A Democratic congressman may have some explaining to do to his constituents after telling Politico that a quarter of them back a crazy conspiracy theory.
In an article entitled "GOP headache: The birther issue," Lisa Lerer and Daniel Libit report on how Republicans are finding out that "there’s no easy way to deal with the small but vocal crowd of right-wing activists who refuse to believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States."
But it's this part in which the Democratic chairman of the House Agriculture Committee is quoted which might have the largest impact:
Out-party politicians have long had to deal with conspiracy theorists on their side — the people who think that the Clintons killed Vince Foster or that the Bush administration helped orchestrate the Sept. 11 attacks.
“Twenty-five percent of my people believe the Pentagon and Rumsfeld were responsible for taking the twin towers down,” said Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat who represents a conservative Republican district in Minnesota. “That’s why I don’t do town meetings.”
While there are certainly thousands upon thousands of Americans with legitimate questions about what really happened on 9/11, only the fringe elements have internally convicted Bush officials for "taking the twin towers down."
No doubt, Peterson has his own questions, since in 2002, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, he said of FBI whistle-blower Coleen Rowley, "It took a lot of guts to do what she did."
Rowley had alleged "that FBI headquarters rewrote Minneapolis agents' pre-Sept. 11 request for surveillance and search warrants for terrorism defendant Zacarias Moussaoui and removed important information before rejecting them," the Associated Press reported in 2002. "Agent Coleen Rowley wrote that the Minneapolis agents became so frustrated that they began to joke that FBI headquarters was becoming an 'unwitting accomplice' to Osama bin Laden's efforts to attack the United States, the officials said."
Liberal activists have been targeting 'Blue Dog' Democrats, partially because of their opposition to the Obama administration's plans to revamp health care.
At the Washington Independent, David Weigl highlights Peterson's "head-scratching quote" in a post called "Blue Dog Values."
"Asked about a problem in the Republican base, Peterson chooses to … bash liberals in his own district, which gave Obama a not-exactly-fringey 47 percent of the vote," Weigl blogs.
Peterson was recently hailed for "shedding the 'Blue Dog' label when he supported Obama’s deficit-saturated budget" in April and the Waxman/Markey global warming tax.
But many Minnesotans in the seventh congressional district may wonder why their Democratic representative thinks a quarter of them are so nuts that he won't go to town meetings anymore.
posted by Ron Brynaert