Senate Rights Bush's Wrong on Wellstone
With control of the Senate about to change hands, Democrats can begin the work of righting some of the many wrongs perpetrated by President Bush. Last week, the Senators took one small step forward, unanimously passing a resolution honoring the memory and contributions of their late colleague, Minnesota Democrat Paul Wellstone.
The Senate's warm embrace of Wellstone provides a stark contrast with President Bush's mean-spirited, partisan slight in October 2002. Of Wellstone, killed along with his wife and campaign staffers in an October 25th plane crash in the midst of the '02 midterms, President Bush could only muster the following:
"Paul Wellstone was a man of deep convictions, a plain-spoken fellow who did his best for his state and for his country. May the good Lord bless those who grieve." [Emphasis mine.]
Compare to that to Bush's glowing words on June 27, 2003 for the late Republican Senator from South Carolina, the legendary racist and segregationist Strom Thurmond:
"Senator Strom Thurmond led an extraordinary life. He served in the Army during World War II, earning a Bronze Star for valor and landing at Normandy on D-Day. He served his country as Senator, Governor, and state legislator and was a beloved teacher, coach, husband, father, and grandfather. While campaigning across South Carolina with him in 1988, I saw first hand the tremendous love he had for his constituents, and the admiration the people of South Carolina had for him. He was also a friend and I was honored to have hosted his 100th birthday at the White House. Laura joins me in sending our prayers and condolences to the entire Thurmond family. He will be missed." [Emphasis mine.]
On November 16th, the outgoing 109th Senate passed a resolution "expressing the sense of the Senate that Senator Paul Wellstone should be remembered for his compassion and leadership on social issues." Even Norm Coleman, the opportunistic Minnesota Republican who said of his late predecessor in 2003 "I am a 99 percent improvement over Paul Wellstone", co-sponsored the resolution.
Coleman, of course, no doubt bowed to the requirements of decorum and in honoring Paul Wellstone. Apparently, such basic human decency is utterly alien to President Bush.