When Congress voted to approve emergency aid to Hurricane Sandy victims, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was the only member of the Arkansas delegation to vote against the disaster relief early last year. The far-right lawmaker, at least at the time, took a fair amount of pride in that position.
Now that Cotton is a U.S. Senate candidate, that’s apparently no longer the case.
[I]t appears Rep. Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) campaign has taken down two blog posts in support of those votes from his website.According to an Internet archive, the blog items, which were posted months before Cotton announced his bid to unseat Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), were online until late January of this year.The first post from January 2013 was a letter to the editor calling Cotton’s approach to the federal aid for Sandy victims “sensible.” Cotton had explained that he believed that “a lot of that money was not going to natural disaster relief” and he didn’t “think Arkansas needs to bail out the Northeast.”
Cotton’s office told the Huffington Post yesterday that deleting the content was simply routine website “maintenance.” That may be true.
But it’s also true, as we were brutally reminded in April, that Arkansas sometimes suffers from its own natural disasters, which require a governmental response. Indeed, Cotton himself apparently had an entirely new approach to the issue last month when he joined his congressional colleagues from Arkansas seeking “federal resources” to help communities struck by a deadly tornado.
To be sure, if Team Cotton deleted the online content in January, the campaign acted well before the April disaster. But it’s hardly outrageous to wonder if Cotton and his aides realized that opposing federal emergency aid may not be a vote-getter in a state like Arkansas – and then scrubbed accordingly.
On a related note, it’s also worth noting that those scrubbing their online archives should probably keep in mind how difficult it is to do so without drawing attention to themselves.
In April, affiliates of the Koch brothers’ American for Prosperity started scrubbing online content supporting Cliven Bundy.
Around the same time, Senate hopeful Greg Brannon scrubbed the Internet of his background and bizarre, published conspiracy theories.
In advance of his Senate campaign in Virginia, Ed Gillespie started scrubbing his online record, deleting previous support for immigration reform.
There’s almost no good way to do this.