Tom Cotton is one of the few Republicans who seems to have actually learned something from the 2016 election. He's been a consistently strong immigration patriot who has championed the RAISE act. He's also got a strong reputation within Conservatism Inc., even winning praise from the likes of Bill Kristol [The Making of a Conservative Superstar, by Molly Ball, The Atlantic, September 17, 2014]. He's a Harvard graduate and a combat vet.
In short, this is someone who immigration patriots can trust to stand up for the American people and yet who doesn't infuriate the Beltway Right. Now that the Trump wrecking ball has broken through the cordon sanitaire around immigration patriotism, Cotton would be the obvious choice to unite the GOP in the post-Trump era.
Therefore, the news he may be picked to become the next head of the CIA is politically disastrous [White House considers plan to replace secretary of state; reports state Arkansas' Cotton in line for CIA job,
by Frank E. Lockweood, ArkansasOnline,
November 30, 2017].
Cotton's major failure from a nationalist perspective is his willingness to go along with neoconservative foreign adventurism, the kinds of pointless Middle Eastern interventions which squander blood, treasure and political capital for no clear American gains. It's that kind of foreign policy stupidity which led Steve Bannon to declare, quite accurately, "There has not been a more destructive presidency than George Bush's" [Steve Bannon delivers blistering attack on former President George W. Bush,
by Maeve Reston, CNN,
October 21, 2017].
Neocons who want to bomb Iran are hardly in short supply in the GOP. But immigration patriots are. Cotton at CIA would mean turning the potential unifying figure of the Republican Party and the next face of National Conservatism
into just another cog in America's self-destructive foreign policy bureaucracy. It would mean not just losing a leader on immigration, but a transformation of that potential champion into a negative force.
Let's hope Cotton stays right where he is.