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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

(Updated) Insensitive or Out of Touch? Dan Lewis Announces NM-1 Exploratory Committee One Day After Tucson Violence

Update: Maybe it's a Republican thing to be callous. Right-winger John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House, will be hosting a cocktail party for the Republican National Committee at the same time that President Obama will be addressing the nation at the memorial service for victims of the Tucson shooting today at 6:00 PM MST. Boehner turned down a Tuesday invitation from Obama to fly to Tucson with him, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other lawmakers for the Wednesday night memorial service.
Lewis2010Sunday was a day when Americans -- and even folks around the globe -- were mourning the victims of the Tucson shootings that had occurred the day before, and searching their souls about what it all means. Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis, on the other hand, was ... announcing his exploratory committee for a possible run for Congress in NM-1, where Rep. Martin Heinrich is serving his second term. I'm not kidding.

Instead of focusing has activities on things like praying for the victims and honoring the sad and solemn atmosphere that prevailed that day, Lewis was apparently slapping backs and and laughing it up at his kick-off event. Moreover, his spanking-new campaign website, launched the same day, doesn't appear to have any acknowledgment of the great tragedy for our nation -- and for the Congress to which he expects to be elevated.

First off, why would Lewis, a Republican serving the West Side in the first year of his first four-year term on the City Council, be announcing his possible candidacy this far ahead of the 2012 election cycle? Secondly, why didn't he hold off doing so on a day when a heart-wrenching tragedy was at the center of almost everyone's thoughts and emotions? After all, there was no rush, given how far away we are from election day. Despite his very minimal experience in politics and government, and almost nothing in his background to suggest he's well prepared to serve in Congress, Lewis apparently believed it was imperative to ignore the grief of the nation and our members of Congress and proceed apace to staking his claim as a candidate.

This is, after all, a man who along with his wife founded the West Side’s Soul Rio Church where, as it says on his bio page, "for many years they have helped counsel troubled marriages, encouraged and supported parents, and promoted strong families." Lewis serves as a pastor, so you'd think he'd understand that his making a political announcement in the midst of a wrenching, unfolding tragedy would be inappropriate and insensitive to everyone touched by the shocking event -- especially to the friends and families of the victims.

Is Lewis tone deaf? Dangerously out-of-touch? Callous? Self-centered? Entirely clueless? On his website, Lewis cites this as one reason he wants to enter the congressional race: "We need someone who understands the people who live, work, raise families, and go to school in our district." But his actions on Sunday say otherwise. They were all about him and his political future, seemingly without any thought of how those outside his political circle might be feeling.

Lewis' behavior is particularly galling, in my view, because the man he wants to challenge -- Rep. Martin Heinrich -- is a good friend and political ally of Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords. Rep. Heinrich serves with her on the House Armed Services Committee and has worked side-by-side with her on legislation. While Rep. Heinrich's thoughts and prayers were no doubt centered on his severely wounded friend and all the other victims of the attack -- as well as his own vulnerability and that of his family -- you'd think Lewis would have been respectful enough to call off his launch event until a later date. Actions often speak louder than words and, in my view, this doesn't bode well for what Lewis really cares about.

January 12, 2011 at 03:17 PM in City of Albuquerque, Crime, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink


Let the Rightwing colors fly! It is about values, after all.

Posted by: Terry Schleder | Jan 12, 2011 3:59:27 PM

Values? This guy is like a walking, talking pile of ego masquerading as a congressional candidate.

Posted by: Sean | Jan 12, 2011 4:16:06 PM

This is both sad and revolting. Think he would have more sense. It's an insult to the victims and Rep. Heinrich and his family too.

Posted by: Sharon P. | Jan 12, 2011 5:16:46 PM