Campaign supporters do count | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Campaign supporters do count

Posted By on Sun, May 6, 2012 at 7:31 AM

CLUB FOR MILLIONAIRES: They love Tom Cotton.
  • CLUB FOR MILLIONAIRES: They love Tom Cotton.
The Democrat-Gazette did further analysis today of something I've noted before — the amount of out-of-state money flowing into the campaign of Republican 4th District candidate Tom Cotton. Not totally surprising. He left Arkansas after high school, and returned only a few months ago to move into a family house in Yell County in hopes of being elected to go back to the Beltway, where he's worked for years.

70 percent of Cotton's money comes from out of state, as he did. A huge chunk, $183,000, came from members of the Club for Growth. One of the Club for Growth's single biggest supporters is Little Rock's Jackson T. Stephens Jr., heir to the Stephens financial empire fortune. Stephens has never made much money from toil himself, but he's highly interested, as all in the Club for Growth are, in cutting taxes on unearned income, such as dividends and capital gains on his inherited riches.

Cotton says no voters in his district are concerned about where his money is coming from. They're just concerned with the direction the country is going.

Voters SHOULD be concerned with where his money is coming from, of course, because it tells you so much about where he'd take the country. I don't suggest the Club for Growth has purchased Cotton. He undoubtedly comes by his sympathy with its point of view naturally.But check the Club for Growth website. It's a good representation of what Cotton's voting record is certain to be. Lower student loan rates? Forget about it. Lower tax rates for millionaires like Junior Stephens whose income comes from inherited dividends, not toil? You know it. Government health care like Medicare and Medicaid? Going, going and, they hope, someday gone. Privatized Social Security? Yeah, baby. Government regulation? You can trust the corporations to protect your health, your water and your air. Who needs regulation? These are not exaggerations. The Club for Growth is quite explicit and specific about its corporate/millionaire wish list. They don't endorse candidates lightly. And when candidates depart from script — as Mike Huckabee once did on education and tax issues — they never forget it. Huckabee, in turn, has blasted the Club for Growth as dishonest and disgusting and called them the Club for Greed.

Beth Anne Rankin, one of Cotton's opponents, has made much of her home-grown support and has been endorsed by her former employer, who else but Mike Huckabee? Rankin could better distinguish herself by taking exception to some of the Club for Growth's politics. Sadly for residents of the 4th District, the major difference between Cotton and Rankin is where their money's coming from.

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