I have made many less than warm remarks about my Congressman, Tom Reed. Now it is time for me to say something nice about him.
It is hard for me to find just one thing to admire about Tom Reed. I actually can't choose between his bravery and his loyalty. Tom Reed showed true bravery in last year while some of his fellow Republicans were running away from angry constituents who were furious that their Representatives were jeopardizing their lives by trying to kill the Affordable Health Care Act and replace it with a plan that did not guarantee coverage of pre-existing conditions. Witness Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman who snuck out a side door before a community meeting even began January 2017 when he saw that over 150 angry constituents showed up. Or California Congressman Tom McClintock who scurried away from his constituents in February 2017. Only 13 Republicans held Town Halls during June 2017 because the rest were avoiding their constituents, yet Reed held four.
And through it all Tom Reed stood tall at town hall meetings and bravely "agreed to disagree" with those who thought his recklessness would drive them into bankruptcy or prevent them from getting the health care needed for their children. It takes true guts to take a feces fajita and try to palm it off as a filet mignon.
Tom Reed’s other admirable quality is his loyalty. He has been loyal to Donald Trump through thick and thin. When three dozen Republicans asked Trump to drop out of the race after he got caught bragging about grabbing women by the pussy, Reed issued the mildest of statements saying, “Women are never to be talked about in this way”, and then he continued to support Trump.
And when Donald Trump said there was “blame on both sides” after a right wing extremist murdered Heather Heyer at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Reed criticized the White Nationalist extremists, but gave a pass to Trump’s claim of equivalency between the two sides.
And there was a time when Americans thought only dictators of banana republics and the Soviet Union wanted to lock up their political opponents. But Reed’s outrage went MIA when Trump threatened to lock up Hillary Clinton during one of the debates, or when Jeff Sessions or Michael Flynn or Trump’s many supporters chanted “Lock her up” at Trump’s rallies. And remember when Bill O’Reilly asked Donald Trump why he respected Putin despite the fact that Putin was a killer? And Trump responded, “There are a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?” It is hard to believe Reed would have held his tongue if anyone else had painted this picture of moral equivalency between the U.S. and Russia, but Reed refused to criticize Trump. Or Trump's constant use of the phrase "enemy of the people" , to demonize much of the press. This phrase was also used by the Nazis and Joseph Stalin to attack the press.
I have to give Reed credit for his loyalty. I could not stay loyal to ANYONE through all of this. There would come a time when I would have to stand up and scream, “ENOUGH! I CAN NO LONGER STAND BY THIS MAN AND MAINTAIN MY DIGNITY!” But Reed’s steely resolve to maintain his loyalty is second to none.
And what is truly awe-inspiring, what truly makes me shake my head in amazement, is that Reed didn’t bat an eye after Trump undercut him by calling his health care bill “mean”. I know I would have been livid if the President had undercut me after I faced down angry constituents at Town Halls over this bill, but not even this shook Reed’s loyalty. And for this I say Reed should win the gold medal at the Loyalty Olympics.