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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Jason Lewis: He Gives Us A Letter Of Contempt And Condescension

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 03/29/17 08:35

by Dave Mindeman

Jason Lewis is a condescending jerk.

Here is a letter to Northfield News that Jason Lewis wrote to respond to calls for a town hall....

To the editor:

Sara Weeks of ISAIAH Northfield's letter deserves a response.

He is responding to this letter.
Linked here.

What follows in italics is his response:

Not only have I met with countless groups and citizens both in the district and in D.C. since taking office just two months ago, I have done two telephone town halls from Washington (where the schedule has kept me) and have personally called some of my most vocal critics demanding a "town hall."

Alright, let's be serious. Meeting with lobbyist groups or special interest groups do not count as "constituent meetings". And, my goodness, meeting with visitors in small groups is good - but not exactly open access. And PLEASE, let's get rid of this act stating that TeleTown Halls are "constituent meetings". As we all learned from the John Kline days, they are carefully staged selective questions and answers that allow for almost no input from the public. Those do not count as far as I am concerned, so don't patronize the 2nd District with nonsense. And if you want to call your critics, why not do it in an open forum, so we can all hear what is said.

However, when I asked them what it was they wanted to discuss - instead of an inquiry on a specific issue - the general response I get is, "I want our group to see you in person at a town hall." If there's no specific question I can answer I wonder why the desire for a town hall seems stronger than usual.

Are you really that obtuse? We just went through a health care Congressional debacle and you can't figure out what kind of questions we want to ask? And, by the way, why is it our responsibility to ask you questions in advance. The whole idea of a town hall is to allow your constituents to ask a broad range of questions. Anything on their mind.

The fact is many of these groups are essentially fronts for Democrat campaigns. As MinnPost (not exactly right of center) reports: 'Progressive goups and such organizers as TakeAction and ISAIAH have ideas for sweeping changes about the way Minnesotans think about democracy. Now is an exciting time for the once-underdogs - who many credit with helping deliver DFL majorities in the Legislature - to reaffirm the progressive politics and economic justice message that they've advocated for years.'

So, you use an opinion piece in an online newspaper as proof that you are being attacked by "front groups"? Really? Even if these are "front groups", as you put it, they are still constituents aren't they? And there ideas are valid and worthy of attention. But it seems you only consider the NRA, the Chamber of Commerce, the Koch Brothers, and the Tea Party as "constituents" worthy of your time.

It's far too early to start the 2018 campaign season, but that apparently isn't stopping these activists from some creative myth-making for future political gain. Indeed, national liberal organizations such as Indivisible Guide are busy attacking Republican House members for not conducting so-called "town halls" weeks into a new session, while they conveniently ignore Democrat House members who've gone years without one.

Campaign? This isn't about 2018. We are all worried about the here and now...and we expect answers to our questions. If you are afraid of Indivisible Guide groups, that is your problem. Indivisible is made up of spontaneous grass roots groups - not a nationally organized entity. If individuals cannot get together and leverage their concerns, then you are not talking about democracy. And your assumption that only Republicans are being "attacked" as you put it (interesting that a request for a town hall meeting is now an "attack" ), is simply false. Democrats are meeting with these groups and plenty of other groups as well. They are not looking upon these meetings as "attacks".

Of course, the 'town hall crisis' is only a means to an end. The real narrative these very liberal groups hope to cement in the mind of voters is the false notion that I am not responding to sincere outreach to my office. Of course I am.

Of course? In whose opinion? Mr. Lewis, if you would please drop the ongoing Republican paranoia (which seems to think that everything said by anyone questioning your agenda is "the enemy" ), and simply listen to the requests being sent, you would find that these concerns are real and very legitimate. Read Sara Weeks letter again - without the Lewis bias that you have obviously adopted.

But frequently these groups do not pose real inquiries or real questions, they are offering protests designed to drown out real dialogue from those who actually wish to communicate with us. There is no doubt I will do town halls, but I will not allow them to become a campaign rally for either side. I have an obligation to represent all constituents in the 2nd district; and part of that obligation is to follow-through on the set of principles I spoke about and promises I made.

OMG! Come on, Congressman. That is such condescending crap. Drowning out "those who actually wish to communicate with us"? Do we not count? Are we to always to be ignored as long as we are stuck with you as our Congressman? What arrogance. Let's be clear. Your actions prove that you DO NOT represent ALL of the 2nd District. That paragraph is absurd.

I want to hold a town hall in order to hear from my constituents and give them answers as best I can. That can't happen if some people are determined to stage a free-for-all. The quickest way to get any representative (whether Al Franken or Tim Walz, both of whom went years without an open forum) to conduct a town hall would be to engage in constructive and respectful dialogue.

Let's face it. You are afraid. Why would you assume that this will be a "free-for-all"? Why? Yes, sometimes these things get loud, but that is what happens when pent up frustration boils over from being ignored and condescended to. Do you really think that a letter like this and refusals to hold a real meeting is helping this frustration? And don't deflect on what the Democrats have done in the past. Walz and Franken have excellent constituent records...you would do well to use them as models.

Unfortunately, as we have seen throughout the nation, a free-for-all is exactly what these progressive groups desire.


Congressman Jason Lewis

So, Congressman, that is how you wish to leave it? Progressive groups are not part of you plan apparently. An open forum where you might have to confront progressives is not part of your job description? I am truly tired of this condescension and deflection.

Congressman Lewis...we, in the 2nd District, have only one response.

DO YOUR JOB FOR EVERYONE. Not just those who agree with you.
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