Seriously. Senator Mark Pryor’s latest attack on Tom Cotton has become something of a scandal. Here is Pryor’s ad, accusing Tom of being pro-ebola, or something:
This is how the Cotton campaign responded:
Coming soon to a TV near you: Tom Cotton hates puppies, baseball, and apple pie. …
Cotton spokesman David Ray responded to the ad, saying: “Senator Pryor’s desperation is comical. In Senator Pryor’s world, he doesn’t have to take responsibility for rubber-stamping the Obama agenda over 90% of the time, but wants Arkansans to believe Tom Cotton is responsible for everything from Ebola to crabgrass and male-pattern baldness.” …
Then there’s the truth of the matter. Tom Cotton voted for passage of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 – the same bill Senator Pryor supported in the Senate.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas’ only state-wide newspaper, blasted Pryor and added more background on the ebola “issue”:
Pryor’s attacks on Tom Cotton may be laughable, but that doesn’t mean the race isn’t close. Pryor has the vast weight of the Democratic Party machine–and Democratic Party money–behind him. The Atlantic reports that the Democrats have unleashed a massive effort in Arkansas: “Democrats are spending more than five times as much money in Arkansas, and have four times as many field offices and triple the number of staff [as Republicans].” Tom is a great candidate, but no one can win a modern election without being reasonably competitive financially. Republicans don’t need to be as well-funded as Democrats–they virtually never are–but they need the resources to get their messages out.
It seems Congressman Cotton, as is his way, made another of his lonely stands for principle not long ago, in this case economy and local control, by opposing an early version of a bill that would have set aside a lot of federal dollars to prepare for a pandemic. In its original form, the bill would also have given the president still more power to order around physicians, nurses, health workers and local administrators. Call it Obamacare for disasters.
By the time the bill was changed to meet such concerns, Congressman Cotton (as well as Senator Pryor himself) would vote for it. That’s pretty much the way the legislative process is supposed to work, with conscientious members of Congress pointing out any flaws in a bill till, through negotiation and discussion and most of all deliberation, a better bill emerges.
This is the deliberative process that Tom Cotton helped further. But by Mark Pryor’s partisan interpretation, the congressman was just encouraging Ebola to sweep the country. It’s a toss-up which is worse: the panicky atmosphere that a possible plague engenders, or the kind of opportunistic politicians who exploit that kind of fear.
Tom Cotton is one of our “Picks” for 2014; see the right sidebar on the main page. If he wins, he will be not just a great senator, but one of the leaders of the conservative movement for a generation to come. But he can’t win without your help. Please go here and contribute whatever you can to Tom’s campaign.
We went into this campaign cycle with everyone expecting a big year for Republicans. That may yet happen. But the conventional wisdom is that the winds are shifting, and Democrats are doing better. Democratic voters are becoming more energized. That is not because the Democrats’ policies have improved any, or because the Obama administration has gotten any less incompetent. Rather, it is because of the Democrats’ efforts to whip up their voters, and mislead independent voters, with absurd attacks like Pryor’s ebola ad. These tactics are disgusting, but they will succeed unless every conservative gets into the game and supports some of the many great candidates running for office this year.