Tom Reed’s brand

beardI mean if politicians talk in soundbites, if they don’t write their own speeches and if they don’t even write their own tweets . . . how can they possibly complain that the electorate is disengaged? I mean there is nothing to engage with, apart from a brand.–Mary Beard

Tom’s brand is marked by attacks on government, corporate welfare, laissez-faire, cut some–not all–government spending, rescind regulations, low taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals… He promotes his brand with buzzwords. Here are examples from the one-page ideas list he handed out at his townhall meetings on Jan. 31, 2015.

  • real economic growth
  • better tax and regulatory environment for business
  • encourage and support private investment
  • long term national debt
  • live within our means
  • reduce discretionary spending
  • debt is a major looming obstacle
  • burdensome regulation
  • government has to get out of the way
  • egregious regulations
  • regulatory abuses
  • government picks winners and losers
  • burdensome 70,000 page tax code
  • hardworking taxpayers
  • comprehensive domestic energy plan
  • Washington politicians

All these from a one-page handout with much white space. As Mary Beard observed, it is hard to argue–there is little substance to dispute. Most of Tom’s writing seems designed to leave an impression rather than to reflect reasoned argument–buzzwords play a central role in that.

© William Hungerford – February 2015…/alarm-clock-britain.html



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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4 Responses to Tom Reed’s brand

  1. pystew says:

    I thought Town Hall Meetings is when HE LISTENS to his constituents, not where he indoctrinates us with his talking points.


  2. whungerford says:

    When Tom agrees with someone, he nods sagely; when he disagrees, he argues, dodges, and spins. In the Town of Elmira, when asked about relief from student loans, he argued; when told that the Earned Income Tax Credit is overgenerous to the poor, he purred with sympathy in apparent agreement; when asked for help combating disease he shut off discussion with the flat statement: “budgets are tight.”


  3. whungerford says:

    Mark Twain wrote a story about a man who wouldn’t let a wrong go uncorrected. If he saw a man beating a horse, he tried to make him stop. If a man wouldn’t give up his seat to a lady on the bus, he intervened. It made for an interesting life.

    Tom’s meetings present a similar challenge–correcting everything he says would be challenging and likely lead to violence or at least intervention by Joe who poses as an impartial moderator.


  4. Deb Meker says:

    These town halls can be mesmerizing for sure. I’ve be to a couple, and unless you’re involved in taking notes, Reed’s glowing neon partisanship will blind you. He comes off with such slick aplomb, the polite audience usually just manage a frown or head shake. The people that come rarely upset Reed’s applecart with interruption, or frank refusal to take his rhetoric as enough. Too bad.
    Ninety percent of the above buzzwords could be flatly refuted (as he uses them), as some were in his Lansing TH last year; it takes an inordinate amount of courage to not give a damn about what others think, and to want him to answer more candidly above all.

    The other protection Reed gives himself besides expecting normal people to be polite, it to invite at least one or two plants to softball, or cry out loud about the fact that (fill in the blank with one of his pet talking points) isn’t “getting done” or is “hurting their family”. I have to believe he does this, or else I would have to believed that the majority of Reed’s district got what they deserve.


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