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Can Dating a Celebrity Like Mindy Kaling Hurt a Politician Like Senator Cory Booker?

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actress Mindy Kaling attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Mike Coppola/VF17/Getty Images for VF)
Actress/writer Mindy Kaling attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Mike Coppola/VF17/Getty Images for VF)

 

“Washington is Hollywood for ugly people.”—Paul Begala

A joke Mindy Kaling (the star and creator of The Mindy Project) told on her show about U.S. Senator Cory Booker doing “anything to get out of Newark” has now led to the duo agreeing to go on a date.

Dating a high-profile celebrity, though, carries both upsides and downsides for a politician. Just so Cory knows what he’s getting himself into, RealClearLife has broken down a cost-benefit analysis:

The Positives:

Celebrities bring attention. For the benefits of name recognition, look no further than the White House. Donald Trump’s run was proof fame can be a powerful substitute for even campaign spending. And having Food Network star Sandra Lee as a significant other has been the right ingredient to make New York Andrew Cuomo be more relevant outside of political circles.

They make you way more interesting. Cory Booker may be a Senator, but until Mindy came along he hadn’t been popping up in People recently. And Henry Kissinger might be a former Secretary of State, but the most intriguing thing about him for generations younger than Baby Boomers is the fact he reportedly dated Candice Bergen, Shirley MacLaine, and Bond girl Jill St. John.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan
(Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidental Library/Getty Images)

The Negatives:

You can be overshadowed. Ronald Reagan was, of course, an actor before he became a politician and eventually the president. He married two actresses. The second was Nancy Davis, his spouse from 1952 until his death in 2004. The first was Jane Wyman. Quite simply, her career in show business dwarfed his. It hardly seems a coincidence they divorced around the time Wyman won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Johnny Belinda. Of course, by the time he reached the Governorship of California (and certainly when he moved into the White House), he cemented his starring role in his second marriage.

They have their own enemies. Let’s face it: if you’re a politician, a lot of people probably dislike you, so you don’t need to open potential new fronts of controversy. So Corey Booker may want to vet scripts from the upcoming season of The Mindy Project for potential damage control. (John F. Kennedy Jr., for example, was reportedly considering seeking office at the time of his death, which may have been why he was so private about an alleged past relationship with that queen of controversy, Madonna.)

—Sean Cunningham for RealClearLife