The hawks’ ‘last, best hope’?


Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), the 35-year-old congressional freshman whose congressional career has spanned about three months, has certainly developed a fan base. He’s already made three Sunday show appearances; The Weekly Standard makes no effort to hide its affection; and Politico today declared Cotton “an angular soldier-politician … seemingly destined for higher office.”

The same piece describes the Arkansas Republican, a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as “his party’s most aggressive next-generation advocate for military action overseas,” and the “last, best hope” for the “hawkish Republican elites.”

OK, I’ll bite. Other than his support for the Bush/Cheney vision of foreign policy and national security, and his calls for intervention in Syria, what does Cotton have to say? Apparently, this video is popular among his fans.

For those who can’t watch clips online, Cotton had this to say on the House floor last week:

“I rise today to express grave doubts about the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies and programs. Counterterrorism is often shrouded in secrecy, as it should be, so let us judge by the results. In barely four years in office, five jihadists have reached their targets in the United States under Barack Obama: the Boston Marathon bomber, the underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber, the Fort Hood shooter, and in my own state – the Little Rock recruiting office shooter. In the over seven years after 9/11 under George W. Bush, how many terrorists reached their target in the United States? Zero! We need to ask, why is the Obama Administration failing in its mission to stop terrorism before it reaches its targets in the United States?”

Really? This is the “last, best hope” for the “hawkish Republican elites”? Cotton’s entire indictment reads like the sort of thing one might find in the comments section of a right-wing blog.

The “other than 9/11” argument is ridiculous, for all of the reasons we discussed last week, and to forget about every other terrorist incident that affected Americans between 9/11 and January 2009 is absurd. For that matter, blaming President Obama for the actions of would-be terrorists – most of whom failed, all of whom were caught and brought to justice – seems bizarre.

If he’s the right’s “last, best hope,” conservatives may need a new champion.

Counter-Terrorism and Tom Cotton

The hawks' 'last, best hope'?