March 27, 2003


STORMIN' NORMAN'S OFFICE: The Strib's Doug Grow offers up an (unintentionally) humorous column on a group of Minneapolis-area anti-war protestors who the other day took over the Minneapolis field office of U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN). Grow's somewhat admiring column is quite illuminating into what makes the lying-down-in-the-streets wing of the anti-war movement tick.
Apparently, during last Monday's demonstrations, a group of protestors thought it might be fun to "occupy" Sen. Coleman's Twin Cities office, even though it was at the time filled only with skeletal staff, and Coleman himself was not even in town, as Congress is currently in session. Once Coleman's staff left for the evening, the protestors assumed control of the switchboard, at one point even placing a call to the White House before police arrived to diffuse the situation.
Ironically, the office had belonged for years to Coleman's predecessor, the late Paul Wellstone (a hero to protestors the world over), and in an added twist, Coleman himself had been a rabid anti-war protestor during his Vietnam-era college years before turning GOP as mayor of St. Paul in the early '90s.
The opening line of Grow's article is "most of the demonstrators had been in this office many times," and one protestor is even quoted as saying that months ago she had been "sleeping on the floor" of that same office, back when it was still in "progressive" hands. So from this I'd imagine we're supposed to think the protestors were Wellstone's "cavalry" in fighting the good fight, and why, he was even courteous enough to let the transient activists sleep on the floor in the lobby of his office. Right?
Well no, not exactly. Most of the activists' previous contact with Wellstone's office, in fact, had been of an adversarial nature- these were the folks, you may remember, who camped outside the senator's office in the weeks prior to last fall's Iraq vote, with the implicit threat that they would support the Green Party candidate if Wellstone voted the "wrong way." Elsewhere in Grow's piece, we learn that after the demonstrators were arrested, they were taken to an adjacent conference room where, one of them remembered wistfully, "[We'd] once had an angry meeting with Wellstone." Wellstone, for those of you who don't know, leaned probably further to the left than any other non-Vermont elected politician in recent American political history. Though not far enough for these people, apparently.
Reminds me of the time Wellstone spoke at my high school, when a classmate of mine (part of the clique that really started to turn me against leftism) got up and started haranguing the senator about "inconsistancies" in his voting record on environmental issues- despite the fact that Wellstone was perhaps the most pro-environmental senator of the past half-century. And that's symptomatic of what's wrong with today's far left: they're so defeatist that they can't even recognize one of the most dynamic and charismatic politicians in recent US history was on their side.

Posted by Stephen Silver at March 27, 2003 12:15 AM
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