It’s not often a Congressman publicly calls organizations which previously endorsed him “extremists.” Tuesday, however, when noted Democratic candidates Collin Peterson, Al Franken, Kent Eken and Ben Lien came to speak to Concordia, Peterson became one such anomaly. Peterson, Minnesota’s 7th congressional district representative, has held his office since 1991 and touts his position as a “Blue Dog Democrat.” One place he claims to be moderate is his position on abortion. However, his comments on Tuesday about right-to-life supporters and organizations may reflect an uncensored opinion about pro-life conservatives.
Peterson historically sought out and received endorsement from the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL)—the largest pro-life organization in Minnesota. Unfortunately for Peterson, however, the organization recently withdrew support. The lost endorsement stems from his refusal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as “Obamacare.” This act contains provisions which will help fund abortions for pregnant women. Earlier in the year, Peterson claimed the Act was “not all bad.”
Upon departing from the on-campus event, Peterson offered commentary on the loss of his MCCL endorsement. Peterson stated that the consistent right-to-life supporters “are a bunch of extremists.” The MCCL’s revoking their endorsement, he continued, marked “the end of them as an organization.” For reference, he mentioned his perceived wisdom in the bipartisan political posture the National Rifle Association makes certain to adopt, however artificial it may be. The NRA, he said, is “smart, because they always include 50-60 Democrats.”
Peterson eventually distances himself from the pro-life movement, saying, “the only place it got reported was MPR, and those people don’t listen to MPR.”
This isn’t the first time Peterson has spoken negatively of his constituents.
In fact, in 2009 he was filmed saying, “Twenty-five percent of my people believe the Pentagon and Rumsfeld were responsible for taking the twin towers down… That’s why I don’t do town meetings.”
And he hasn’t. Peterson repeatedly fails to respond to requests for Town Hall meetings. This leaves voters with unanswered questions, such as the one asked of him Tuesday.
Peterson has been in office for longer than many college students have been alive. His political career has turned into just that—a career. Thus far, Peterson has only to maintain good public relations to maintain his position. Unfortunately, his public statements about the pro-life movement do not match up with his uncensored comments. Once a politician is found saying things to get votes, and not on principle, it becomes difficult to believe in their other “principled” positions.
Letter to the Editor submitted by Kate Engstrom, Concordia 2014.