Oct 252002

Senator Paul Wellstone, who was killed in a plane crash this afternoon, was a professor of political science at Carleton College in the early 1980s, when I went there. Even then he was a charismatic figure, with a cadre of student followers, the “Wellstoners,” who tried to stir up the usual lefty trouble, organizing the local farmers into coops or persuading the cafeteria ladies to strike.

Wellstone’s introductory poli sci course was the most popular on campus. Its core text was Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, and it was agitprop. This bothered me more then than it does now. Wellstone did openly what other professors did snarkily and on the sly. With him you knew where you stood.

In the Senate he was much the same way. Anti-corporation, sure; but he also refused corporate campaign contributions. Never saw a tax cut he liked. Advocated a seven-year freeze on defense spending. Voted the true-blue AFL-CIO line. Opposed war with Iraq. Always wrong, in short; but forthright too, and incorruptible. Few on the left or right were like him, and I’m sorry he’s dead.

  4 Responses to “Wellstone”

  1. It’s a bad day, we’ve lost a good man. I worked on one of his earlier election campaigns in Minneapolis, got to meet him at the office. I’ve utterly changed my political views since then but I’m still glad I worked for the campaign. Good man.

  2. The serpant is no less the serpent when his hiss is sweet. I take no pleasure in the death of any man, but I will not miss another progressive.

  3. To: Gene 6-pack

    Somehow your name indicates to me the level of your thought. Maybe Joe 6-pack is your real name? Since when does truth equate with "hiss". And when does honesty equate with the metaphor of a snake like in "snake in the grass"?
    You should be ashamed, but, I’m afraid, that would be a stretch for you. Remember-To change ones mind is one of the noblest things a man can do.

  4. You Are sorry he is dead, many are,
    It is a shame however that his son and the democratic party turned into political whores and tarnished
    his good name..

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