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MN-02

lewisYeah, he got busted again for something he said on his radio show, back in the day. The important thing is that there is no real indication that his belief system has changed in any significant way, since then.
 

Rep. Jason Lewis, who is running for reelection in Minnesota’s 2nd District, has offered the Republican Party’s go-to line on opposing same-sex marriage since he was elected to Congress in 2016 — that the decision should be left to states.
 
But before then, Lewis promoted extreme opinions about gays and lesbians on his radio show, comparing them to rapists, criminals, and polygamists. He contended that gay rights activists were “shredding the Constitution,” and that same-sex parents “could harm the kid.”
 
On the Jason Lewis Show in 2013, he argued it was acceptable to single out gay couples with discriminatory marriage bans, just as rapists and speeding drivers could be targeted by criminal laws. But if a court ruled that the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause granted same-sex couples the right to marry, he said, that would be equivalent to providing constitutional protections to a wide variety of lawbreakers.
(BuzzFeed)

The following comes with a double dose of the usual caveats: no complacency, fight like you’re behind to the end, etc., etc.
 

And in a sign that they are already preparing for substantial losses, Republican officials are contemplating political triage, weighing which districts may be beyond hope and determining where money can be saved.
 
Among the seats that Republicans see slipping out of reach are those held by Representatives Rod Blum of Iowa and Jason Lewis of Minnesota, along with more than half a dozen open seats currently held by Republicans in New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania and Arizona.
(New York Times)

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lewisI suppose it’s a good thing that outlets like CNN are looking like maybe, just maybe, they’ll be perhaps a little more honest and reality-based in talking about Republican pols, incumbents and otherwise, this time around. Even “maybe, a little” would be a big improvement over 2016.
 

A Republican congressman from Minnesota has a long history of making deeply misogynistic comments on the radio, including lamenting that women can no longer be called “sluts.”
 
CNN’s KFile reviewed several months of audio from Rep. Jason Lewis on the “Jason Lewis Show,” a syndicated radio program Lewis hosted from 2009 until 2014 with the tagline “America’s Mr. Right.” In one instance, while arguing that “young single women” vote based on coverage of birth control pills, Lewis said those women were not human beings and were without brains…
 
“Well, the thing is, can we call anybody a slut? This is what begs the question. Take this woman out of it, take Rush out of it for a moment,” Lewis said in a March 2012 episode. “Does a woman now have the right to behave — and I know there’s a double standard between the way men chase women and running and running around — you know, I’m not going to get there, but you know what I’m talking about. But it used to be that women were held to a little bit of a higher standard. We required modesty from women. Now, are we beyond those days where a woman can behave as a slut, but you can’t call her a slut?”
(CNN)

As far as his campaign, so far Lewis seems to be essentially playing a sort of prevent defense, not saying much in public and not doing anything too high-profile as a legislator. That could well change, at least as far as him running his mouth goes, if his seat continues to look like a fairly likely flip. Or perhaps he’s already just pretty much given up. It doesn’t appear to me that he likes being in Congress as much as he did his previous gigs.
 

And that was followed up on June 14th, when Congressman Lewis tweeted after his taking part in the “Can opioids save the GOP from losing the midterms?“ event.
 
Gosh, a new “Advisory Committee” ?
 
Does President Trump think he needs another “Advisory Committee” ?
 
Let us remember that President Trump already issued an executive order on March 29, 2017, establishing the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. As such, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has begun instituting procedures aimed at monitoring and managing opioid prescription usage but Congressman Lewis wants a “Advisory Committee” to provide them guidance.
(MN Political Roundtable)

Update: CNN has released more. I do feel for the people assigned to listen to those tapes of Lewis’s show. It’s gotta be an ordeal. But they’re making a sacrifice for the greater good.
 

That same month, Lewis added the welfare state has in some ways been worse for the black community than Jim Crow, calling black people “addicted” to government programs.
 
“What the welfare state has done to the black community, a hundred years of racism could not do,” he said. “A hundred years of racism could not break it up, it could not destroy black families. Jim Crow could not do it. But what dependency has done, is has caused unwanted pregnancy, illegitimacy. It has told young black males that they are dispensable, they don’t need to hang around when mom needs support or whatever and it has destroyed — and not just black communities, but any urban community, and so what you’ve got here is now they’re addicted. Large swaths of Hispanic communities, black communities are addicted to these, these subsidies.”
(CNN)

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lewis“What never should have happened” is of course Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN), formerly just another dime-a-million right-wing media clown, getting into the United States Congress.
 
Lewis hasn’t made waves during his time in the House so far. By the standards of the populace as a whole both his agenda and his way of presenting it are ridiculous and extreme, but in the current GOP caucus he fits right in. For example:

 

Yep, we hear Congressman Lewis preach that everyone can “tighten its belt” … and that should obviously include Congressman Lewis, right ?
 
Let’s look at the most recent report of his Members Representational Allowance … and see some of his spending.
 
$1,500.00 TVEYES Inc. service contract for the period of October 1 through December 31, 2018. FYI : TVEyes Media Monitoring Suite is a subscription-based product used by anyone who needs to know what is being broadcast on TV and radio in real-time — no waiting for it to appear on YouTube ! Heaven forbid missing the opportunity to see cable talking heads discussing Jason Lewis’s most recent appearance on FOX, CNN, etc. … surely, you are a subscriber ???? (FunFact … TVEYES just lost in court when FOX News sued over copyright use … if Congressman Lewis cannot see himself on FOX clips, he may want to see about a refund.)
 
$297.91 to FineArtAmerica.Com in August
(Gosh, wouldn’t ya think a Congressional millionaire with a $174,000 salary would be able to purchase his own office art work instead of putting it on the taxpayer’s bill.)
 
And there are some meals the taxpayers paid … like September payments
$1,256.30 at CAVA MEZZE
$1,139.72 at CARMINE’S
$ 612.92 at CAPITOL HOST (RIDGEWELL)
(Gosh, since the taxpayers are paying the tab, shouldn’t they get to know who “Representative” Lewis invited to these meals and what was discussed?)
(MN Political Roundtable)

A group of about 20 protesters showed up at U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis’ (R) house in Woodbury (last August). They coursed up his driveway bearing signs, crowded around his front step, and chanted about healthcare loudly enough for his neighbors to hear. Lewis had supported the Republican health care bill, which included deep cuts to Medicaid.
 
Lewis wasn’t at home, but when he heard about the “invasion” later, he was incensed, calling the protest a “wanton disregard of civility,” and a “dangerous ramping up of rhetoric that already has one of my House colleagues in rehab from a vicious attack.”
 
…A video of the protest accompanied Lewis’ post as evidence, though instead of threatening mobsters, protesters are elderly ladies, a senior gentleman in a wheelchair, homecare workers, and a handful of young activists with TakeAction Minnesota.
(City Pages)

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MN-02: MiniTrump starts off as expected

by Dan Burns on January 17, 2017 · 1 comment

lewisMy fingers burn with disgust as I type “Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN).”
 

During his successful congressional campaign to represent Minnesota‘s Second District, Jason Lewis said just because you are in the same party you don’t work in lockstep — adding that he would be someone who is principled over party — in contrast to his opponent, Angie Craig, who he said would be a rubber stamp for Hillary Clinton…
 
Representative Lewis did not object to the work schedule or to increasing reporting of contributions to Presidential Libraries … but he did object to the federal government ( the Executive Branch) establishing rules that address the amount of lead in public drinking water…
 
“Representative” Lewis also sponsored his first bill … H.R. 184 repealing the medical device excise tax…
 
For his first week on the job, “Representative” Lewis has proven to be a great friend to the Washington Establishment … something that has become quickly evident — who Jason Lewis “represents.”
(MN Political Roundtable)

More from the same place, here.
 

This is certainly not unexpected. Lewis’s pretensions to providing any kind of constituent-focused, self-determined voting record were ridiculous all along. Sadly, that’s a big part of why authoritarian right-wingers get out and vote for the likes of him.
 

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Should Hillary spend money on Minnesota? Just to cut to the chase, yes, but that’s admittedly a hard case to make given how Minnesota has voted for the Democratic nominee in every presidential election since 1956 except for 1972, when we made our what-the-hell-were-we-thinking mistake and voted for the one president who resigned in disgrace. I personally think of Minnesota not as a blue state, but as a purple state where the Democrats are good at GOTV (Get Out The Vote). But yeah, hard to argue with that presidential record. Or with how much better financed the DFL is than the MNGOP, or with the DFL record in statewide races. We’ve won every statewide race starting in 2006 except for governor in 2006, when Tim Pawlenty won by about 1% while a third party liberal took 5%. It was that close.
 
So OK, my purple state claim is resting pretty much on the way the legislature keeps changing hands, and the way we split US House seats 4-4 or 5-3. But that also gets to why we deserve some presidential campaign attention. We want to win the House, right? That seems incredibly optimistic to me, but the Republicans are fearfully talking about it as a plausible outcome, and I suppose they have to be right one day. Besides, if we want to win the House, we have to nibble away where we can, giving more Democrats the advantage of incumbency the next election — and Minnesota has more competitive districts than anyone would expect from a medium sized state.
 
As it happens, Minnesota isn’t gerrymandered. Really. Yes, we’re self-packed like every other state with a major metropolitan area. Liberals are comfortable with a big city’s density and proximity to public spaces, while conservatives like their big lawns and long drives. Like in almost every other state, this works to the advantage of conservatives since there’s no way to draw district lines to break up liberals unless we ignore the principle that municipalities should be kept together, and when those municipalities are big, self-packing it is. Fortunately, not being gerrymandered means our districts aren’t drawn in strange ways to get the most advantageous distribution of conservatives. Our process is each house of the legislature passes a redistricting plan, then a conference committee works out the differences, and the governor signs it, with one of the latter two steps never happening. Our state government has been split between parties something like the last five redistrictings, so a panel of judges eventually gives up on the other two branches and just makes its own plan.
 
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MN-02: What’s up with this GOP field?

by Dan Burns on April 13, 2016 · 5 comments

capitol2There were as many as seven candidates. A couple have dropped out. I suppose that right now, four of them look like “serious” players. Yeah, quite a crew. The Democratic candidate is Angie Craig.
 

– David Gerson, who in the past ran quixotic campaigns against the retiring/fleeing incumbent, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), keeps winning straw polls. Whether that will carry to more comprehensive success…we’ll see. Dude’s one of those pseudo-libertarian types, whose levels of self-admiration tend to vastly outstrip their real-world political success. Like with Rand Paul’s presidential “effort.”

 
– Speaking of which, I read somewhere that Jason Lewis wiped his past blogging when he announced, presumably with the intention of trying to get away with acting more reality-based in the here and now. Whether or not that’s true, he seems to have found that like the shades of Borley Rectory the past does not go down so readily, and so he’s determined to embrace the crazy and let it roll.

 

– John Howe was pretty much a nonentity in the Minnesota legislature, and maybe the idea was that a record like that would make him a “safe” pick. There hasn’t exactly been a groundswell.
 
– Darlene Miller has been endorsed by Kline, will presumably have plenty of money, and is clearly aiming for the primary.

 
Gerson might well win at the endorsing convention on May 7. But as for the August 9 primary election, right now, your informed guess is as good as mine. Probably better.
 
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MN-02: A big, and sorry, GOP field – Update

by Dan Burns on February 23, 2016 · 1 comment

republicansWell, with such thoroughly unimpressive Republican competition for the endorsement/primary (though damn imposing, from Angie Craig, in the general), why shouldn’t anyone with any political ambition at all just pile on in? mnpACT! has a brief but very effective rundown of the contestants. It doesn’t lend itself to a teaser blockquote, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that you must click and read. Only takes a minute or two.
 

With the endorsement caucuses on March 1, a week from tomorrow, I can’t find anyone trying to make a case for who the favorite for endorsement might be. I certainly don’t know. If I had to guess, Jason Lewis or John Howe. (Though David Gerson’s doggedness, and his particular brand of extremism, may impress more than a few of this crowd.) It won’t surprise me if there is no endorsement.
 

Perhaps it helps to ask who here has the most in common with the GOP presidential nomination frontrunner, Donald Trump. I suppose that would be Lewis, though I gotta admit that I haven’t troubled to carefully familiarize myself with each and every one of these candidates. To say the least.
 
Update: This doesn’t prove Mr. Lewis to be the most Trump-esque, but I could be on the right track. Certainly appears to have a similar psychological grounding in narcissistic and delusional disorders. Then again, so do a lot of conservative candidates, these days.
 

Lewis complained in 2009 that “real Americans” think Hurricane Katrina victims were “a bunch of whiners,” and he said last year that “the median income for blacks in America would make them rich in most African nations, not most – all.”
 
The Republican candidate also warned in 2012 that the “white population” would be “committing political suicide” and “committing cultural suicide” if U.S. whites did not raise their birth rate in comparison to other racial groups.
 
Those ideas echo “white genocide” fears promoted by white supremacist groups.
 
Lewis, who has argued that legal same-sex marriage violates his own constitutional rights, said the federal government lacked the authority to outlaw slavery.
(Raw Story)

Image: Addicting Info
 

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kline2Believe it or not, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) actually could leave some elements of a positive legacy, in what remains of his final term in Congress. Starting with some veterans issues.
 

The obvious question then is : What part does John Kline play as his time in the House runs out ?
 
As a veteran, there are some issues that need to be on his To-Do list:
 
H.R. 3988: Military and Veterans Education Protection Act which has been assigned to Chairman Kline’s committee. This bipartisan legislation would close a loophole that allows For-Profit schools to avoid having to secure at least 10 percent of their revenue from non-federal sources…
 
H.R. 1603: Sexual Assault Victims Empowerment (SAVE) Act is a bipartisan bill designed to address military sexual trauma survivors who face bureaucratic red-tape that often gets in the way of their seeking treatment from qualified, experienced providers outside the Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system and TRICARE. The Military SAVE Act would give these survivors the option to seek reimbursable care from non-VA/TRICARE medical providers who can best provide the care these victims need…
 
A bipartisan group of 46 members, led by Tim Walz, have offered H.R.3423: Agent Orange Extension Act of 2015 to reinstate it for two more years. Further, John Katko (R-NY-24) and Collin Peterson have teamed up to offer H.R.3547 – Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Fairness Act…
 
ToDo List: Congressman Wenstrup has offered H.R.475 – GI Bill Processing Improvement Act of 2015 … Chairman John Kline needs to save the taxpayers some money and co-sponsor this legislation that will limit private schools to a $20,235 cap.
(MN Political Roundtable)

Also, Kline and everyone else in Congress should note: “New bi-partisan poll of veterans shows they oppose privatization or voucherization of VA care.” The polling was commissioned by the Vet Voice Foundation.
 
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MN-02: Jason Lewis enters race

by Dan Burns on October 13, 2015 · 0 comments

lewisLewis’s entry adds the clownish, yet disturbing and frankly repugnant, overtones to the MN-02 contest that have overwhelmed the race for the GOP presidential nomination. I have no idea, whether or not the state GOP hierarchy, or the NRCC, are pleased with that.
 

Longtime radio talk show host Jason Lewis announced Monday that he’s running for Congress in Minnesota’s 2nd District.
 
Lewis, who has never held elected office, becomes the fourth Republican trying to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn…
 
The other announced Republican candidates in the 2nd District are David Gerson, John Howe and Pam Myhra.
(MPR)

This article about Lewis, from Bluestem Prairie, doesn’t really lend itself to blockquoting, and in any case is a must-read in its entirety.
 
I got the image from his Facebook page.
 

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MN-02: The John Kline replacement sweepstakes

by Dan Burns on September 24, 2015 · 2 comments

gopWhen Rep. John Kline (R-MN) announced his retirement, and many names were being thrown around by observers as potential replacements, I figured that I’d hold off for a while on blogging about it, and hopefully save myself considerable time and effort. Was I ever right, for a change.
 
To get the DFL side out of the way, first, Angie Craig and Mary Lawrence obviously have big head starts. Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-St. Paul) expressed interest, but subsequently declined.
 

As far as Republicans go, this article is from yesterday:
 

Two Republicans are now competing to replace John Kline in Congress.
 
Former state Sen. John Howe on Tuesday joined David Gerson in seeking the Republican endorsement to run for Congress in the 2nd District next year…
 
At a recent tea party event in Red Wing, Gerson gave about two dozen people an update on his campaign. Dressed in a blue button-down shirt, jeans and a handgun on his hip, Gerson told the tea partyers that he wants Congress to defund Planned Parenthood and that he hopes to reduce the size and scope of the federal government…
 
Former state Sen. Ted Daley, former state Rep. Pam Myrha, state Rep. Tony Albright and Savage-based businessman Chris Andryski are other Republicans thinking about jumping into the race.
(MPR)

Those who I saw had their names thrown out there, and in at least most cases expressed interest at some point, but who have all now explicitly said no, include former Minnesota district judge and First Lady Mary Pawlenty, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty press secretary Brian McClung, State Reps. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa), Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), and Roz Peterson (R-Lakeville), State Sens. Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville) and Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake), U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s utterly hapless 2012 opponent Kurt Bills, and Sen. Al Franken’s 2014 opponent Mike McFadden. Nearly all of the preceding have lengthy records of utterances and actions that would have provided ample attack material for opponents. I thought that Pawlenty would have been a pretty strong candidate, though there could have been suspicion that she was just running on her last name working against her. I’ve also seen talk about state Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont), but no indication as to whether she is really considering it or not.
 

We’ll see what more shakes out in the next couple of weeks.
 
Image: Randy Molton.
 
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