2/22/2016

Hit piece claiming that Jason Lewis supports slavery

The Star Tribune has a hit piece on my friend Jason Lewis, who is running for congress in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional district, where I guy named Michael Brodkorb claims that Jason is ambivalent on slavery.   Here is a letter that I wrote into an editor at the Star Tribune.
Dear Dennis:
 
Thank you very much for talking this morning.  I had two major points.  
 
— The notion Jason was questioning the role of the federal government in outlawing slavery is absurd.  In fact, Jason strongly defended the post-Civil War constitutional Amendments to ban discrimination based on race as well as stop slavery.  What he objected to was some of the things that those Amendments have been used to justify beyond that.
 
— Jason didn't argue that whether fighting the Civil War to end slavery was “kinda hard to say.”  He wanted to get rid of slavery, but said that there were two options: war or paying money to buy the slaves and set them all free.  It was between those two options that it was “kinda hard to say.”       
 
Here is the paragraph that Brodkorb relies on for the “kinda hard to say” quote (those words are in bold).  I see don’t think that anyone could read this paragraph and come away with the reading that Brodkorb claims.  I also think that this quote illustrates Jason’s views on the horrific evils of slavery.
 
 
TheDC: Well so do you think that the Civil War was a war worth fighting?
JL: Well there are those who advocated, at the time, for emancipated compensation. And that was the idea — and this had happened in other countries across that globe — where, “alright, we want to eradicate slavery, it’s a horrific institution, nobody disputes that, but, do we really wanna shed six hundred thousand lives in America?” So the idea was, let’s pay the Southern slave owners money to give up the slaves, and they would end the institution, and that would be it. Now, people say, “that’s a little bit odious, you’re paying people to do the right thing.” Well is it really more odious than six hundred thousand lives? Lincoln actually presented it to his cabinet late in the war, but they rejected it, and Lincoln had the opportunity to go, move forward on it earlier in the war, but he never did, so it’s kinda hard to say. As I said, it was a bit of a Hobson’s choice for Lincoln, he didn’t want to be the president to preside over the breaking up of the union.
 
I honestly don’t understand how Mr. Bordkorb could get these discussions so completely wrong.  There were other problems with Bordkorb’s piece, but I don’t want to distract from the main issues here.  I hope that you can get this piece corrected as soon as possible.  If Jason had written the type of book that Bordkorb claims, I would not have written the forward and I strongly believe that people such as my friend Walter Williams would not have provided a blurb for the book.
 
Thank you.
John

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