Weigel

Conservatives Want You to Know That Cory Booker Doesn’t Blow Enough Money on Government Workers

Cory Booker’s spending money on the wrong people.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Speaking (below) of campaign ads, here are two videos that Phil Kerpen’s American Commitment super PAC have put online to try, try, try and make the New Jersey Senate race anything but a snooze. Cory Booker is likely to win the Democratic primary, then to face Steve Lonegan, the Republican front-runner. Before this race, Lonegan ran Americans for Prosperity in New Jersey. Before American Commitment, Kerpen worked for AFP. It’s a nice gesture.

Still not sure about the ads.

Here, a lot of the work of bashing Booker is outsourced to Newark councilman Ras Baraka. The son of radical poet Amiri Baraka (nee LeRoi Jones), Ras Baraka is making a charge about Booker and crime that wasn’t actually backed up by data when he made it, in order to argue that the city needs a larger police payroll instead of a cheaper civilian payroll working phones.

The charge here is that Booker ignored and schools blew all the Zuckerberg money on consultants; Katie Pavlich at TownHall reports as much. That’s just not true, though, and it misrepresents the point of the gift. In 201, Zuckerberg picked Newark for a “challenge grant,” not for a lump donation—$100 million would have represented just 10 percent of the school system’s annual budget. The money’s been used for a patchwork of small funds, for (yes!) consultant pay, and for a renegotiated teacher contract.

So both ads actually hit Booker from the left. Actually, “the left” is underselling it—they make the arguments that the permanent left-wing rent-seeking groups would make. Meanwhile, Democrats are attacking him for being too much of a celebrity. And the race stays pretty damn predictable.