Friday, March 17, 2006



I can and will offer this caveat before continuing: Paul Wellstone's death preceded my involvement in politics. One need not look too far, however, to see the influence his way of thinking, campaigning, and serving still has on the Minnesota DFL.

Too much, if you ask me. Before the steam starts coming out of your ears, let me explain.

Grassroots politics are excellent. Bringing a progressive vision together with clear language and a rabid army of volunteers is fantastic. Standing up to campaign-season attacks, and even raising the bet instead of just calling isn't just good, it's necessary. But a candidate need not be the second coming of Paul Wellstone to win. Or be successful. Or be a great DFL leader for the state and the entire country.

Since my time in the political game came after the Senator's death, perhaps it's my lack of personal connection to the man causing this feeling. But why do we feel this uncontrollable need to compare each and every new DFL candidate, for statewide or local office, to Wellstone? Reality, my friends, is a bitter mistress, but if we do not come to terms with her, she will leave us all behind. Note to my conservative readers: this applies to you too. Is a nine-trillion-dollar debt a good thing? Sound fiscal policy? At some point, our leaders have to realize that tax cuts are not paying for themselves, and the solution is to restore President Bush's first-term and second-term revenue cuts while also cutting out the pork-barrel bridges to nowhere. But I digress. Back to the point.

We in the DFL cannot survive as a political force if we insist that each and every nominee must not just support the ideals Wellstone served, but must also sound and act just like him too. The always-expert pronouncement "He's/She's no Wellstone," really bugs me - so what? You're right, he/she is not Paul Wellstone, he/she is , and will make a great because . I empathize with those who knew Paul Wellstone and fought alongside him, but I doubt very much that he would agree with a stance that involved rigid comparison to him. If what I've been told is accurate, he was the kind of leader who would tell us to stay involved, keep learning, and make sure we judge candidates based on their own merit, the values they fight for in their own lives and careers, and fight alongside them for a better future just as we did with him.

I hope what I've been told is accurate.

Blogger Mike S said:
Not right for this post, but I thought I'd mention my best idea of the day. With Sabo retiring, should Steve Kelley run for Congress? I think he would be a great Congressman and his skill set, especially ending NCLB would fit perfect.
Blogger reslez said:
I like your idea, Mike. I'll be pulling for Kelley next Saturday but he'd be a credible candidate whatever happens. Whether he'd have any interest is another question.

One thing I'm curious about -- MNCR, maybe you can express your opinion on this -- is if there is any interest in jumpstarting ActBlue in Minnesota. It might be a good resource for the netroots in MN who are interested in supporting local candidates. I was looking at their statewide list and saw that places like Texas and Montana are much closer than MN... which apparently has a lone contribution from a guy in Hopkins.

What are the prevailing opinions on ActBlue? I'll put the address below in case anyone wants to know what I'm talking about.
Blogger MN Campaign Report said:
I'll reserve my thoughts on candidates in the nascent 5th CD race for a future post, but one word is a sure descriptor of that race: Bloodbath.

ActBlue SHOULD come to Minnesota. The only question is when and how much money it will take. I don't remember all the details, but if memory serves, it takes ActBlue approximately $10,000 in donations to be able to get into a state's fundraising scheme. Pretty tall order when the majority of contributions are small ones. When they do get in, however, expect me to be right there :)
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