Is Tom Reed an extremist or a moderate?

Is Tom Reed an extremist or a moderate?  In my opinion he is both depending on the point of view. He has extreme libertarian views, he talks tea party talk, but he votes with the GOP leadership most of the time.  The GOP leadership isn’t moderate by historical standards, but, compared to the extremist fringe in the House, it is relatively moderate.

Reed’s views:  He insists on low taxes for the rich, he would make it easier for agribusiness to import foreign workers, he is indifferent to widespread poverty, he would defund Planned Parenthood even though he knows it provides valuable services other than abortion, he favors a balanced budget in good times and bad, he seems to be a Social Darwinist blaming the needy for their poverty.

Reed’s talk:  He cites 2nd Amendment concerns about firearm legislation even though as a lawyer he must know better.  He claims that Social Security, Medicare, and even the Federal Government might be bankrupt.  He supports the REINS act which would allow Congress to nit-pick government regulations.  He insists that TANF recipients find jobs even with widespread unemployment.

Reed’s votes: Rep Reed most often votes with the GOP leadership, but when he has the opportunity he votes with a bipartisan majority as he did last year on the “middle-class tax cut,” and more recently on the fiscal cliff, Hurricane Sandy relief, and (hypothetically) on VAWA.  Rep. Reed often holds out to the last minute, but will act in the public interest when necessary.  Thus Reed isn’t always a dogmatic extremist in spite of his views and his talk.

About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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6 Responses to Is Tom Reed an extremist or a moderate?

  1. Anne says:

    I think the proper term might be “opportunist.” (I believe that this is the impulse behind his having joined the No Labels group, as well.) Having seen the word ‘rino’ appear on his facebook page, I’m getting the sense that some of the TP base who voted for him have become disillusioned. It will be interesting to watch him try to balance the various interests of his constituency between now and November 2014.


  2. whungerford says:

    I agree with opportunist. One example is Tom’s use of the recession as an excuse to attack Social Security and Medicare; another is his use of the same excuse to try to rescind Federal regulations.
    I think Tom’s core constituency is the Republican majority of registered voters in the 23rd district. Evidently his views, his talk, and his votes have yet to offend the majority of them. The tea party fringe seems to be increasingly irrelevant here and elsewhere. It is interesting that the largest category of Nate Shinagawa’s supporters was “retired.”
    Rep. Reed’s strategy against Nate was to mock him while claiming to be “bipartisan.” Will that work against Martha Robertson? Time will tell.


  3. Deb Meeker says:

    Reed may not have as many chances to be opportunistic in the next go-round. Martha Robertson is starting early, with lots of time to get name recognition. Rep. Reed does not seem to handle direct challenges well, and making the big 6 on Emily’s List seemed to jolt him a bit. Being on Emily’s list can be double-edged. He’ll have to work harder to show he’s trying to be there for women and children, but the money machine from the right will want to insure his toady votes.


  4. whungerford says:

    If Rep. Reed can avoid a primary challenge, he will have a significant advantage as the incumbent in a Republican leaning district. His challenger must get more Democrats out to vote, give Independents and Republicans reason to switch, or both. Nate showed that it isn’t enough to win Tompkins County big; Martha needs to do well in Chemung, Steuben and points west.


  5. Pingback: Rep. Reed Votes To Ban Government Ammo Purchases | New NY 23rd

  6. Pingback: Reasons to vote for Rep. Tom Reed, if you must | New NY 23rd

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