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This is what a liberal looks like

Paul Wellstone

Eight years ago today, Senator Paul Wellstone, his wife, daughter and three five other people were killed in a plane crash. Three years ago, Ezra Klein (in his pre-Kool-aid days) wrote a moving tribute:

Wellstone’s populism was not an affectation, or a political posture. It was laced into the fabric of his personality. It’s what made him different than other politicians. His measuring stick was not the poll numbers, not the editorial pages, not the political prognosticators, not the Sunday shows — it was the farmers, the students, the seniors, the people. His fealty to them explains his frequent lonesomeness in the Senate. When the people are your judges, you can stand against the Iraq War in an election year, you can lose votes 99-1. You can fail to pass legislation, because you know the compromise would fail your constituents. “Politics is not about power,” he would say. “Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives. It’s about advancing the cause of peace and justice in our country and the world. Politics is about doing well for the people.”

Because of this, Wellstone had an immunity to the political trends that few politicians exhibit. When liberal was an epithet, Paul Wellstone wrote a book called The Conscience of a Liberal. When unions were in deep decline, Wellstone stood with them, and now the AFL-CIO now gives an annual award in his honor. After the Clinton health plan was crushed and Democrats retreated from health reform, Wellstone pushed for single-payer. While Clinton was chasing dollars to outspend and overwhelm Bob Dole, Wellstone was calling for full public financing. When progressives were marginalized and cowed by the right’s cynical use of 9/11, Wellstone stood on the floor of the Senate, deep within the chambers of power, at the epicenter of cowardice and “responsible” hawkery, and roared on behalf of our ideals. That they were politically inconvenient never deterred him. “If we don’t fight hard enough for the things we stand for,” he said, “at some point we have to recognize that we don’t really stand for them.”

Rest in peace.

(h/t Okanogen)


109 Responses

  1. Okanogen:

    Ezra Klein wrote a rememberance in 2007 that is remarkable to read now, showing how far many (by many I mean Ezra, the Democrats, “progressives”, etc.) have moonwalked from the Wellstones’ examples.


    A liberal is kinda like a progressive, only with principles.

  2. The late Senator Paul Wellstone speaks on the Senate floor against going to war in Iraq

  3. Paul Wellstone on grassroots leadership:

  4. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives.

  5. Politico:

    Nathan Daschle, the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, tells POLITICO that President Obama’s decision not to endorse Frank Caprio in Rhode Island “sends a bad message.”

    “This is disappointing,” Daschle said. “Frank Caprio has spent his career fighting for the values of the Democratic Party, and I think he deserves the full support of our party and its leaders. While this might not be what the White House intended, the president’s refusal to endorse a fellow Democrat in the worst environment since 1994 sends a bad message to everyone who’s working to get Democrats elected this year.”

    • Did Nathan check in with his daddy Tom before he made that statement?

      This seems politically unwise for the ultimate D.C. Village family.

      Does this signal a developing split att he top of The Obama Party structure?

      • He’s definitely waaaay off message. The progs are going with his unprovoked attack on O is because he’s a rac ist and he launched this unprovoked attack on O because he’s planning to become a Repub.

        • This matter has been very poorly handled by the Obama W.H. This should have been a non-story story.

          Serious lack of discipline.

          And on another note… Following is link to video of Rand Paul supporters tackling and stepping on the head of an opponent before tonight’s debate. Anyone who thinks the TeaParty people are not a bunch of thugish brown shirts needs to re-examine.


          What do you think?

          • 😦 That’s terrible.

          • Ugh. That’s disgusting. However, I don’t think I need to reexamine whether “tea party people” are “thuggish brown shirts”. Any more than I need to re-examine whether union members are thuggish brown shirts. I tend not to judge groups of millions by the behavior of one or two.

          • I can’t get it to play, but the still photo looks horrific.

          • It’s really bad. There is a mob pulling on the woman (apparently they’re also pulling on a blond wig she was wearing) and you can hear some of them yelling “get the police out here, get the cops” as they drag her to the pavement and hold her down while at least one guy can be seen stomping on her head. Afterward she looks pretty shook up and says her head is hurting.

          • I read that she’s in the hospital and they don’t know how bad it is. Also, TPM says C supporters stomped on an R supporter’s surgical boot and opened up her incision.

          • Here’s the youtube:

          • That’s awful. 😦 I love how the anchor says “moments after she says she was attacked” as we’re watching her being attacked.

          • Here’s the story that talks about both incidents, from KYPost.com :

            The first fight involved a woman, who is a member of http://www.moveon.org . The woman, determined to pose in front of Rand Paul holding a sign that read “Rand Paul Republicore: Employee of the Month,” tripped and fell on the ground after someone grabbed her blonde wig off her head.

            She was then stepped on by a man wearing a Rand Paul t-shirt. Police say she refused treatment and later filed an assault report. Her identity is not yet released.

            The second fight occurred after a Conway supporter stepped on the foot of a female Rand supporter, who recently had foot surgery.

            The woman was wearing a surgical boot, but after the injury, her incision was cut open. Police say she refused medical treatment and also filed an assault report.

          • MoveOn told TPM that she’s been taken to the hospital and no word on her condition yet.

  6. Very interesting new info on Wellstone’s FBI file, this is from Minnesota Public Radio today:


  7. This is very OT, but I caught a few minutes of Hardballz today and Tweety was having a blast talking about Toomey distancing himself from Christine O’Donnell.. Tweety was chuckling and said something along the lines of ‘who wants to be associated’ “with O’Donnell, the witch.” He was grinning ear to ear after he said, “the witch.”

  8. I might have to hold my nose and vote for Moonbeam just cuz of this:

  9. A quote from one of my favorite authors:

    Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort. – Robert A. Heinlein

    • I seek to control no one, especially the ones that run around nakked! 😉

        • Bit of advice, don’t do any live cam meetings with clowns!

          Spammy is gonna get me NOW!

        • Ray Stevens – The Streak – Clown Spotted, near the Birria tacos, on aisle!

          • It’s too late, myiq. I’ve already been in-scenced.

          • he’s a tea partier, isn’t he?

          • Nah, he is a good sport!

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Stevens

            In December 2009, Stevens issued the single and on-line video “We The People”, which quickly became a viral video and surpassed a million hits in a month’s time on You Tube. The video skewers health care reform and it thrust Stevens back into the mainstream spotlight once again. Stevens followed this music video with “Caribou Barbie” in March 2010. This music video is about Sarah Palin. The video uses a Palin impersonator and through the help of sight-gags it takes aim at several high-profile personalities on cable television. Stevens issued another music video on YouTube, “Throw the Bums Out!”, as a direct response to the March 2010 passage of health care reform legislation in the House of Representatives.

            In April 2010 Stevens released a collection that includes a CD and a DVD, entitled We The People. The project features 22 political songs. The four music videos on the DVD are “We The People”, “Caribou Barbie”, “Throw the Bums Out!”, and “Thank You”. Stevens appeared in Washington, D.C., on April 15, 2010, as part of the tax day rally associated with the Tea Party. On April 24, 2010 the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum honored the career of Ray Stevens in the recurring series “Nashville Cats: A Celebration of Music City Musicians”. The special focused mostly on Stevens’ career as a Nashville-session musician during the 1960s and 1970s.

            May 13, 2010 marked the music video release of “Come to the USA”, a song dealing with the hot button issue of illegal immigration. The song uses exaggeration and small doses of satire to comment on illegal immigration acceptance internationally compared with the United States more passive policy. The song was written and recorded well before the Arizona illegal immigration bill, SB 1070, was introduced to the nation. The music video became Stevens’ second to surpass a million hits on You Tube; the first being “We The People”. Following the release of the “Come to the USA” music video Stevens found himself being spotlighted again on the Fox News Channel and then by The New York Times. Stevens’ We The People CD made its Top-10 debut on the Billboard Comedy Album chart for the week ending June 26, 2010, and it moved into the Top-5 for the week ending July 3, 2010. Meanwhile, a new music video had become available on You Tube on June 29 in the form of “The Global Warming Song”. The song, the sixth release from his We The People CD, is a broad exaggeration on the global warming topic, drawing inspiration from the concept of the Earth’s temperature rising beyond control. The song depicts a couple of brothers who hold fort in a frozen wasteland with a money-making scheme of awaiting the arrival of climate change. The song is purposely silly and plays on the fears of global warming.

            Starting in July 2010 and running through August most PBS stations aired a special titled Marvin Hamlisch Presents The 1970s: The Way We Were during pledge drive fundraisers. The special celebrates the music of the 1970s and Ray Stevens participated in the proceedings. Stevens’ contributions include “Everything Is Beautiful”, “The Streak”, and “Misty”. On July 31 Stevens made a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Stevens is not a member of the Opry but every once in a while he’ll make a guest appearance. Stevens performed four songs at the Opry and judging by the audience reaction it went over well.

            On August 4, 2010 a new music video from Stevens made its debut on You Tube. This time around the subject matter is the Federal Government and the on-going war of words with Arizona over immigration. The song, “God Save Arizona”, criticizes the policies of the Federal Government and it questions the competence of Eric Holder, the United States Attorney General with regards to the Federal lawsuit brought against Arizona. The beginning of the song starts out as a tribute to the U.S.S. Arizona during World War Two before switching to a look at a modern-day verbal war between Arizona’s State Government and the Federal Government.

          • Lol We need more ways to advance the debate on Eric Holder’s competence through song. That’ll have real staying power.

          • Totally OT, I’m also wondering how the Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements feels about DU’s SarahPAC ads.

          • Well, I didn’t know he made those other songs, naughty man, and I didn’t know he did it with spite.

    • Yup. My biggest problem with both parties is that they both want to control us – just in different areas and by different means.

      But then, I have a big libertarian streak. On the other hand, I also have a big streak of common freaking sense that realizes that there are things I must (grudgingly) allow a centralized govt to do, even if I must watch them like a hawk while they do it, so they don’t overstep.

      There is no ideology that truly fits me. “Clintonism” was the closest thing ever.

  10. Jackie Speier CA 12th Congressional District Blasts Citibank CEO Vikram Pandit “Why is it that I have to pay an interest on my credit cards at 18 or 20%, why is it you can get money from TARP at 5%…”-Jackie Speier
    Give ’em HELL JACKIE!

  11. The death of Paul Wellstone, his family, and friends was a huge loss for the Democratic Party. If Wellstone had lived, he’d be at the top of my list to challenge Obama in 2012.

  12. Lawrence O’Donnell:

    “If you want to pull the party–the major party that is closest to the way you’re thinking–to what you’re thinking, YOU MUST, YOU MUST show them that you’re capable of not voting for them. If you don’t show them you’re capable of not voting for them, they don’t…have…to listen to you. I promise you that. I worked within the Democratic Party. I didn’t listen, or have to listen, to anything on the left while I was working in the Democratic Party, because the left had nowhere to go.”


  14. TGW:

    “There’s certainly a double standard and I don’t often quote Gloria Steinem but she said you can look at a double standard if they wouldn’t attack the male opponent that way and there’s no doubt that they wouldn’t say the things they’re saying about me, they wouldn’t do the things that they’re doing if I weren’t a woman. I’m not whining but there certainly is a double standard especially when it comes to conservative woman.” – Christine O’Donnell

    “You’re likable enough, Hillary
    .” ~ Barack Obama

    • I would love to see the day where conservative and liberal women come together to do away with saying it’s “esp. conservative women” or “esp. liberal women” who get the double standard. It is ALL women. Their opponents and their backers think if they oppose a woman it’s okay to tear her womanhood down.

  15. Failcon – Planning to fail

    No, it isn’t about the Democrats.

  16. Our birthday girl in the news today.

    Hillary Clinton helped engineer ‘boy soldier’ plea deal

    Secretary of state negotiates graceful exit from controversial Gitmo case

    Monday’s Guantanamo plea deal that averted the trial of Canadian “boy soldier” Omar Khadr came after an extraordinary last minute intervention by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aimed at resolving a case that was becoming an embarrassment for the Obama administration. …

    The administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, refused to discuss whether any specific plea terms were discussed during Clinton’s talk with Cannon. But the official said that as part of negotiated plea bargain that has not yet been publicly announced Khadr is likely to spend the bulk of his sentence — reportedly approximately eight years — in his native Canada, rather than at Gitmo. …


    Obama doesn’t close down Gitmo as promised but Hillary makes a difference.

  17. Say what?

    In a little more than five hours in the state, Obama was booked for a factory tour and for a pair of fundraisers that party officials said would bring in $500,000.

    He said Republicans had driven the economy into a ditch and then stood by and criticized while Democrats pulled it out. Now that progress has been made, he said, “we can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”


  18. More interesting imagery.

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. — President Obama, working overtime to blunt his party’s losses on election day next week, told a Democratic candidate here to “run scared.”


    Did he bring change we can believe in … or just fear?

    • He sure doesn’t sound full of hope.

    • Clearly, fear and aggression.

      Obama to Latinos: Punish your enemies!

      Obama to Repubs: Sit in the back (of the bus)!

      Methinks it’s Obama who’s “running scared.”

      OT: WSJ reporting that Obama’s Cat Food Commission won’t focus on SS or Medicare . It’s now discussing the elimination of mortgage interest credit and child credit on tax returns.

      But keep believing he cares about the middle class……. (snort)

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