The mood here in Minnesota is hard to describe. We’re all in shock over the loss of Senator Wellstone, Democrat, Republican, Green, Independent, it doesn’t matter. This was a tragedy.
Paul Wellstone was a good man. I never liked or agreed with his politics, but at the end of the day he had his convictions and he stood by them. For a Republican like me, Sen. Wellstone was the embodiment of the idea of the loyal opposition There just aren’t a lot of people like that left.
His loss isn’t just a loss for the Democratic Party, but for all Minnesotans, and for this nation. He was a good man, and he’ll be missed.
UPDATE: The Minnesota Republican Party has their message of condolences on their website, and have suspended all political activities.
Joshua Micah Marshall has a good eulogy for Sen. Wellstone. He’s right – like his politics or not, Wellstone was one of the most authentic and honest politicians to have ever been in the Senate.
Peggy Noonan has this to say, and I think it’s a fitting tribute:
When conservatives disagree with liberals, and they’re certain the liberal they’re disagreeing with is merely cynical, merely playing the numbers, merely playing politics, it’s a souring experience. When liberals disagree with conservatives and they’re sure the conservative they’re disagreeing with is motivated by meanness or malice, it’s an embittering experience. But when you disagree with someone on politics and you know the person you’re disagreeing with isn’t cynical or mean but well meaning and ardent and serious–well, that isn’t souring or embittering. That’s democracy, the best of democracy, what democracy ought to be about.
Paul Wellstone was a good guy. His friend Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, spoke at some length this afternoon about his "caring and belief." When tough old Pat Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, spoke of Wellstone this afternoon on CNN, he began to weep. And when Pete Domenici, tough old Republican of New Mexico, followed Mr. Leahy on CNN, he too began to weep, and had to beg off the interview.
Senators ain’t sissies. They can be one cold crew. But Wellstone touched them in a way that was special, and that I think had something to do with democracy, and those who grace it.
It’s sad to lose a good man. Good for America for raising him; good for Minnesota for raising him to the Senate; good for Wellstone for being motivated by belief and the desire to make our country better.