The Hill reports that U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor is pushing back against Republican foe Tom Cotton’s criticism of Pryor’s vote for the Affordable Care Act by noting that Cotton’s top political aide, Republican Rep. John Burris, led the fight for adoption of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Arkansas, alone among the Southern states.

It IS a touch hypocritical. I’ve written several times about how Cotton’s paid staffer is responsible for an enormous increase in federal spending in Arkansas, even as he chortles on Twitter every time there’s another setback in implementation. His latest episode of staggering hypocrisy was when he joined a tea bagger contingent in approving Sen. Bryan King’s latest Legislative Audit witch hunt, a review of the signup process. Burris at first branded this “theatrics,” but then went along with the witch hunt vote, saying it wasn’t likely to find anything that wasn’t already known.


Got it? A budget hawk Republican says it’s fine to waste state money on a nonproductive auditors’  search for evidence to stymie a health insurance program for working poor people that the budget hawk pushed through the legislature.

As disingenuous  as Cotton and Burris are, I think it’s probably a little too complicated to get much traction for Pryor. This is how the Pryor campaign crafts it:


“Tom Cotton needs to explain why he would take away health care from the 63,000 Arkansans already enrolled under the private option,” Pryor campaign manager Jeff Weaver tells The Hill.

Here’s Burris’ re-spin:

Burris says his support for the compromise was his attempt to do the best with the bad situation ObamaCare has created.

“Mark Pryor voted for an unconstitutional bill that raised taxes, cut Medicare for seniors and payments to hospitals. Tom supports the repeal of that. Mark Pryor doesn’t,” Burris said. “It needs to be repealed, and until then, the states are having to grapple with the terrible consequences, which is what we’re doing now.”

Mark Pryor and other Democrats have bigger problems than Tom Cotton/John Burris doublespeak.


There are deep and seemingly enduring problems with the website for Obamacare signup, which threaten to eclipse the fanatical rearguard efforts to sabotage it politically. The New York Times reports that the Obama administration is still considering letting insurance companies handle the signups, though this raises questions about protection of personal information. And it gets worse. The problems with the portal are stymying efforts to sign up people for Medicaid expansion, which should be easier.

The outlook is bleak for those who think, as a matter of philosophy, that a great nation should be expanding the health safety net to all Americans. I still believe a majority of people hold that view. But as problems continue, a decreasing number believe that Obamacare can, or will, get  the job done. I still think a great country committed to a healthy populace would be attempting to fix problems, not exacerbate them, as Cotton and Co. are doing.