Saturday, August 01, 2009

Fargo Forum: "Peterson Tells It Like It Is"

I'm up in Fargo for the weekend and as we sat in out hotel bar last night, I caught this op ed in the Fargo Forum.

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!

1 comment:

eric zaetsch said...

Rachel Maddow had a lead segment last night about exactly the kind of hijacking of constituent meetings around the country, coordinated by well paid GOP and health industry lobbyists, to give the false appearance the people don't want or trust healthcare reform.

Trusting the Beltway to get it right with all the money's that has been put into lobbying to get it wrong, or keep it wrong with the current far wrong status quo, is not big - there is skepticism about the people.

But not about the need for reform.

The nation knows the score, and those thinking that the big lie, shouted at public events will sell falsehoods that way, will be losers by the time the dust settles.

If there are enough non-compromised good guys that is.

Olberman had a segment on the lobbying and "best set of law makers money can buy" situation, and it is the ONLY reason to distrust the likelihood that the politicians collectively will believe they have to act responsibly, to stay in office if not because it's the moral thing to do.

I think the self-preservation instinct will prevail unless folks somehow turn, and begin to show the credulity to believe lies.