Commentary Magazine


Topic: Arkansas Senate race

Pryor’s Insane Attack on Military Service

Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, in an interview with NBC News, said this about his opponent, Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran and current Representative Tom Cotton:

There’s a lot of people in the Senate that didn’t serve in the military. Obviously in the Senate we have all types of different people, all kinds of different folks that have come from all types of different background— and I think that’s part of that sense of entitlement that he gives off is that, almost like, I served my country, let me into the Senate. But that’s not how it works in Arkansas.

To be clear: Representative Cotton, a very impressive man and a very impressive candidate, has never argued that he’s entitled to the Senate seat for any reason, including his military service. But Representative Cotton is arguing, quite rightly, that his military service should be taken into account when judging him in the totality of his acts. Some of the things he learned while serving in the military are transferable. And surely the problem with the Senate right now isn’t that it is comprised of too many people whose lives are characterized by virtue and valor. As for a sense of entitlement: Mr. Pryor’s father was governor and senator of Arkansas. Just FYI.

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Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, in an interview with NBC News, said this about his opponent, Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran and current Representative Tom Cotton:

There’s a lot of people in the Senate that didn’t serve in the military. Obviously in the Senate we have all types of different people, all kinds of different folks that have come from all types of different background— and I think that’s part of that sense of entitlement that he gives off is that, almost like, I served my country, let me into the Senate. But that’s not how it works in Arkansas.

To be clear: Representative Cotton, a very impressive man and a very impressive candidate, has never argued that he’s entitled to the Senate seat for any reason, including his military service. But Representative Cotton is arguing, quite rightly, that his military service should be taken into account when judging him in the totality of his acts. Some of the things he learned while serving in the military are transferable. And surely the problem with the Senate right now isn’t that it is comprised of too many people whose lives are characterized by virtue and valor. As for a sense of entitlement: Mr. Pryor’s father was governor and senator of Arkansas. Just FYI.

Mr. Cotton is leading the race right now. That lead will grow because of Mark Pryor’s foolish and offensive line of attack. The race is still close and Cotton can’t let up. He needs to run as if he’s running a couple of points behind. But as an outside observer, my own hunch is that we’ll look back at Pryor’s comments and point to it as a sign of desperation and perhaps the moment in which (to borrow from this Willie Nelson classic) it can be said of the Pryor campaign, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over; they say that all good things must end. Let’s call it a night; the party’s over.”

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