The video opens with Congressman Jason Lewis hard at work door-knocking in his district. “So Angie Craig likes to drink beer, hire fake actors, and put on a show,” Lewis announces to the camera.
He has a point. He’s referring to a comically wooden ad by Democrat Angie Craig, in which she appears at a bar dressed in flannel and down vest, earnestly listening to constituents over a round of brewskies. It’s the unfortunate product of an executive-turned-politician and her esteemed consultants trying to simulate the behavior of humans.
Lewis’ counter-ad just days before the election – “A Manufactured Craig vs. An Honest Lewis” – is meant as an antidote of authenticity.
Standing in an upscale neighborhood of beige McMansions, the Woodbury Republican notes that “anyone can put on a flannel shirt and pretend to be something they’re not,” pointing to his own flannel shirt. He then accuses Craig of backing “socialized medicine,” tax hikes, and failing to get behind Trump’s border wall.
“Politics isn’t play-acting,” Lewis tells the camera. “…While she’s still at the bar, I’ll stay out here being honest with voters.”
Except he wasn’t. Internet sleuths quickly went to work, locating the neighborhood where the video was shot. Turns out Lewis was fake door-knocking just around the block from his Woodbury home, which isn’t part of the 2nd District he represents. You might say this put a damper on the whole “honest with voters” thing.
Consider it the last hurrah of Jason Lewis, who arrived in Congress two years ago as part of the Trump Caravan of Weirdness, in which poseurs of means cast themselves as straight-talking Men of The People. And a slight majority in the southern suburbs inexplicably lapped it up.
Though it played to convinced crowds in 2016, it all fell apart last night. Lewis lost to Craig by 18,000 votes.
It wasn’t that hard to predict. Lewis’ performances were always of an off-off-Broadway caliber. And it didn’t take much digging to discover that The People weren’t high on his list of concerns.
Though he claimed a fiery independence, he walked in lockstep behind Trump. Lewis was an obedient vote for the Guys With All The Money, casting his lot with Big Telecom, Big Pharma, and the Wall Street banks.
For the Minnesota outdoorsman, he racked up one of the worst environmental records in Congress, because everyone knows walleye tastes better when it’s marinated in toxins.
And for the parents who legitimately feared for the safety of their children, he voted to let the mentally unstable buy guns, and tried to overrule Minnesota’s laws with weaker statutes from other states.
In the end, he was even too fearful to meet his own constituents. When moms and old men showed up at his door over his votes to slash health care, he wailed as if they were an ISIS cell arriving in Bradley Fighting Vehicles. If voters wanted to talk, he set the kind of restrictive ground rules reserved for a starlet’s photo session with US Weekly.
Take a gander at Lewis’ record, and a vivid portrait comes into focus. He was Minnesota’s Trump – a smarter, more sophisticated version who talked pretty to the scared white men tumbling down the economic ladder, then shivved them as soon as he stepped off the plane at Reagan National.
Alas, there’s always a cost to such duplicity. Last night, he found it.