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DFL chair compares Bachmann to Wellstone

The chairman of the Minnesota DFL Party had some unusually kind words for presidential candidate Michele Bachmann on Monday, comparing her to liberal icon Paul Wellstone.

To be clear, DFL chairman Ken Martin dismissed her political ideology, but said her consistency as a candidate and lawmaker reminds him of the late Minnesota senator.

“The reason people give someone like a Paul Wellstone some credit and give someone like a Michele Bachmann some credit is because, at the end of the day, they feel that she and someone like Paul, believes honestly what they said and they stood up and fought for what they believed in, not what they felt was the most politically expedient,” Martin said in a press event about Mitt Romney, per MPR.

On this matter, Bachmann and Martin actually agree. Bachmann makes the comparison herself on page 126 of her biography, “Core of Conviction:”

“For some legislators, when pressure is applied, they grow stronger in their convictions. That was true for some of us on the right, and it was also true for some on the left. For example, during my first term in the state senate, I met U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone. He was a firebrand leftist, but he had an honest heart. He was not cynical; he was sincere. He told you where he was coming from, and if you disagreed with him, he would respect that disagreement, and do his best to beat you. He was true to his ideology until he and his wife were tragically killed in a plane crash [in 2002].”

Bachmann’s latest campaign talking points have encouraged Republican voters to support a consistently conservative presidential candidate like herself. On the flip side, Democrats have worked to portray Romney, a front-runner, as an inconsistent flip-flopper.

Devin Henry can be reached at

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Barbara Miller on 11/29/2011 - 12:44 pm.

    No. Just no, Ken.

    For starters, likening Bachmann to Paul Wellstone, even tangentially, is flat-out insulting and totally wrong. Their names do not belong in the same sentence unless it’s to illustrate extreme contrasts in what it means to represent the people and not just those with monumentally deep pockets.

    Paul Wellstone’s fierce determination and tenacity were borne of clarity and integrity. That is what defined him. A truth-teller who researched carefully before grabbing a microphone.

    He was an educator all along the way. He led by example. He was not about the business of being a destructive obstructionist.

    I was disturbed by the headline for this article and seriously torqued by the time I finished it. With good reason, imo.

  2. Submitted by Barbara Miller on 11/29/2011 - 12:46 pm.

    P.S. The term “flip-flopper.” That will forever be associated with John Kerry, as branded by the Republicans. George Lakoff cautions, yea, insists that picking up “frames” and trying to re-define them is futile and no small amount undermining. Re-frame, re-frame, re-frame. And while I’m ranting, could we get rid of “at the end of the day”? That is a massively overused phrase, now entering cliche-dom.

  3. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 12/01/2011 - 07:47 am.

    Words from the Chair of the DFL?
    …should be cut off at the legs; the chair not the person.

    A potty chair will do…plus a retraction or an apology to the late, great Paul Wellstone.

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