25 October 2007

Conscience of a liberal

Paul Wellstone died with his wife, daughter, and campaign aides five years ago today, in a plane crash disturbingly reminiscent of the crashes used to kill South American progressives who wouldn't go along with the corporate program.

Ezra Klein writes a fine tribute to Wellstone in The American Prospect, including these lines:

"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....

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