Random and extraneous thoughts from the Tom Cotton Show in Dardanelle yesterday:
“Do you remember when we met?” asked Lynn Cotton, local farmer and affable father of Tom.
Why, yes. It was at the Clinton Presidential Center as Lynn and Avis, Lynn’s school-teacher wife of 40 years, and Tom’s mom, presented themselves to me at a retirement party honoring the senior Cottons’ good friend . . . Congressman Vic Snyder, unabashed liberal.
Tom Cotton’s parents are old Arkansas Democrats, which means not liberal, necessarily, and perhaps reflects River Valley heritage more than philosophy. But it’s interesting.
Lynn said he didn’t know what he was by label anymore. I joked that he probably agreed with his son most days. He grinned and nodded.
Avis said she always reads my columns and even follows me on Twitter. So she knows I can get a little rough with her boy. But she was just as pleasant as could be.
Maybe I make too much. My momma disagrees with me only when we’re talking. But she loves me, I think, though I need to check a second source.
So I was waiting to exercise permission granted by Cotton’s press secretary to shake the man’s hand, and state Rep. John Burris, young Republican legislative leader and architect of the private option to Medicaid expansion, walked up.
I told Burris I was going to ask Cotton when he would do something as pragmatic as the private-option example given him by his young Arkansas political director. Meaning Burris.
Burris said, “He’s going to surprise you on that.”
Minutes later Burris stopped by with some “irony.” Some right-wing petitioners were at the event seeking his permission to cirulate petitions table-by-table to repeal the private option, which they were fraudulently calling “Obamacare.” Burris told them they could seek signatures outside, but not go table to table to bother the barbecue feasters.
“Impressed with Cotton?” a Republican strategist asked me.
Yes, I said, regarding what I deem to be his discipline at saying on message. But, no, I said, regarding his public speaking or his ease of relating to people in a retail politics kind of way.
“Tossup,” said the strategist, meaning this Cotton-Mark Pryor battle.
Yes. So close to the bitter end that no dollar will dare go unspent, or accusation unhurled, by either side.