Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Ham-handed politician, horrible eulogizer

Reader David Christopherson writes us:
I'm interested to hear what others who read the SCSU-Scholars Blog think about what I viewed as a truly mean-spirited and venomous speech delivered tonight by Wellstone Campaign Treasurer, Rick Kahn. While I loved the family tributes to Paul Wellstone, whom all of us could admire as a virtuous man, has not Rick Kahn tonight single-handedly decreased the probability of Walter Mondale's returning to the U.S. Senate?

You can hear Kahn in his entirety in RealAudio. I didn't watch the speech live -- my daughter needed homework help -- so I played the audio a few minutes ago. I count no fewer than 13 exhortations to "win this election for Paul Wellstone" ... at a memorial service.

The speech starts slowly and while Kahn isn't going to win prizes as a speaker, it wasn't problematic for the first ten minutes. But then he gets going:
There will be a choice nonetheless either ... to keep his legacy in the Senate alive or bring it forever to an end. ... If Paul Wellstone's legacy comes to an end just days after this unspeakable tragedy occurs then our spirits will be crushed and we will drown in a river of tears. We are begging you do not let this happen.
He then turns to six Republican senators and asks them to help Wellstone win (and perhaps keep themselves in the minority as a result.) This is the thanks they get for coming? He does the same to Jim Ramstad, the senior MN Republican in the House. "Can we not set aside the partisan blahblahblah" he asks them, two minutes after saying that their winning means Wellstone's legacy dies.

He finishes the speech asking everyone to win for the others on the plane. As if the only thing in their lives that mattered was their being the swordbeaerers for Paul Wellstone, who we're told over and over fought for this and fought for that.

When Kahn exhorted the crowd "and we're going to organize, and we're going to organize, and we're going to organize, and we're going to organize, ..." it reminded me of Wellstone's tantrum "no blood for oil" from the well of the Senate in 1991. Wellstone was a new senator then, and he learned, and ended up being respected. Rick Kahn, you're no Paul Wellstone.

Will it hurt Mondale? The current Strib poll has Mondale +8, though two other pollsters have him at +2 and dead even. As pointed out on PowerLine, Strib polls look like they're about 5% out ahead for Democrats versus the other polls, so Dave's right that it might go against him. But I doubt it. If there was ever a state that would throw a Princess Diana effect to a politician, this is it.