Is Republican Rep. Tom Cotton’s solo vote in Arkansas against the farm bill causing him some political problems? Maybe.
He’s made a six-figure TV ad buy to picture himself as a product of a farm and a principled vote against a farm bill “hijacked” by President Obama to become a food stamp bill.
This is political trickery. The farm bill has been linked with food stamps — food, get it? — for years. Obama didn’t “hijack” the farm bill. It contained both farm subsidies and nutrition aid for poor people as it always does. It enjoyed bipartisan support. But Tom Cotton was in a tiny group of Club for Growth ideologues who’d like to see food stamp spending even more drastically reduced.
Even Tim Griffin, Rick Crawford, Steve Womack and John Boozman voted for the farm bill.
Not Tom Cotton.
So he covers his rear. Don’t think about Tom Cotton and farmers. Think, the ad urges, about the black man in the White House. Think people of his ilk eating off your tax dollars from those food stamps. How he failed to include a brand-new Escalade loaded with lobster, driven by an iPhone-toting black woman with a passel of kids wearing Air Jordans is beyond me.
To understand Tom Cotton and farm issues, you need only read this report on the Koch Bros. enmity to farmers, including the farm support programs that Cotton voted against. The Kochs are all in for Cotton. He is no friend of farmers programs, either.
The record, not that facts matter much in the world of 30-second commercials:
Tom Cotton alone among Arkansans in Congress voted against the five-year farm bill in 2013. It would have cut $2 billion from food stamps and let states impose new work requirements on recipients. Without the bill, and its farm aid, prices increases in food items would have been likely, particularly milk products. The bill had bipartisan support in passing both the House and Senate.
You won’t see those facts in a feel-good ad featuring Tom and his daddy and some heavy beef. Look closely in those scenes, though. You might see some bull****.
UPDATE: The Pryor campaign zings Cotton pretty good on the ad, though more will see the ad than the news release:
In the ad, Cotton tags Reps. Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack and Sen. John Boozman [ed. note: not by name, of course] as “career politicians” who “love attaching bad ideas to good ones.”
Rick Crawford, an author of the final comprehensive bill that married farm program and nutrition assistance, called the legislation “outstanding work,” and said it “saves taxpayers’ money, reduces deficit spending,” among other benefits.
Steve Womack said the Farm Bill “was about protecting Arkansas farmers and making meaningful reforms to farm and food programs.”
Tim Griffin heaped praise on Crawford and Sen. Boozman for their role in crafting the bipartisan bill, saying it would “promote stability and encourage more growth.”
John Boozman said its passage is “vital to our state’s economic recovery.”
The five-year Farm Bill reauthorization, which Cotton stood alone to oppose, cut the federal deficit by $24 billion. It also cut spending on nutrition assistance programs by $8 billion.