Since we pay as much attention to talk radio as we do fantasy leagues or professional sports chatter on twitter, Bluestem's had to catch up on our reading about conservative radio personality Jason Lewis.
In a video, Lewis has pledged to run a campaign about ideas and policy in his bid for the Republican slot in Minnesota's Second Congressional District, an open seat of one of the few genuine swing districts in the nation.
What are Lewis's ideas about policy?
On the Mercatus Center's website, we found some fascinating policy discussions on his radio show, which he walked away from a while ago to run a digital Galt's Gulch. In case readers don't know much about the place, Sourcewatch says:
The Mercatus Center was founded and is funded by the Koch Family Foundations. According to financial records, the Koch family has contributed more than thirty million dollars to George Mason, much of which has gone to the Mercatus Center, a nonprofit organization.
Lewis shares his views about the value of higher education--including liberal arts degrees-in Antony Davies Discusses Student Loan Interest Rates on The Jason Lewis Show (2013) and that of the Farm Bill and farm policy in Matthew Mitchell Discusses the Farm Bill on the Jason Lewis Show (2014). Since the Second is home to St. Olaf and Carleton, as well as some fine public technical and community colleges, as well as many farmers, we recommend that voters in the Second listen to the audio files available at the links.
Voters can also form an idea of Lewis's ideas by the company of those most comfortable with him. The Woodbury resident played a supporting role in an extended 2010 profile of the then-congresswoman in the Washington Post, Michele Bachmann is cool to mainstream media, and an increasingly hot property, serving as local guide to the WaPo reporter, who observed:
The man who has enjoyed the best and longest access to Bachmann is a sandy-haired, tanned 54-year-old who arrives at the Minneapolis studios of KTLK-FM to do his radio show in a golf shirt.
No figure was more instrumental in Bachmann's early political success than Jason Lewis. Although his show became nationally syndicated only a year ago, he has been a force in Minnesota for two decades, lacerating Democrats, centrist Republicans and conservative apostates. He is to Minnesota Republican politics what radio titan Walter Winchell was to New York politicians: a force capable of delivering migraines.
In his studio, he takes a seat now across from where Bachmann sometimes sits when she does the show. More often, he gets her on the phone. Having known each other for a decade, they are chummy on-air: A relaxed Bachmann doesn't receive uncomfortable questions, and Lewis, in turn, can steer her into intriguing discussions mainstream journalists can't.
She sounds liberated in Lewis's world. Recently, she meandered into a discussion of 2012 Republican presidential politics, taking veiled swipes both at former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney ("What happened in Massachusetts is not a good thing for the state," she said in reference to the Massachusetts health-care plan approved by Romney) and John McCain ("We need to get a presidential candidate who is a constitutional conservative with guts. No substitutes this time").
Lewis expresses sympathy with what he views as Bachmann's special burden in dealing with "the establishment media," a force with waning clout, Lewis believes. "They have Michele in their cross hairs," he declares. "They used to be the media gatekeepers, but no more." . . .
Lewis, who regarded her as an up-and-comer with uncommon political backbone, threw the full weight of his show behind her [state senate endorsement challenge]. "I was leading the charge to get more House crazies elected," he remembers, grinning. . . .
Our favorite Lewis gem so fair, however, is the prescient prediction by Republican pundit Sarah Janecek in Ellen Tomson's November 12, 2000 profile in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Conservatively Speaking, Local Talk Show Host Jason Lewis Likes Being Right in Minnesota" (via Nexis):
. . ."He's much too conservative for me," says Sarah Janecek, a Republican and a co-editor of Politics in Minnesota newsletter. "But there is a place for people who try to be ideologically pure like Jason. It's good radio and gets people going." . . .
Some observers believe he may declare himself a candidate again some day. Janecek, for example, gauges his interest in public office by the congratulatory letters he sent delegates to the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.
"I was an alternate, and he sent me one," Janecek says. "I also got letters from Tim Pawlenty, Norm Coleman, George Bush. So, he was in that group. People don't send those letters unless they are interested in something."
. . .Lewis can't rule out the possibility of a run for public office.
"You never know," says "Mr. Right." (Nexis All-News, accessed 10/12/2015)
Janecek nailed it, fifteen years ago.
Photo: Lewis, a native of Waterloo, Iowa, introduced Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann in the Iowa city in 2011. Severely cropped photo by Glen Stubbe, via DML-Star Tribune.
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