Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Paul Wellstone Way

My friend and blogging buddy, Chris Borland, and I have been exchanging e-mails about how to successfully convey the liberal message to the public.

Again and again, I share my experience of going to Camp Wellstone (link to my June 6th, 2007 post). Chris, I, and others don’t have to reinvent the liberal message wheel. It’s already available, thanks to Wellstone Action!.

Wellstone Action! was started by the David and Mark Wellstone, shortly after the tragic death in 2002 of their parents, Paul and Sheila Wellstone, and their sister, Marcia.

Recently I’ve been seeing references to Paul Wellstone’s message, including in Ralph Nader’s "Meet the Press" interview last Sunday and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne’s February 22nd op-ed, "A Page from Paul Wellstone," which opens with, “If you want to talk about candidates borrowing from each other, consider how much Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are taking on loan from the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, the affable populist killed in a plane crash shortly before the 2002 election.”

If you’re willing to take six minutes to self-administer a dose of hope, watch this video:

If you want to know more about all this exciting stuff, check out Wellstone Action! The Executive Director is Jeff Blodgett, who was Wellstone’s campaign manager from 1989 to 2002. His recent article, "Populism, Organization and Conviction: How Paul Wellstone Won Elections" is well worth reading. Then wander on over to the Advisory Committee. You’ll be amazed at who’s on this committee. The Organizing Corner offers tools and resources for building a volunteer infrastructure based on the radical notion that, as Paul Wellstone said, "people get organized because they, too, have a vision."

I also highly recommend reading Paul Wellstone’s The Conscience of a Liberal - Reclaiming the Compassionate Agenda (2001). The first chapter, “This Time, Vote for What You Believe In,” is timely.

(the bus Paul Wellstone used in his campaigns:


Chris Borland said...

What a great thing it must be to attend Camp Wellstone!

I very hope to go through their citizen activism training with my young daughter in the next couple of years, and was so inspired by your post and by the video that I emailed the folks at the camp to more information and ask for some generic advice on how to nurture greater political interest in teenagers like my daughter (so she'll want to come with me to Camp Wellstone!).

Any of you readers who didn't view the video in Gail's post ... please do so. It's wonderful.

No question, Camp Wellstone appears to be a very, very special place indeed.

Gail Jonas said...

Chris, I'm glad this post inspired you.

My goal is to encourage all of those with whom I work on political issues to attend Camp Wellstone so we can more effectively work together for change.

The skills that are gained at Camp Wellstone can be used on all issues, whether it's election integrity, universal health care, slowing down climate change, etc.

And the candidates' track has successfully produced winners in many elections!