Erlandson the peacenik?

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It’s interesting to see the gradual transformation of 5th District congressional candidate Mike Erlandson from prohibitive favorite for the DFL endorsement to pandering Beltway insider scrambling to catch up with the campaign’s hottest political issue.

Erlandson’s latest attempt to get some traction in this brutal race has him pretending to be an early opponent of the Iraq war. In a statement released by his campaign today, he said he supports a “responsible exit strategy” in Iraq. “The U.S. can best help to end the civil war in Iraq by shifting from a military mission to a diplomatic one focused on achieving a negotiated political settlement between the warring factions,” he said. “I will work relentlessly in Congress for this new direction.”

He even got his old boss, Marty Sabo, to call in enough favors to get Rep. John Murtha to support his candidacy.

The Murtha endorsement might have been more meaningful if Erlandson wasn’t such a recent convert to the anti-war movement and if he hasn’t been accepting thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from military contractors.

During the run-up to the DFL endorsing convention, only Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer and Keith Ellison emphasized their opposition to the war. Indeed, Nelson-Pallmeyer eventually threw his support to Ellison because he saw him as the only real “peace” candidate remaining in the field.

This “foxhole conversion” of Erlandson’s is only made more suspicious by a cursory glance at the list of those who are supporting his candidacy, which include such anti-war stalwarts as Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics, Parsons Corporation, and BAE Systems.

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