin gruel. Does that make a winner of you?”
“What did you say? Only eight percent of the US is vegetarian? Two percent vegan? I may need to rethink this.”
Later that afternoon, a campaign aide was seen slinking away from the Burger Bar on Congress Avenue. He was carrying two large brown paper bags stuffed to the gills with cheeseburgers — extra cheese.
I think Cory Booker is going to be a very interesting candidate — extraordinary education — though I think the no turkey leg thing at the Iowa State Fair is going to be a problem. Maybe he can eat a cucumber on a stick?