The premise of the latest Tom Cotton advertisement is that ha ha, those mean Democrats will probably say he hates puppies, but that he actually totally likes puppies! Cotton pretends to laugh when actual advertisements from his opponents come on screen, which have nothing to do with puppies but accurately note that Cotton voted against farm aid, against funding for Children’s Hospital, and against disaster relief. It’s perhaps telling that Cotton doesn’t even bother to try to dispute these accurate claims in this advertisement.
For the record, I have no reason to think that Cotton hates puppies. I take him at his word, and think he has successfully refuted a charge no one has made. The puppy is pretty cute.
The other charges, which actually were made, are simply based on his voting record. Cotton claims that it’s not fair to bring up his voting record — when he indisputably voted against farm aid, against funding for Children’s Hospital, and against disaster relief. Cotton has a variety of excuses, sometimes pointing to meaningless cover votes and sometimes pointing to the deficit (which is at least an argument about why he voted against something, but once the election started he switched to denial). And often, he states that he would have supported them if only they had been in the ideologically pure and politically doomed form that Cotton preferred. This last one is a very odd view of politics, in which the practical consequences of a politician’s votes are supposed to irrelevant. In the real world, if it’s “my way or nothing,” Cotton is going to vote no every time. If you’re in the “Hell No Caucus,” you have to own the actual results of Hell No.
I’m sure Cotton doesn’t hate puppies and I’m sure he doesn’t hate farmers or storm victims or sick kids. His warm feelings will be cold comfort if he continues to vote in a manner that harms their interest.