Bill Hungerford had already commented on a particular nasty piece of campaign literature our congressman, Tom Reed, sent out last week.
Martha Robertson is an “extreme Ithaca liberal,” Tom said. But there is nothing extreme in any of Martha’s positions, which are there for all to see at her website. Moreover, it’s unbecoming for a Member of Congress to cast aspersions one of the principal cities in his district, a city that he is supposed to be representing. Ithaca is home to a great university and a major source of jobs and economic growth for our region. Reed, however, writes it off as just a nest of liberals.
Martha Robertson says that global warming should be Congress’ top priority, Reed says in this egregious little pamphlet, evidently intending a criticism. An internet search does not turn up an instance of Martha using these exact words, but she does list clean energy and the environment among her top priorities, along with investing in the middle class and promoting jobs and economic development. Of course Martha cares deeply about clean energy and the environment. New York’s 23rd is heavily affected by these matters since it depends so much on agriculture and tourism. Perhaps Tom Reed has forgotten the micro-burst that recently flooded Penn Yan. Perhaps he didn’t notice the freak hailstorm in Yates County or the tornado near Syracuse. As our congressman, he should be making climate change a top priority, not criticizing others for doing so.
Martha supports $716 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage, Tom Reed says. This is an absurd allegation. The $716 billion “cuts” issue goes back to the early part of the decade and was settled long ago. Martha Robertson had nothing to do with it. In calculating how to pay for the Health Care Reform Act, the Obama Administration decided to slow the growth of Medicare over the years 2013-2022 by $716 billion, much of it achieved by slowing the growth of the increasingly costly Medicare Advantage program. There were no actual cuts involved. This very same reduction was included in the budgets prepared by Paul Ryan, the Republican chair of the House Budget Committee.
Rep. Reed has been a strong supporter of the Ryan budgets. So of the two candidates in the race, Reed is the one who supported the $716 billion in “cuts” to Medicare Advantage, not Martha Robertson.
Reed concludes his pamphlet by proclaiming his commitment to preserving Medicare and Social Security. Voters in New York’s 23rd are smarter than this. They know that Republicans want to privatize Social Security and replace the Medicare guarantee with a voucher system. Republicans bitterly opposed the establishment of both programs — many of us recall the Republican cries of “socialized medicine” when Medicare was created. The best way to protect Medicare and Social Security is to return the House of Representatives to Democratic control, and the election of Martha Robertson in November will go a long way toward this goal.
In a way, Reed’s mailing is kind of sad. Is this his best shot? Name calling, anti-intellectualism, climate change denial, and misrepresentation? But sad or not, Reed’s pamphlet shows a deep lack of respect for the voters of New York’s 23rd.