Crasher disrupts Tea Party | Arkansas Blog

Crasher disrupts Tea Party



ABOUT THAT RESUME: A critic faults Tom Cottons credentials.
  • ABOUT THAT RESUME: A critic faults Tom Cotton's credentials.
Internal conflicts are a sign of a growing political party, I think. So the strong divisions emerging in the Republican primary race for 4th District Congress can be seen as a sign of robust Republicanism. It also is fun to watch them chomping on each other.

For example: Today, a Tea Party cell of some sort endorsed Tom Cotton, the born-again Arkie who set up camp recently at a family property in Yell County so as to allow Arkie voters to send his wonderful self back to the Washington he just left as 4th District congressman. He's raised a pot of money from out of state.

That produced a mailing to me of a copy of a long letter of protest sent by another putative Tea Partyer, Amber Sloan, to a national Tea Party strategist about the Cotton endorsement in the Republican primary. The 'baggers endorsed Beth Anne Rankin two years ago, Sal Russo noted in response to Sloan, but is looking for the strongest candidates nationwide.

As when Cotton claimed the Club for Growth endorsement, I'd suggest Rankin could help herself by differentiating herself a tiny bit from the extremists of the Tea Party and the Club for Growth. Are all Republican primary voters in the 4th District really that extreme?

Anyway, following is the bill of particulars offered up against the TP endorsement by Ms. Sloan. It's harshly personal (and factually short of perfect — Cotton's home is on the south side of I-40, I'm reasonably sure, for example):

Amber Sloan []
Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2012 6:25 AM
Subject: Arkansas Cotton Endorsement - Bad Call

Apparently the Tea Party Express swallowed Cotton's flim-flam hook, line and sinker. Your endorsement is not going to serve us well as we continue to recruit new supporters. Many here in Arkansas recognize Tom Cotton for what he is. Who ever did the vetting for you did a poor job because what follows is the tip of the iceberg with this guy. John Cowart also served his country honorably and both he and Beth-Ann Rankin are true conservatives, only with their feet on the ground in Arkansas. Cotton is a beltway product whose campaign is 70 percent financed by special interest money from outside of Arkansas. Here are a few facts that do not include his father has voted in only Democratic Primary Elections for as far as his county clerk's records show:

Tom Cotton served his Country honorably and is a patriot for taking the difficult route as an Infantry Officer rather than easy one as a JAG lawyer. Our misgivings about Tom are because of twisted facts, and (bless his heart) stretching the truth for political purposes. What Arkansas does not need is “the best Congressman money can buy” with back-east special interest money. All time line references that follow are from Tom Cotton’s bio posted at, See for yourself.

Campaign Assertion: Tom Cotton is “An Experienced Businessman”

Details: Tom Cotton has never owned or operated a business or actually held a real private sector job. His only work experience was two short stints at the bottom of the ladder in large firms. The first was with an unspecified company before joining the Army, and the only other was with a company that (according to Winipeka) has 9,000 consultants in 55 countries, that focuses on the “global” not American economy. Any corporate attorney will tell you there is a clear path of progression in the legal profession. Tom's daddy didn’t own either company he worked for, yet Tom wants voters to believe he bypassed entry level positions and “worked with some of America’s most respected companies to help promote economic growth and job creation.” Odds are he carried the presentations and worked the Power Point for the lead consultant as a trainee. This candidate does not have a good work record.

Campaign Assertion: Pro-Life, Pro-Marriage, Pro-Family
Detail: Easy to say but this 35 year-old bachelor could not be too pro anything related to marriage. He does have a pretty long-term Eastern girlfriend who refuses to live in Arkansas and he had to borrow children to poise with for his latest campaign post card.

Campaign Assertion: Endorsed by (former) Congressman Jay Dickey
Details: Jay Dickey, author of how to lose a perfectly good House seat to a Democrat then get blown away trying to recapture it two years later. The question is has Tom paid JD Consulting for the endorsement?

Campaign Assertion: Tom is a farmer and a lawyer.
Detail 1: Tom Cotton obtained an Arkansas law license in April 2003 and it is now “inactive.” He is not a member of the Arkansas BAR and research could not identify him as a member of the BAR in Virginia, District of Columbia, or Texas. Referring to himself as a “lawyer” mirrors advertising himself as an “Army Ranger.” Just like completing Law School but not practicing law, Tom completed Ranger training but NEVER served with a Ranger unit.

Detail 2: Tom’s family owns a “cattle farm” where the crop is hay. That is a far stretch from being a dirt under the finger nails row crop farmer. Most cattlemen refer to themselves as “ranchers,” however; they are not pandering for the votes of Delta farmers. Tom’s bio says, “He enjoys “working on his family’s cattle farm.” The question is when? Since leaving Arkansas for his Ivy League school in 1995, Tom has not been in Arkansas to “work on the farm” other than during holiday visits. After school he worked in Houston, then the Army, and has lived in Washington since. Maybe he dreams of “them ole cotton fields back home” from his Beltway bedroom.

Campaign Assertion: Tom “felt the urge to serve in uniform after the events of 9/11”
Details: Tom graduated law school in June 2002, clerked for a judge, went into private practice and finally enlisted in the Army in January 2005. During that same period, almost 200,000 other patriotic Americans “felt the urge” and can truthfully say they joined the Army “after 9/11.” To date the number increases to about 800,000. When asked why the delay, Tom’s answer is “so he could pay off his student loans.” Wow! Daddy must have deep pockets or he had some great grants. That is because Tom Cotton attended Harvard University then spent a year at Claremont Graduate University (where 2011 tuition for a year was $33,353), then attended Harvard Law School. Even President Obama admitted to recently paying off his student loans. Wish we could locate Tom’s Financial Disclosure Statement on-line to see what his debts actually are. We do not fault Tom for lining up his ducks before enlisting but drawing a nexus to 9/11 is a bit much.

Bonus Detail 1: Research has surfaced Tom Cotton’s history of exaggeration. The lastest example is his “famous” June 2006 letter to the New York Times. In it Cotton stated, “....having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer.” But look at his bio time line. After clerking in Houston, Tom worked in “private practice, where he concentrated in labor, employment, and constitutional law, in cases at all levels of state and federal courts” and joined the Army in Houston in January 2005. Wonder why he didn't return to Arkansas to join?

Bonus Detail 2: In the event Tom Cotton wins the primary, I-40 will become the new Mason/Dixon Line with every Arkansas Congressman living north of that line, subjecting most of 26 counties in the Fourth District to “taxation without representation.” South of I-40 demographics, problems and needs are significantly different then the “Northern” Arkansas issues.

Bonus Detail 3: The good news in all of this is it looks like the government finally got something right. According to the USDA, Cotton is not a crop in any Fourth Congressional District county. Which means, “We don’t “pick Cotton in these here parts.”

Tom Cotton surfaced in Arkansas in late 2009 to be “drafted” to run against Blanche Lincoln and quickly returned to the Washington DC Beltway. The Arkansas Project published the following photo with the caption, “Like his mythical steed, it was as if he was never here.” Kind of compares to former Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, another made for voters candidate paid for with lots of outside special interest money, who didn’t fool voters. Please don’t be fooled by Tom Cotton’s highfalutin campaign and twisted and misrepresented campaign advertising.

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