This morning, our Minnesota colleague Paul Schmeltzer noted that a conservative attack line that the coverage of Ted Kennedy’s death would be a “Wellstone
This morning, our Minnesota colleague Paul Schmeltzer noted that a conservative attack line that the coverage of Ted Kennedy’s death would be a “Wellstone memorial on steroids” had “taken off, with pundits on Fox, MSNBC and conservative media piling on.” This afternoon, Ben Smith filed a story on the same topic, naming Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Gary Bauer and some bloggers and activists as “key conservatives” who were charging “that Democrats are inappropriately politicizing the senator’s death, his memorial and his legacy.”
This story is something of a mobius strip. The references to the memorial to the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), who died in a plane crash shortly before the November 2002 election, seem to come out of nowhere.
Kennedy’s funeral hasn’t happened yet. Democratic appeals to honor his memory by passing a health care bill have existed, but there haven’t been too many of them; one from MoveOn.org, one from the DCCC, one from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Reporters ask Democrats what effect, if any, Kennedy’s death will have on the health care debate, and unless they’re lying they say it’ll galvanize Democrats. It simply seems gauche for this to be so easily transformed into a scandal of Democrats “exploiting” Kennedy’s death, which the party knew was imminent. And it’s being transformed so easily. Drudge is linking Tim Reid of the UK Times for a story headlined “Democrats accused of using Edward Kennedy’s death to promote reforms.” The accusers? Rush Limbaugh and the president of the Heritage Foundation.
The comparison between the Wellstone funeral and, well, *anything *else, is strange. The 2002 memorial was an unexpected reaction to an unexpected event, and it turned Minnesota politics upside down. Gov. Jesse Ventura (I-Minn.), who had promised to leave Wellstone’s seat open, reversed course and angrily appointed a friend, Dean Barkley, to serve until January 2003. Norm Coleman, who had suspended his campaign to honor Wellstone, re-launched it.
The odds of Kennedy’s funeral turning out similarly seem vanishingly small. And if politics are completely absent from the funeral, it would be highly unusual. President George W. Bush, remember, paid tribute to Ronald Reagan at his funeral by tying Reagan’s foreign policy to his own.
He was optimistic that a strong America could advance the peace, and he acted to build the strength that mission required. He was optimistic that liberty would thrive wherever it was planted, and he acted to defend liberty wherever it was threatened.
And Ronald Reagan believed in the power of truth in the conduct of world affairs. When he saw evil camped across the horizon, he called that evil by its name.
Should Bush have clipped those lines out of his speech for fear of seeming political? No, and it’s ridiculous to suggest as much. In the same way it’s ridiculous to pretend that a few conservative shouters have a veto over how Kennedy’s family should conduct his funeral or how Democrats should honor Kennedy. If anything, as Smith’s piece points out, the pre-emptive cry of “no more Wellstone funerals” tips their hand and defeats their purpose.
Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response
Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen
Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight
Source: Flickr; Republicanconference (www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference) On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight
Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment
In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep
Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!
The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the
Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’
Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday
Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store
Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public
Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs
Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability
Rep. Pete Stark Won’t Dignify Constituent by, er, Micturating Upon His Leg
In the tradition of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark revealed at a recent town hall gathering that there are limits to what
Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan
Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.
School of Hock
A growing number of college grads are defaulting on their student loans as the economy worsens.