Every time Congressman Tom Reed, (R-Corning) comes home to his district and holds town meetings or addresses his constituents in other forums, he speaks, with great apparent sincerity, about how frustrated he is with partisan bickering in Washington.
He criticizes those extremists "on both sides" who keep trying to score political points instead of getting on with the business of governing in a thoughtful, cooperative and responsible manner.
We all have to work together and get past our differences, he says. Then he goes back to Washington and jumps right in to the partisan posturing and bickering.
Last month was the 37th repeal of Obamacare passed by House Republicans, with Tom Reed again joining in. Although everyone involved knows that these votes are meaningless and have absolutely no chance of ever becoming law, they keep doing it because it's great political theater that appeals to the extremist Republican base. Tom Reed has his part to play in this theater of the absurd and is always there for his scene. Back in the district he changes costume and plays a different role.
Can the real Tom Reed please stand up? Is he the mild mannered, bipartisan compromiser, trying to talk reason with the other side, who we see touring the district? Or is he the rabid, hard right party loyalist who actually casts votes in Washington?
Natalie Luczkowiak is a Dunkirk resident and community health consultant.