Republican Rep. Tom Cotton,
speaking today before the conservative Federalist Society
in Washington, used the occasion to brand President Obama
as a scofflaw somewhere, by implication, almost traitorous. Tone deaf on Cotton's part? The president has been on the ground in tornado-ravaged Arkansas and, by accounts so far, has enjoyed an outpouring of warmth from residents happy to receive presidential attention and federal aid as they dig out of a disaster that took 16 lives.
Cotton, in sometimes sneering and saracastic prepared remarks delivered choppily, called the president anti-Constitution and anti-Declaration of Independence, an opponent of "absolute truth."
Cotton said Obama rejects, by implication of past statements, the "absolute truth that all men are created equal." He said he denies the "moral foundation of our governing charter." He rejects the "premise of the Declaration of Independence." Examples in Cotton's view: Opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, big government in general (more on that in a bit).
Cotton drank the Jesus juice, as Mike Huckabee once said of his most devoted opponents. It blinds extremists like Cotton to nuance, the possibility that others might view things differently — even simple humanity. Even people who didn't vote for Obama welcomed him in Arkansas today. Even people like Jason Rapert
, who's called for Obama's impeachment, moderated his tone on Twitter today to thank the president for his interest in his county.
Cotton, you have to credit, is true to his antipathy to big government, even when it's bad for people in Arkansas, whether in providing health care, Social Security or storm relief.
Tom Cotton is the same man who's voted not once, but many times, against FEMA funding and federal disaster aid. It's a part of his unwavering belief that government is too big and that it tries to do too much for people who need to get off their food stamp-cosseted butts and out of their Cadillace SUVs and do more for themselves. Happy to say for Arkansas this week, his view on federal disaster funding failed in even the Republican-controlled House. It's coming here despite his votes. More people in Arkansas will see reports like this than hear Cotton's speech, lucky for Cotton.
Asterisk: Maybe not if Tom Cotton gets control of the budget.
Tom Cotton's record of votes against disaster funding — and against additional spending on critical weather forecasting — is long. It is much more than the omnibus bill that included multiple appropriations, which his sycophants deride as a liberal "Christmas tree." It includes votes on which the only item was FEMA funding, the money that is now flowing into Arkansas.
Here's a record of Tom Cotton quotes and votes.
PS — The Vilonia fire department got a $37,000 FEMA grant today for gear. It comes from a fund in FEMA appropriations of $288 million to help fire departments and other responders.