Republicans in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District think they have been handed a club they can use to beat up Congressman Collin Peterson. Not gonna happen.
The ever-candid Peterson said Monday that he doesn’t hold town meetings in the district because “25 percent of my people believe the Pentagon and (then-Defense Secretary) Rumsfeld were responsible for taking the Twin Towers down” on Sept. 11, 2001. The comment was immediately seized upon by state GOP Chairman Tony Sutton, who called it “really bizarre.” Sutton said the comment should help Republicans recruit candidates to run against Peterson.
Good luck with that, Tony.
Fact is, many people in the pool Sutton would plumb for candidates believe what Peterson said they believe about the 2001 terrorist attacks. Peterson, who knows the 7th very well, might have been exaggerating by saying 25 percent of his constituents subscribe to such nonsense, but enough do so that open town meetings could very well deteriorate into nut-fests. Later he expanded his initial comments by noting that people on the far right and far left “try to hijack public forums like town meetings.” Anyone who’s been to one of those meetings knows the congressman has it right.
What’s “really bizarre,” as Sutton put it, is that Republicans apparently don’t recognize that Peterson’s tendency to speak his mind – whether about Fargo-Moorhead flood control or the fringe folks in his district – is one of his political strengths. He might ruffle feathers, but his appeal to voters in the 7th is as strong as ever. Indeed, no matter who Republicans run against him, he wins by margins so wide that an impressive number of Republicans have to be voting for him.
If the best Sutton and his minions can do is hang their election hopes on a frank and honest comment by Peterson, the congressman will run up another landslide win in 2010.
A pretty harsh indictment on Brodkorb and Sutton's faulty tactics, if I do say so myself!