The Life of a Passionate Progressive
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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This book would not have been written without the support, advice, and encouragement of Professor Fred Greenstein of Princeton University. Fred served as my advisor for an independent study project that I originally planned to turn into an article about Paul Wellstone’s impact on politics. ..
1. An Impolitic Politician
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On the morning of October 25, 2002, Senator Paul Wellstone, a liberal Democrat from Minnesota, was killed in a plane crash along with his wife, daughter, and three campaign aides. Later that day, Wellstone’s colleague Pete Domenici was called on to comment. In an interview on CNN, the conservative Republican immediately broke down in tears and was unable to continue. ...
2. Growing Up an Outsider
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For someone who considered himself a Washington outsider even after he had mastered the system, Paul David Wellstone was born in the most unlikely of places—the nation’s capital. Born on July 21, 1944, at George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C., to Minnie and Leon Wellstone, he grew up in the Washington suburb of Arlington, Virginia. ...
3. Acquiring a Political Vocation
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Wellstone received tenure in 1974 and spent the following sixteen years as the most unorthodox member of Carleton College’s faculty. In addition to meeting his teaching responsibilities, he led raucous and often illegal protests that at times violated even Saul Alinsky’s work-within-the-system radical principles. ...
4. Faltering and Recovering
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On the morning of November 6, 1990, Paul Wellstone appeared at a morning press conference and committed the ‹rst of several postcampaign blunders. Visibly exhausted from the previous night’s celebration, he spoke disjointedly about his plans for the transition and then made a statement that he would later regret. ...
5. A Successful Second Term
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By the end of 1996, Wellstone had established a level of credibility that seemed unattainable six years earlier. He had matured as a lawmaker during his ‹rst term and proved his durability as a politician by winning reelection decisively. He had built strong friendships among his colleagues and learned to pick his legislative battles wisely, ...
6. Last Campaign
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Wellstone’s last campaign would be his most dif‹cult. Although he enjoyed the highest approval ratings of his career, polls showed that a clear majority was opposed to his decision to seek a third term. “He said he’d run for two terms and then out,” one poll respondent told a reporter. ...
7. Last Days and Legacy
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Wellstone was killed just twelve days before Election Day. An investigation by the National Transportation and Safety Board would later conclude that the cause of the crash was pilot error, not bad weather. In the surreal aftermath of Wellstone’s death, his campaign advisers had little time to absorb the depth of the loss. ...
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It would be easy, recalling Paul Wellstone, to think only of endings. The plane crash that killed Paul, his wife Sheila, his daughter Marcia, and his staff members Will McLaughlin, Tom Lapic, and Mary McEvoy, ended six remarkable lives and Paul’s booming political career. ...
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Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2009