Some supporters of deceased Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone are finding it hard to let go. A local bumper sticker asks, “What Would Wellstone Do?” as if the left-wing politician were Jesus. Occasional Wellstone lawn signs are still to be seen around the Twin Cities.
But the weirdest Wellstone phenomenon is reported on in this morning’s Minneapolis Star Tribune: persistent conspiracy theories surrounding Wellstone’s death last fall in a plane crash, while campaigning for re-election. There is no evidence to support such theories, of course, but hey–since when do liberals need evidence? Minnesota’s Unfunny Humorist, Garrison Keillor, has been among those who have lent semi-respectable support to the Wellstone conspiracy theories.
There was, actually, one scandal associated with the Wellstone plane crash, but you had to be a careful reader of the Saturday editions of the local newspapers to hear about it. It turned out that Wellstone had illegally failed to buy worker’s compensation insurance to cover his campaign’s employees. Under Minnesota law, the burden of paying their death benefits fell on the taxpayers. Wellstone’s campaign quietly paid penalties to the state’s Department of Labor and Industry as a result of Wellstone’s illegal conduct. What would Wellstone do? In this instance, stiff the “little fellers,” in his phrase, who worked for him.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
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