Criticism mounts of Tom Cotton's vindictiveness; will it get local news coverage? | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Criticism mounts of Tom Cotton's vindictiveness; will it get local news coverage?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 8, 2016 at 9:57 AM


National criticism is mounting of Sen. Tom Cotton's obstruction of the appointment of a deserving black woman to a foreign service post because she was a friend of President Obama and Cotton used her to grind a personal axe for the president.

The story was detailed — and confirmed by Cotton — by the New York Times.

Other critics:

* Charles Pierce in Esquire.

* Washington Monthly wrote about Cotton's wish to "inflict special pain" on the president by punishing Cassandra Butts. She would die with her dream of am ambassadorship in the Bahamas unfulfilled because Cotton led most of the 830-day blockade of the appointment — more than two years.

* Salon pitched in with an article that called Cotton "chair of the imbecile caucus" for "shameless obstructionism."

* MSNBC's Steve Benen wrote that Tom Cotton has "lost sight of what public service is all about."

* The right-wing Daily Caller reported: "Obama nominee waits two years for confirmation vote, dies."

* Time published in full President Obama's eulogyfor Butts. No, he did not mention the nasty Tom Cotton. But Cotton would do well to read the president's words about his friend next time he chooses a political pawn:

And if you’ve spoken to anybody who knew her well over these past several days, or any of the innumerable people that she took the time to mentor, you’ll hear the same qualities that we were looking for in those early days of the administration applied to her in spades: professionalism, decency, integrity, insight, smarts, humor, and a fundamental kindness. She was a kind person. You know, it’s interesting, as you get  older, it turns out kindness counts for a lot.

* Politico called Cotton's action a "personal vendetta" against the president.

There's more. But you get the idea. It's become a national political story thanks to Bruni's reporting.

Will the story appear in the pages of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the dominant medium in Cotton's home state? So far, it has not.

John Brummett wrote a column about it today, but it was for on-line subscribers to the D-G only — about 4,000 paid and an additional number who get a free glance on the now loosened D-G paywall. Butts, he wrote, is a symbol of "vile political game playing." A Cotton spokesman, making a rare public comment on one of Cotton's acts (she never returns our calls and mail), endeavored to alibi, but Brummett wasn't buying.

To conclude with proper context and perspective: A generally lauded woman named Cassandra Butts, whose life was cut short, should have spent some her last days as ambassador to the Bahamas. But she was denied that courtesy by Arkansas voters when they elected Cotton to the U.S. Senate, which has rules giving entirely too much power to mistakes voters make in individual states.

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