Who Tom Cotton Is


Filed Under Obama News on Oct 6 

As a recent Gallup poll demonstrates, voter opposition to Obama is at a 16 year high, when comparing those who want to send a message opposing the president at 32%, against those who wished to send a message of support, at 20%. That’s noticably worse than what Clinton faced in 98 in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. So in a perverse sort of logic, we now have Clinton working the stumps in Arkansas to desperately separate Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor from the president. Unfortunately for Pryor, his Republican challenger Tom Cotton has managed to use Pryor’s voting record – he voted 93% of the time with the Obama’s proposals according to Cotton – to keep precious little daylight between the sitting Arkansas senator and Obama. In Arkansas, Obama’s job approval rating is at 31% with a disapproval rating of 62%. While the race for senator in Arkansas is reasonably close, Cotton is clearly ahead in a majority of the polls and seems to have numbers that are very solid and are holding up well in the final weeks leading up to November. By using Pryor’s voting record as a proxy for the Democratic senator’s approval of the job Obama is doing, he has forged an effective rhetorical weapon that he uses every time he hits the stage during the final run of his campaign to unseat Pryor. In a state with a 31% approval rating, where in the world can you find someone who gives Obama a 93% approval rating? That’s how Cotton starts off most speeches and it certainly seems to play very well in Arkansas.

Mark Pryor is, of course, the son of former Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator David Hampton Pryor, who served in the US Senate from 1979 until 1997. He is currently considered one of the more vulnerable candidates in the upcoming elections and maybe Arkansas is more than ready for a change. Tom Cotton, the son of Vietnam veteran, and a veteran himself with several decorated tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, is also a Harvard educated lawyer. To say he is an achiever is an understatement. With Tea Party ties and also the support of John McCain as well as Mitt Romney, he has built up solid relations within the GOP within a relatively short time. His famous letter – it was an email in fact, sent by the young lieutenant – to the NY Times, calling for charges of treason to be laid against reporters that revealed key details of a secret program against terrorist financial backers, has been used against him when he first ran for a House seat in 2010. It did not work, and despite the discomfort certain defenders of the 1st amendment might feel, it was a legitimate criticism of an editorial decision that likely ended up compromising the program itself, and costing lives. Lives like those of the soldiers under Tom Cotton’s command. What he wrote in that email is what many felt at the time, whether a majority or not. It was a bold and risky, even intemperate act to send that email, and it shows something about who Tom Cotton is. We will likely be finding out a lot more about who Tom Cotton is and what he believes over the following years.