For a candidate whose résumé lists such distinguished institutions as Harvard College, Harvard Law School, and the United States Army – which are supposed to inculcate such values as truth and honor – Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) seems perfectly comfortable uttering big, fat lies. I noticed this aspect of the Arkansas Senate candidate’s character when, seeking to escape responsibility for his vote against the farm bill, he accused President Obama of “hijacking” the legislation and turning it into a “food stamp bill.”
In that ad, he gratuitously bashed the poor (meaning more than 500,000 Arkansans, or roughly 17 percent of the population). The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as the well-educated Cotton must know, has been included in federal agriculture legislation for more than 40 years.
So we already know he’s not just an ordinary liar but an appalling, mean-spirited liar.
Now Cotton wants to frighten Arkansas voters with the spectre of ISIS terrorists pouring over the southern border to behead them, in collusion with Mexican drug gangs. At a town hall meeting, he stated a Fox News fabrication as a plain fact: “Groups like the Islamic State collaborate with drug cartels in Mexico who have clearly shown they’re willing to expand outside the drug trade into human trafficking and potentially even terrorism. They could infiltrate our defenseless border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas.”
And for that fresh prevarication, he earned four Pinocchios – do I need to spell out what that means? – from the Washington Post’s entirely nonpartisan fact checker Glenn Kessler. His column, placing Cotton’s lie in wingnut context, is well worth reading.