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Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) is using Medicare to show Arkansas voters just how extreme his Republican opponent in November, Rep. Tom Cotton, is.
"I wrote the Medicare Protection Act to stop politicians from destroying Medicare," Pryor said in the ad. "My legislation makes it harder to raise the eligibility or to turn Medicare over to the insurance industry. My opponent voted to withhold benefits until age 70, and I'm trying to stop that."

Pryor's attack on Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), the likely Republican nominee, is based on Cotton's support for a Republican Study Committee budget proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher system and raise the age for access to Medicare to 70.

Pryor is putting a lot of focus on both Medicare and Social Security this cycle, with a stump speech that includes House Republicans' efforts to "undermine the integrity" of the programs. Cotton has voted for both Paul Ryan's radical budgets, turning Medicare into a voucher program and the even more extreme Republican Study Committee proposal to raise the eligibility age.

Obviously it's smart politics: seniors are the most reliable voters, particularly in midterm elections. Cotton is likely to use the big Medicare lie—Obamacare steals from Medicare—against Pryor, so early inoculation against that makes sense. It also makes sense to expose just how extreme Cotton is early on.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 07:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (31+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 07:54:16 AM PDT

  •  Pryor is in much better shape than Blanche Lincoln (12+ / 0-)

    And the Big Dog has not started campaigning for him yet. Bill Clinton will pull him across the finish line in September and October.

    Pryor should be drafting a disaster aid relief bill for Arkansas right now in response to last night's tornadoes.

    Let's see if Tom Cotton and other Repubs pull that same pay-for bullshit they did for Sandy relief. People of Arkansas are paying attention. Lets see if they have the balls to stick to their crazy ideology.

  •  So, no living wage, but medicare if you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    survive long enough. Cute.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 08:26:04 AM PDT

    •  To give the devil his due - Pryor isn't (7+ / 0-)

      against raising the minimum wage altogether, but the $10.10 is just about a 50% increase over AR's current state minimum and he knows very well that's too big a jump for most Arkansans who don't work for minimum wage to accept.  I'm not saying Mark's the most liberal guy in the Senate or even really liberal at all, but he's so far ahead of Cotton and the TP-yahoos they almost make him look like Ted Kennedy in comparison.

      •  I'm sorry, but that is pure BS. What is on the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        table is 10.10, if you oppose that, you oppose raising the minimum wage. It is easy to say "I support some other proposition that will never come before me, but not the one that actually might", but it is also utterly meaningless to do so.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 10:55:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It might kill some jobs. (0+ / 0-)

        The best minimum wage is just above 50% of the median, and $10.10 could be above that level in AR. Pryor is for a ballot initiative that would set it at $8.50.

        Similarly, King and Collins in Maine are trying to come up with a compromise version that would stop short of $10.10.

        •  The best for whom? Politicians? Banksters? (0+ / 0-)

          How about the people living on the street while working two jobs, best for them too?

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 04:45:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  As usual if there are real world consequences (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and real people have to die because the Repubs win, certain "progressives" are ok with that collateral damage rather than have a less than optimal Democrat win reelection.

      You can't on one hand complain about Citizens United and the obstructionist House and on the other hand say Dems and Repubs are both horrible and we're better off if the blue dogs or conservadems lose and Republicans end up with majorities/with the presidency.

      When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

      by PhillyJeff on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 03:37:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You could read what I wrote and address it or (0+ / 0-)

        address your stupid monologue to yourself, since you clearly aren't addressing anything I said.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 03:49:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Normally I'm a purist (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cali Scribe, enhydra lutris

        but in this case it is possible that supporting a lesser increase in Arkansas might be acceptable. Besides, in California I have Diane Feinstein, so I cannot fault Arkansans too much for tolerating Sen. Pryor.

        •  I see it all the time, unfortunately many (0+ / 0-)

          "progressives" don't bat an eye when people die or suffer needlessly so I suppose it is a monologue.

          The same people probably think the ACA should have been vetoed (which would result in the deaths of thousands of people) because the ACA isn't perfect enough, so it's better to wait probably 20 more years and have probably tens of thousands of people die.

          Just like how they'd basically rather Mark Pryor lose and get an extreme Tea Party Republican who is going to make things worse for millions of Americans via Senate votes because it's more important for them to make their point online and go back to their white upper middle class lives.

          When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

          by PhillyJeff on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 06:01:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  let me defend purism (0+ / 0-)

            just because its the middle of the night and I'm feeling stupid.
            Let me give you the purist argument:
            Back in '94 we rightly turned down the Clinton health care plan. Our failure was not in the rejection, it was in not demanding something better, even if it cost us President Clinton's second term. In fact, we should have sacrificed that second term - the truth is that after NAFTA and that terrible health care bill he did not deserve a second term, and just to prove it he gave us the bank deregulation that was the ultimate cause of the '08 meltdown and the 2000 recession that was the real reason Al Gore didn't win enough states and allowed Florida to steal the election. Had we fought for single payer, even if it cost us the '96 election we would have gotten a 1 term Dole presidency, but no bank deregulation, no W, and single payer in 2004 or 2008. Instead we had 4 years of Clintonistic betrayals, the hell of W, and in 2014 a health care bill that is almost as bad as the Clinton bill.
            You are clearly correct in lauding the lives saved by the ACA, but the difference between the ACA and single payer is $1.2 trillion a year - you have to deduct the lives that will be lost by sacrificing that $1.2 trillion and the lives that will be lost because of the corruption that that money will facilitate. Looking at it that way I say the ACA is a net negative.
            As an illustration  let's look at a purist strategy that worked - the US extreme right: They sacrificed the second Bush (elder) presidency, but got the Gingrich house, the Boehner house, and the DLC.
            That is the purist argument. It is admittedly based on ultimately succeeding, but all strategies are.

    •  Sure, Pryor will campaign as a Democrat (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      ... when his backside is on the line.  But once he gets back to Washington he'll go all Blue Dog all over again, using the excuse that he represents a conservative state.  A conservative state he has to sound like an actual Democrat to win in.  

      He does know we can see him, right?  Right through him.

      We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

      by Dallasdoc on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 04:28:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm good with it this time (0+ / 0-)

        Hello Dallas Doc.  Always glad to see another Dallas person.

        I don't normally mind if Blue Dogs go down, but I need Pryor for Supreme Court nomination.   In 2016 we won't need him so much.  But right now we do.

        For another thing, with all the talk about Republicans should win the Senate, if they don't  there will be a whole other round of circular firing squad where Republicans point at each other.  That's always fun to watch.

        •  No longer in Dallas (0+ / 0-)

          Glad you're holding down the fort.

          I don't expect better of Pryor.  I just observe the irony of a Conservadem using his state as an excuse, when he campaigns to the left of his record to get another term.  Yes, we need the vote, but we can still point out what a douchebag he is.

          We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

          by Dallasdoc on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 05:32:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Lots of seniors in Arkansas (0+ / 0-)

      Who are on a fixed income and don't even work minimum wage jobs. So minimum wage is meaningless to a lot of seniors Medicare/SS are what matters it affects the type of voters who are most likely going to turn out this fall SENIORS.

  •  it will be... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, TofG, wishingwell

    interesting to see how Cotton votes on disaster relief for the recent devastation in his state.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 08:44:04 AM PDT

  •  I think Senator Pryor's political obit has been (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, TofG, GleninCA

    written way too soon.

    If this tactic succeeds, which I think it will, it should silence a lot of the chatter about needing to cut Medicare and SS.

    You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment.

    by MikePhoenix on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 03:44:44 PM PDT

  •  pryor needs to go one step further and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    lump affordable care in with medicare -- saying 'cotton' wants to repeal both.  then sit back and let cotton try to sort out the mess.

  •  Can Pryor win? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    His state used to be a national bellwether, voting for the national winner of the presidential election during the entire 1972-2004 timeframe (with margins not straying from the national one). Since Obama lost by 20 points in 2008, the state has however shifted quickly to the far right, trashing Blanche Lincoln in 2010, going from a 3-1 Democrat House delegation to a 3-1 Republican and now a 4-0 one, not to mention the legislature going Republican in 2012.

    Pryor would break a very strong trend if he were reelected. He is definitely not a Blanche Lincoln, but his survival would seem to be against the odds.

    •  You make a good point, it is hard to tell, depends (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      how much damage he can do to his opponent and how well his ads play. It will help if he can show his opponent to be radical, anti worker, and more.

      Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at

      by wishingwell on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 03:59:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He's looking pretty good right now (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bananapouch1, GleninCA

      Ahead in all the recent polls (although that NYT poll that had him up by 10 is probably too optimistic).

      I don't discount his chances, not with a nutjob like Cotton as his opponent. And don't underestimate his last name either. The Pryor name carries a lot of weight in Arkansas (his father is arguably the most beloved politician in the state's recent history).

  •  populist messages like these... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...are tailor made for red state Democrats, it seems to me.
    If we had more Democrats aggressively defending Social Security and Medicare in red states...we'd have a lot more elected Democrats from those red states...and elsewhere.

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