Thursday, October 31, 2002

Death to Partisanship!

The “memorial service” for seven men and women killed in a airplane crash including the mother and grandparents of a tragically grieving child turned into a foot-stomping political rally last night in Minnesota attended by a joyful septuagenarian Walter Mondale and a lower-lip biting Bill Clinton.

The Democratic Party turned out en masse to dance on the graves of U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone, his wife, daughter and their fellow aircraft passengers and claim that the best way to honor their untimely deaths would be to defeat the Republicans.

These politicians, who distanced themselves from Wellstone in life, last night celebrated his integrity and commitment to unpopular principles. Wellstone was fondly remembered as the Senator most likely to find himself on the short end of a 99-to-1 vote in Congress. Of course, that would mean that every one of his colleagues in the Senate, including the Democrats, was voting against him.

But no matter. The most fitting tribute to Wellstone, they said, would be to elect another bland, exhausted, Democratic has-been to the Senate.

Why Mondale? He’s a doddering old man. I can still hear him spouting out some dull dated campaign line about Reagan, “Where’s the Beef? . . . Where’s the Beef?” Hell, he makes Reagan look hip and 'with it" in comparison.

Aside from the crass partisanship last night which, no doubt, every person on that doomed plane would likely have endorsed, I was left wondering, why not let Wellstone’s son run instead?

No, not the burned out one, I mean David. He was eloquent, sincere, intelligent, and presumably authentically bereft.

Wouldn’t David Wellstone be a more appropriate candidate to “honor the Wellstone legacy” than a stiff and awkward political hack who last held office when “Staying Alive” was popular song, not a mission statement.

Of course, that would be the principled, honest, and genuine thing to do. But we’re talking about mainstream Democrats here. There’s an election in a week and they’ve already bought a lot of airtime. This is no time for candor. Damn it. We need to win!

As Wellstone himself said is a truly moving video tribute shown last night, “Politics isn’t about power, or money or winning at all costs. Politics is about helping people.”

I’m sure Clinton got a chuckle out of that one.

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