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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Republicans pick a bale of Cotton

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In other words, they are packaging yet another future Presidential hopeful to add to the roster of crazy they’ve already ginned up. Yes, I’m talking about Senator Tom Cotton (R), the junior senator from Arkansas.

Not content with having him lead the pack of 47 Senators attempting to subvert the President and Commander in Chief over Iran negotiations, (denounced by editorial boards across the nation) he just finished doing the torture photo-op tour of Guantanamo.

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton is touring the United States’ Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba Friday along with some freshmen Republican senators, according to a report.

Joining him on the trip are Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma.

In case, in all the fury around Cotton leading the band of 47 Senators in their drumbeats towards war with Iran, you don’t remember his thoughts on Gitmo, Cotton wants it expanded-not shut.

Cotton has previously slammed President Barack Obama’s call for Guantanamo’s closure, saying last month that the United States “should be sending more terrorists there for further interrogation to keep this country safe.”

“As far as I’m concerned, every last one of them can rot in hell,” Cotton said of Guantanamo prisoners during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in February. “But as long as they don’t do that, they can rot in Guantanamo Bay.”

Let’s be Kristol-clear about Cotton.

He is not only pushing for war with Iran, but his voting record on a whole bundle of issues is anti-citizen.  

More cotton-mouthed b.s. below the fold

Back in January, The New Republic posted:

This Dark Horse Could Blow Up the 2016 Republican Primary

Cotton would be well-positioned to run to the right of Bush or Romney-or for that matter, almost anyone. He cast himself as an outlier even from the Arkansas Republican delegation when he voted against the Farm Bill (the “Food Stamp Bill,” Cotton called it) and against disaster relief (“I don’t think Arkansas needs to bail out the northeast,” he said when he voted against the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Bill). He voted for the Republican Study Committee Budget-sort of a Paul Ryan Budget on steroids that would eventually raise to 70 the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare-and during the shutdown fight last year, he voted against the omnibus appropriations bill that kept the government running. During the debate over raising the debt ceiling, he called a potential national default “short-term market corrections,” saying, “I’d like to take the medicine now.”

Now that he is “making news” there are quite a few more profiles around.

Meet Tom Cotton, the Senator Behind the Republicans’ Letter to Iran

When Cotton entered politics in 2012, winning a House seat representing his native Arkansas, things again started to turn a little bit hawkish, then a little bit unreasonable. (The Atlantic characterized his domestic record in the House as “conservative absolutism,” as he voted, for instance, against emergency disaster relief.)

The hawkishness was, initially, pro-forma: in an interview after the election but before taking his seat, Cotton told the neoconservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, “There are evil people in the world who would do evil things.” He added that Iran was gaining influence and “It’s important to remind the American people why we’re still engaged [militarily].” Rubin, who has herself advocated attacking Iran for years, lauded Cotton as a potential ideological replacement for the Democratic hawk Joseph Lieberman.

Once in the House, Cotton’s anti-Iran advocacy showed a mean streak. When, in 2013, a new Iran sanctions bill came before the lower chamber, Cotton introduced an amendment that would “automatically” punish family members of sanctions violators. “There would be no investigation,” Cotton explained during the mark-up. “It’d be very hard to demonstrate and investigate to conclusive proof.” Cotton wanted to punish innocent people; he called it “corruption of blood,” and extended the category to include “parents, children, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, great grandparents, grandkids, great grandkids.”

I was appalled to hear this pretty one-sided NPR Cotton-candy “profile” piece, on my car radio. Par for the course from NPR these days.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos


  1. Last October

       “The problem is with Mark Pryor and Barack Obama refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and refusing to secure our border.  I’ll change that when I’m in the United States Senate. And I would add, it’s not just an immigration problem. We now know that it’s a security problem.  Groups like the Islamic State collaborate with drug cartels in Mexico who have clearly shown they’re willing to expand outside the drug trade into human trafficking and potentially even terrorism.

       “They could infiltrate our defenseless border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas. This is an urgent problem and it’s time we got serious about it, and I’ll be serious about it in the United States Senate.”

    Ed Kilgore also connected the dots on the William “Bloody” Kristol connection

    Jonathan Chait skewers the letter as being not just a conservative error, but a characteristically neoconservative error, and even worse yet, a characteristic Bill Kristol error.

       Senator Tom Cotton, whose letter warning Iran that any nuclear deal will not last beyond the term of the Obama administration was signed by 47 Republican Senators, is the future of neoconservatism. His career has been nurtured from the outset by old-line neoconservatives like William Kristol, who turns out, unsurprisingly, to have “consulted” with Cotton on the idea. And the Iran letter turns out to be a perfect little synecdoche of neoconservative policy.

       The letter episode contains all the characteristic traits of a neoconservative project. First, of course, is the wild confrontationalism, which in this case was directed not against Iran but against the Obama administration. It may not be treason for the Senate to undermine the president’s negotiations with a foreign power, but it surely represents the bluntest and most hostile possible exercise of opposition to the executive branch’s strategy. Kristol’s advice in any situation, domestic or foreign, is for his side to display maximum belligerence, and the Cotton letter reflected that impulse.

    … as Chait points out with amusement, the final clincher in his argument that this is a neoconservative “fiasco” of classic dimensions is that the neocon chorus, led by Kristol, is spinning the episode as a magnificent triumph.

  2. Some Who Signed Nuclear Letter Are Starting To Regret Sending It To Iran

    But now, at least a few of the Republicans who signed the letter are admitting regret for their decision to send the message directly to Iranian officials. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told Bloomberg News Friday that his “only regret” is “who it’s addressed to.” He also told the Associated Press it “probably would have been better just to have it be an open letter addressed to no one.”

    Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), who also signed the letter, conceded that the letter “could have been addressed to other folks and gotten the message out,” but added that, “I think the message is more important than who we send it to.”

    Well, duh. Who you send it to is PART OF the message. This is exactly why international diplomacy is not done by inviting heads of state to talk with 535 members of Congress. These 46 Senators who could not be bothered to take the time to read the Cotton Letter and reflect on its meaning are obviously not to be trusted with anything important. And the GOP majority handing the keys to the clown car to a freshman Senator with a radical ideology is not exactly demonstrating that the Senate is “the saucer that cools”:

    Writing to Thomas Jefferson, who had been out of the country during the Constitutional Convention, James Madison explained that the Constitution’s framers considered the Senate to be the great “anchor” of the government. To the framers themselves, Madison explained that the Senate would be a “necessary fence” against the “fickleness and passion” that tended to influence the attitudes of the general public and members of the House of Representatives. George Washington is said to have told Jefferson that the framers had created the Senate to “cool” House legislation just as a saucer was used to cool hot tea.

    Pardon me … HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! … okay, I’m back.

  3. Diana in NoVa

    Cotton could really be Kim Wrong Un’s elder brother with his “corruption of blood” crapology.  

    I don’t watch Sunday morning news shows, but I hear Bob Schieffer did a number on Tom Cotton yesterday, per this link:

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