And now the most compelling two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
Who Stopped in His Honor?
While Democrats were insisting that Republicans stop all Senate campaigning in honor of the late Paul Wellstone, Democrats in other states were invoking Wellstone's name freely to rally the party. In Maine on Monday, Al Gore, stumping for underdog Senate candidate Chellie Pingree, said, "If Paul Wellstone were here, he'd say 'Vote Democratic and stand up for the little guy.'" In Iowa over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, campaigning for incumbent Sen. Tom Harkin, spoke of a "new chemistry" among Democrats, adding, "I think people lament Paul Wellstone's passing and want to do this in part for him." And Hillary Clinton, boosting New York gubernatorial candidate Carl McCall, said on Monday, "I see a direct connection between our loss on Friday of someone who really was a unique force in American politics and the campaign that Carl McCall is waging."
Ted Rall, the left-wing political cartoonist and columnist, is raising the possibility that Paul Wellstone's plane was sabotaged. In a commentary put out yesterday, he says, "Some Democrats and progressive Americans are asking the unthinkable about an administration they increasingly believe to be ruled by thugs and renegades. Did government gangsters murder the United States most liberal legislator?" Rall cites no evidence of such a thing, and the only person we could find expressing such a suspicion was Democratic Baltimore City Councilman Kwame Osabaya Abayomi, who was Norman Handy until last year. He said yesterday that the CIA murdered Wellstone, "For me, that was no accident."
African American Support Slipping
A new poll indicates that while blacks still favor the Democratic party by a large margin, younger African-Americans do not feel the same loyalty toward the party their elders do. In the survey, done for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 63 percent of black voters said they were Democrats, down significantly from the 74 percent who said that two years ago. Among blacks between the ages of 26 to 35, however, only 56 percent said they were Democrats, with 29 percent saying they were Independents, and 15 percent calling themselves Republican.