October 31, 2002
ON NOT GOING GENTLY:Making of a Minnesota Debacle (Howard Kurtz, October 31, 2002, Washington Post)
How badly can a political party screw up a memorial service?
Just ask Minnesota's Democrats.
They staged a public farewell for Paul Wellstone that was so over the top, so blatantly partisan, that Jesse Ventura walked out.
"I feel used," the independent governor said afterward. "I feel violated and duped over the fact that it turned into a political rally. . . . I think the Democrats should hang their head in shame."
How did it come to this? It should have been a piece of cake for the DFLers to honor Wellstone in a dignified way, setting the stage for Walter Mondale to accept the nomination last night. After all, 20,000 people showed up. After all, Mondale was riding a wave of emotion without having done a single thing. After all, a new poll has Mondale up 8 points over Norm Coleman.
Instead, Ventura was booed at the service, as was Trent Lott. What sensitivity! They show up to honor a man from a different political party and they're razzed like the opposing team at a Vikings game. In effect, the service was hijacked in a small-minded way that detracted from the memory of Wellstone.
Actually, isn't it fair to assume that it was intentionally small-minded, with no hijacking required? And isn't that the necessary implication after Democrats defended it for two days (until polls showed it to be a disaster)? Posted by Orrin Judd at October 31, 2002 3:59 PM