The late Senator Paul Wellstone can no longer serve the people of Minnesota. Either Walter Mondale or Norm Coleman can. So the race should focus on them.
The dead, however, do still count in politics. In 2000, I voted for a dead man–Mel Carnahan–for the Senate against a man I had voted for in the past. To my way of thinking Carnahan was still the better choice for the Senate. How do you campaign in an environment in which citizens are willing to vote for the dead or take the memory of the dead to the polls? The Los Angeles Times today considers the possible tactics. Political Wire offers a round-up of today’s coverage.
Mondale will probably choose to run above the fray to get maximum benefit from a race run as a tribute to Wellstone. Coleman, on the other hand, will keep the race focused on issues. Is either choice crass politics? No. It’s just politics. Wellstone can no longer serve. Someone has to, and you can’t lead if you don’t win.