Earlier today, Scott quoted from an editorial in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette which contrasted Tom Cotton’s courage to the “go along to get along” mindset of his opponent, Mark Pryor. The editorial stated that, given Tom’s character, “it’s easy to imagine his sticking with principle even if the whole state went crazy again.”
Yes it is. Indeed, even though Tom has been in Congress for less than two years, we have already witnessed his ability to stick to his principles and resist following the herd.
Until recently, as I discussed last night, the Republican herd was running away from the interventionist position it had embraced for years. Last November, a Pew Research survey showed that 52 percent of Republicans believed that the U.S. does too much to help solve global problems, while only 18 percent believed we do too little.
Going against the grain, Tom consistently argued for greater U.S. involvement in the Middle East. In fact, Tom was the featured speaker at an AEI conference on the resurgence of al Qaeda. It was at this conference that Jessica Lewis summarized her findings about the successes of al Qaeda in Iraq (aka ISIS).
Tom also spoke out strongly in favor of air strikes in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. When John Kerry testified before the House Foreign Relations Committee, Tom was one of the very few congressman of either party to argue in favor of such intervention, and easily the most forceful advocate of that view.
This is not the place to reargue the merits of the administration’s request last year for authorization to strike Assad’s forces. My point is that Tom proved during this debate, and through his consistent hard line on issues relating to the war on Islamist terrorism, that he sticks to his principles.
Tom’s debut in public debate was his letter to the New York Times (not published there, but published by Power Line) denouncing two Times reporters for reporting secrets about how the U.S. was combatting al Qaeda. Back then, the Republican Party was still united behind an aggressive, proactive approach to fighting Islamist terrorists.
Since then, the Republican Party has wavered. Tom Cotton never has.
This is just what one would expect from a man who left a top notch law firm to enlist in the Army so he could lead men into battle against Islamist terrorists. It not what one would expect from his “go along to get along” career politician opponent; nor, as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette says, is Mark Pryor known for that kind of political courage.