Occasionally I receive feedback from you – my dear readers – regarding a column I have written. Whether the emails are positive or negative, I consider them the highest compliment that something I wrote evoked a reaction strong enough for you to take time to express your feelings.
I thought it might be fun to take a look at a couple. I did change the names and content a bit to protect identities.
Edward from Van Buren commented on the column,"Pryor goes all in on Obamacare," which says Sen. Pryor seems to be owning his vote in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Edward asks, "Would it not be more true that Cotton has gone all in on Pryor’s vote?"
Edward is referring to Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, who is challenging Pryor, the Democrat, for the Senate seat in 2014. Edward is correct from the standpoint that Cotton has told me he plans to make Pryor’s vote a central issue of his campaign. It seems fair to me since this is the first time Pryor has stood for re-election since casting the vote.
But, as Cotton points, out that is hardly the only vote in which Pryor voted with President Obama.
"Mark Pryor says that when he goes to Washington he puts ‘Arkansas First’ but folks it just ain’t true," says Cotton in his stump speech. "Pryor votes with Obama over 90 percent of the time. I don’t think most Arkansans agree with Obama 90 percent of the time."
So, yes, Edward. I think Cotton will go all in not only on Pryor’s vote for Obamacare but his consistent record of voting with the president.
Judy from Jonesboro sent a note in reply to my column "Bookout is third high-profile scandal for Democrats," in which I point out that the problems for Sen. Bookout comes on the heels of scandals involving former state treasurer Martha Shoffner and state Rep. Hudson Hallum.
"I was just wondering why you did not list Mr. Bookout as a Democrat when you first introduced him in your article. It appears that whenever the wrongdoer is a Democrat the media almost never lead with the party label. However, when the wrongdoer is of another party that is the first thing that is told to the public. That is bias and I wonder if you were aware of it," writes Judy. "Please explain that to me."
Judy is correct that Sen. Bookout is a Democrat. However, I think she missed the point of my column – that the third high profile scandal involved a Democratic official.
Democrats, meanwhile, are enjoying flipping the story around to discuss Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, who dropped out of the race for Congress last week amid questions regarding his 2011 campaign filing on his debt retirement.
"Mark Darr’s decision to withdraw from the congressional race is appropriate considering the ethics investigation into his spending habits. It’s clear that the glass house from which Republicans have been standing in when it comes to ethics and the law is quickly coming down on them," said Candace Martin, communication director for the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
I suppose turn about is fair play. It would be nice if both parties could work together on putting some teeth into ethics reforms, but perhaps that is just wishful thinking.
Please keep on reading and sending your emails. Maybe I’ll respond in a future column.
Jason Tolbert is an accountant and conservative political blogger. His blog — The Tolbert Report — is linked at ArkansasNews.com. His e-mail is jason@TolbertReport.com.