Cotton's muddy record
The best thing we have to look forward to is the certainty that we will have someone other than Tom Cotton to represent us in the 4th Congressional District. His voting record has been an embarrassment to humanity. When his record was brought up as an issue after he announced his candidacy for the Senate, he accused his opposition of slinging mud. At least we know that Tom Cotton is honest: He acknowledged what his voting record looks like.
Cotton voted against the Farm Bill, which everyone knows is vital to Arkansas. Why? Because it still contained food stamp appropriations! Contrary to popular belief, more whites receive food stamps than blacks. Single mothers and children are the primary recipients. Proper nutrition is essential for the development of the mind and body. A well-nourished child is more likely to become a well-educated student and a productive adult. Since Cotton is Harvard-educated, we should not allow him to claim ignorance on any of this.
It would be admirable if Cotton were seeking ways to make food stamps less necessary. Does he support efforts to get Walmart, McDonalds, etc. to pay employees a living wage? Does he support the meager increase of the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour? (Even though that's much better than $7.25 an hour, ask yourself whether that's enough to pay your bills.) Does he support putting millions of unemployed workers back to work by creating well-paying jobs to improve America's crumbling infrastructure of roads, bridges, dams, parks and electrical grid? (The construction of Interstate 69 across South Arkansas is still unfunded!) No. It seems that he just doesn't care.
Cotton agrees with many Arkansans that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has to be repealed. It appears to be a vote-getter to have the callous belief that in the U.S. only those wealthy enough or lucky enough to have a job that provides health benefits should be able to get insurance. However, by the end of this year, millions of people will have signed up for policies they couldn't afford before. Also, in states like Arkansas that expanded Medicaid coverage, hundreds of thousands have coverage who otherwise would be without (like those unfortunate enough to live in the wrong states). Are we really going to just take away their insurance?
Does Cotton want to replace the ACA with something better? Is he recommending universal health care: Medicare for everyone? Medicare is already fully operational, it works fine, and it's less expensive. (Many of those who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 have never forgiven him for not fighting for universal Medicare. Instead, President Obama immediately opted for the Republican plan proposed by the right-wing think tank Heritage Foundation.) No. Cotton has actually voted to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 70, privatize it, and turn it into a voucher system! That's a not-too-subtle method to destroy it altogether.
The Republican contribution to the ACA was the requirement mandate and the use of private (for-profit) insurance companies. It's doubtful Cotton and his Fox-Republican-Tea Party colleagues would really get rid of either of these. They both benefit the insurance companies. Remember, the Republicans asked Mr. Obama to delay the employer mandate for one more year; he agreed to their request; they've now filed suit against him for doing what they asked! So they obviously support the mandate. Don't you just love them?
There are ACA provisions Cotton and company would likely get rid of in any replacement program. They would be the Democratic contributions in the ACA that benefit the people rather than the companies. Do you really want to say goodbye to these: 1. You can't be kicked off your policy if you get sick. 2. You can't be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition; 3. Women can't be charged more than men. 4. If unable to get a job with health coverage, your son or daughter can stay on your policy until age 26. 5. The elderly can't be charged more than three times what is charged to younger policy holders. 6. The donut hole (the time when there is a gap before being covered again) in seniors' Medicare drug programs is being closed. 7. No more than 20 percent of your premiums can go to overhead, profits and CEO salaries.
One of the most shameful votes by Cotton was his opposition for relief aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Here in Arkansas, we have our fair share of natural disasters: tornadoes, droughts and floods. When we need federal aid, we need to have a representative in Washington with the credibility to ask his colleagues for support. Tom Cotton doesn't qualify. I don't recall his ever claiming to be a "compassionate conservative," which seems to be an oxymoron anyway, but we need a representative who is capable of showing empathy to those in need.
Cotton insists he votes according to his principles. I respect anyone with principles that make sense. But his anarchistic principle of opposing government of, by and for the people but favoring corporate rule is not a principle that I admire. I find deplorable his sociopathic principle of doing everything he can to help his corporate benefactors while sacrificing the rest of us. Nor can I find any redeeming value in his dog-eat-dog, every-man-for-himself principle. Cotton's muddy voting record stands on its own.
From the web
In response to "The story of Jimmy Doyle's Country Club" (Oct. 16):
Really enjoyed reading this. I used to come out there and danced all night. I'm so ready to come back and see if this old body can still party.
I enjoyed reading the story. I have been a member of Jimmy Doyle's Country Club for about 21 years now and even though the crowd has gotten smaller, it is still my home away from home.
I was one of the regular guys there always dancing, always had pretty women at my table. Guess maybe I was good two-stepper, don't know, maybe I was just a good-looking guy. Wish those days were back. Now I can hardly walk, but I would not do it any other way. Hope it never changes and stays open for a 100 more years.
John Franklin Studdard
Boy, did I ever exercise some poor judgment at JD's 30-something years ago.