Favorite

Beware of your TV, Pryor and Cotton are coming for you 

Our print deadline fell before the beginning of the free barbecue in Dardanelle at which Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton was to announce his challenge of Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor.

I'm already depressed thinking about the avalanche of 30-second TV ads soon to descend on Arkansas. The campaigns themselves will spend millions. Millions more will be spent by other groups, some more shadowy than others. Most will intone end-of-the-world predictions about one candidate or the other.

We likely will get a taste of positive politics. If Pryor indeed has no primary opposition, he might spend some millions with some aw-shucks footage of Mark Pryor, his famous father and his undeniably pleasant demeanor. Cotton will spend some time talking about his Yell County boyhood. You may be sure he'll say a lot about his Army experience, with high-power weaponry on frequent display.

But the news will mostly be bad. Negative advertising moves more voters than positive advertising and that's how the election will be won — moving undecided voters.

Cotton's entry was heralded by release of a poll done for AFSCME, the public employees union. It showed Pryor leading Cotton, 43-35. But that's a good distance short of 50 percent. Worse was Pryor's favorability rating. It stood at 47-34 positive. Not as bad as Blanche Lincoln before her ill-fated re-election race, perhaps, but a sharp decline from 63-23 six years earlier. Republicans have spent millions beating him up. He's also hurt by being yoked to Congress and President Obama. Democrats, Republicans and Obama are all viewed more unfavorably than favorably by Arkansas voters, Obama worst of all. 55 percent of those surveyed said they were less like to vote for someone who voted for the Affordable Care Act, as Mark Pryor did. Evidence of the benefits of that law is growing, but time runs short to turn opinion by 2014.

Republican strategy is simple. Mark Pryor will become a name synonymous with Barack Obama and Obamacare. What will Democrats do about Tom Cotton? Tear him down, too. His favorable rating is only 28-22 because so few people, relatively speaking, know him well. But those unfavorables are already fairly high for an unknown and they'll go higher.

Democrats have unveiled a website (meettomcotton.com) with a simple theme — Tom Cotton: Too Reckless for Arkansas.

There's much to work with. Cotton would turn Medicare into a voucher program, inevitably reducing benefits. He'd privatize Social Security. He voted against the bill to reduce the cost of student college loans, though he enjoyed government-backed loan help when he went to Harvard. He voted against disaster aid for hurricane victims. He's voted repeatedly against the interests of women — in the military, in equal pay, in medical autonomy. He voted against the farm bill and wants to slash food stamps, heavily used in Arkansas. Then there's Obamacare. Cotton would kill it. He'd kill it even though his paid political director, Rep. John Burris, was an architect of the "private option" version of Obamacare passed by the Arkansas legislature. Ending Obamacare would devastate the private option and leave hundreds of thousands of Arkansans suffering.

The list is not an exaggeration or caricature of his record. It's fair game for attack. Cotton really believes he can do more for Arkansas by seeing to it that the federal government does far less, particularly by attacking the president's groundbreaking initiative to move the U.S. toward universal health care.

But do I really want to hear about it for 14 months?

The prospect puts me in mind of the John Prine song: Blow up your TV.

Favorite

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Speaking of Mark Pryor, Tom Cotton

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Now, the main event

    I write Tuesday morning, before polls close on primary and judicial election contests.
    • May 24, 2018
  • Police identify remains as those of Ebby Steppach

    KARK/Fox 16 reports that Little Rock police have identified skeletal remains found Tuesday in a west Little Rock park as those of Ebby Steppach, the 17-year-old who's been missing since her car was found in that park abandoned in 2015.
    • May 23, 2018
  • UAMS presents balanced budget

    UAMS, pressed by financial problems for several years, told the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees today that it had a $1.5 billion operating budget that doesn't call for deficit spending.
    • May 23, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017
  • Along the civil rights trail

    A convergence of events in recent days signaled again how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in civil rights.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The Oval outhouse

    One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance.
    • Jan 18, 2018

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Now, the main event

    I write Tuesday morning, before polls close on primary and judicial election contests.
    • May 24, 2018
  • Are you being served?

    These aren't good times for confidence in public servants.

    • Mar 22, 2018
  • Send in the segs

    The state Board of Education last week rejected requests from Camden Fairview, Hope, Lafayette County and Junction City to be exempt from the state law requiring students to be able to freely transfer between school districts.
    • Mar 15, 2018
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • Now, the main event

    I write Tuesday morning, before polls close on primary and judicial election contests.
  • Like wrestling

    So what's it going to be, America: a democratic republic, or Trumpistan? A nation governed by the rule of law, or an oversized kleptocracy, whose maximum leader uses the decayed shell of government to punish his political enemies and reward friends and family?

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Like wrestling

    • Great reminder/summary. So much happens in Trumpistan that last week's news seems like months ago…

    • on May 23, 2018
  • Re: Talking baseball

    • I loved Bill Elder "calling" the Travs games on the road. He did it by…

    • on May 22, 2018
  • Re: Talking baseball

    • 1090 was Little Rock's own Mighty 1090 KAAY, the greatest radio station ever. But i…

    • on May 22, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation