U.S. Senator Mark Pryor and his challenger, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, are both airing warm-and-fuzzy ads that insult the intelligence of Arkansans
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
The good news for local television viewers in Arkansas is that after months of snippy attack ads, U.S. Senator Mark Pryor and his GOP challenger, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, have finally started going positive in their Senate duel.
The bad news? Both campaigns have started with a couple of peculiar spots that say very little about either man — but much about how little regard their campaign managers seem to have for the intelligence of Arkansans.
Let’s start with Cotton. Just before Christmas, he aired an ad featuring a moving testimonial from, of all people, his mother.
Really? An endorsement from your mother? I would assume that even my momma, God rest her soul, would say nice things about me if someone pointed a television camera in her direction. But would that tell voters anything about my qualifications to be a U.S. senator? I doubt it.
Cotton’s mother seems like a perfectly delightful lady. But unless she’s endorsing Pryor, her views on the Senate race aren’t particularly illuminating, although I will concede the warm-and-fuzzy Yuletide ads were an improvement over the Pryor-bashing we all saw in previous months.
Not to be outdone in the banality department, Pryor went up with an ad in which he tells voters across the Natural State that the Bible is his “North Star.”
That seems a rather peculiar mixture of religion and astronomy. But it is what he says next that takes the ad straight over into strange: “The Bible teaches us no one has all the answers. Only God does. And neither political party is always right.”
I must have missed that day in Sunday school when we studied what Holy Scripture has to say about political parties. Then again, Senator Pryor is a Southern Baptist, and I’m not, so maybe something has simply been lost in translation.
But does the Bible really teach us that no one has all the answers? Actually, it usually teaches the opposite; namely, that the answers are to be found from the people within its covers, if one looks hard enough. For God’s sake, a Southern Baptist ought to at least know that.
I suppose the senator’s political handlers thought this ad would burnish his Christian bona fides in a state where such things matter. But anyone who stops to think for a minute what he actually said, as opposed to the ad’s atmospherics, will realize how silly it is.
I’m sure Senator Pryor is a good Christian, and I’m sure Tom Cotton’s momma really loves him a whole, big bunch. Why the voters of Arkansas should care about either of those things, though, is a mystery.
Gentlemen, let us have substance!