A lot of Minnesota Republicans have spent the last few months talking about how unelectable former radio show host Jason Lewis would be in a general election. So of course, he was chosen last night as the GOP congressional nominee for Minnesota's second district.
Lewis was one of four Republican candidates seeking to replace retiring Rep. John Kline. Kline has not yet endorsed Lewis, and previously told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the second was a "swing district" and that the nominee would need to appeal voters on both the left and right.
That could be a problem for Lewis, who has 25 years of far-right talk radio behind him. Here's just a sample of some of Lewis's baggage:
During a November 2012 broadcast, Lewis criticized young, single women as being single-issue voters, and also "ignorant" and "non-thinking."
You’ve got a vast majority of young single women who couldn’t explain to you what GDP means. You know what they care about? They care about abortion. They care about abortion and gay marriage. They care about 'The View.' They are non-thinking.
In January 2011, Lewis published the book Power Divided is Power Checked: The Argument for States' Rights. If the name doesn't give it away, the foundation of the book rests upon the Civil War being a fight over states' rights and secession, not about slavery. Some of the founders of the Confederacy might disagree. In an interview promoting the book, Lewis was asked if the Civil War was a war worth fighting. The closest his response came to answering that question was "kinda hard to say."
Earlier this year, Lewis released an update to that book to take on some of the Supreme Court decisions of the last few years that he is not fond of, specifically the court's upholding of Obamacare and the legality of same-sex marriage:
In fact, if you really want to be quite frank about it, how does somebody else owning a slave affect me? It doesn’t. If I don’t think it is right, I won’t own one, and people always say ‘well if you don’t want to marry somebody of the same sex, you don’t have to, but why tell somebody else they can’t. Uh, you know if you don’t want to own a slave, don’t. But don’t tell other people they can’t.
Is Lewis saying because slavery is illegal, gay marriage should be illegal, or because gay marriage is legal, slavery should be legal. Either way, it doesn't sound very good. Keep in mind he made that update after he had announced he was running for office.
Lewis left the radio business in 2014. He made a short film presenting a fictionalized account of his decision to quit called "Going Galt."
The phrase "Going Galt" refers to the novel Atlas Shrugged by libertarian philosopher Ayn Rand. In the book, John Galt is the leader of a group of elite industrialists who refuse to contribute to a society run by collectivists intent on mooching off their greatness. To "go Galt" means to righteously remove yourself and your wealth from society—and, most importantly, avoid paying taxes.
Lewis seems pretty enamored with Rand's creation. He's even formed a social network/cryptocurrency for people choosing to Go Galt called Galt.io:
Galt.io launched on May 15, 2014 and has already become the most engaging network anywhere on the internet. Our members are more active and dig deeper than any other network in the world, period. The economy has already grown to over 1.1 billion Galtcoins and 6.4 million shares owned. What was originally intended as a small but powerful community has already grown to over 4 thousand Members and continues to see accelerated growth every day.
Without an invite, there's not much to go on about the site except this graphic on the front page of the site including portraits of Sylvester Stallone, man with fedora over face (Michael Jackson?), Katniss Everdeen, Frederick Douglass, Daenerys Targaryen, Brad Pitt in Fight Club, Ronald Reagan, the Statue of Liberty and Abraham Lincoln. Presumably, they all have Gone Galt at some point? Some of them with dragons.
Lewis has not shied away from any of his past statements, telling Minnpost he never “took a position that I couldn’t defend then and can’t defend now.” In a February guest column for the Star-Tribune, he characterized bringing up things he has said in the past as a distraction from the issues that really matter.