Some personal notes from the Cotton affair

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.”


Don’t know.

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.


6 Responses to 'Some personal notes from the Cotton affair'

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  1. Cotton seems to be Republican version of Bill Halter in his haste for ascension.

    Lewis Johnson

    7 Aug 13 at 1:36 pm

  2. If the quality of a person can be measured by the family they belong to, then Tom Cotton must be a quality man. His mother and I have known each other through the school business for many years, having shared graduate classes and similar jobs. She is a fine lady and a quality educator. Her brother, Tom’s uncle was my commander in the ANG and one of the finest men I have ever known and I am proud to have served under his command. So even if I may disagree on a political point from time to time, I refuse to question the quality of Tom Cotton as a man, as a patriot, as a public servant. Thank you for writing this article and perhaps it will help some other people temper the political fervor a bit. Politics has become dangerously devisive and threatens the very fabric of this country.

    Jim Belote

    7 Aug 13 at 2:08 pm

  3. […] By jbrummett […]

  4. […] By jbrummett […]

  5. How interesting that you bring up Cotton’s Democratic roots. It reminded me of an article I recently read online about his time at Harvard. He wrote a column for the Crimson twice a week, in which he called for mandatory campaign finance disclosure of campaign donations, favored banning cigarettes, attacked libertarianism, favored more zoning laws for businesses selling alcohol, and praised both Clintons!


    7 Aug 13 at 4:06 pm

  6. Cotton beats Pryor big here in cow chicken timber country
    even the Pryor name wont save him

    mike graves

    8 Aug 13 at 7:49 am

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