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Conscience of a Liberal

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  605 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
"Never separate the lives you live from the words you speak," Paul Wellstone told his students at Carleton College, where he was professor of political science.
Wellstone haslived up to his words as the most liberal man in the United States Senate, where for the past decade he has been the voice for improved health care, education, reform, and support for children. In this
ebook, 216 pages
Published July 17th 2001 by Random House Publishing Group (first published 2001)
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What a tremendous man. What a tremendous loss to Minnesota and the nation. Just two points to show how good he was - he voted against authorizing the requested ability to go to war in Iraq, and he presented legislation in the US Senate for single payer health care.
Wonderful senator, great humanitarian, tremendous man. Paul, you are sadly missed, but it looks like Al Franken is on the right track.
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tim
Recommended to Steve by: Al Franken
I moved to Minneapolis during the summer of 2002. A friend of mine, upon leaving IU, told me how much I was going to love living in Paul Wellstone's state. Within a short time of living there, I realized that everyone had their own Wellstone story. Be it about meeting him at a coffee shop or seeing him address a group of listeners off the back of the green was a movement that I was looking forward to being a part of.

Unfortunately, my Wellstone story is going to his memorial service at W
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, politics
I seriously cry when I think of this man (Mason Jennings' song does it, too). He's one of the best politicians this country has ever had, mainly because he was a PERSON first. He was passionate and unswerving in his support of what he thought was right, and never bowed to pressures or polls. The untimely death of Paul and Shiela Wellstone is one of the great losses in my lifetime. For reals.
Ryan Dreier
Senator Wellstone's tragic death is a huge loss for the country and the state of Minnesota. His book really pushes the idea of being a senator with convictions. He won his senatorial seat not by out spending his opponent but by not not being afraid of know the needs of his community and by not being political (doing what he believes is right). There is a good amount of explanation on procedural politics in the book where Wellstone will state that several Senators wouldn't support a bill because ...more
Robin Gitelman
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite highlighting how many of the issues we were fighting in the 90s are still with us, this left me optimistic, wanting to support more candidates that are liberal and progressive and knowing that "when we fight, we win".

It's a shame that we lost Wellstone to an airplane crash soon after this book was published. He would have been fighting as hard for us today as he was before he was killed if he were still here.
Mary Warner
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very appropriate reading for today's political climate. Paul Wellstone would be appalled at what has happened to our country, but he would double down and try even harder to fix things.
Edith Lueke
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good book, am re-reading now after having first read this book just before Paul was killed in that plane accident.
Aaron Arnold
While I was too young to have known much about Wellstone before he died in the tragic 2002 plane crash, I was old enough to appreciate the cosmic justice when Al Franken recaptured his seat from Norm Coleman in 2008. It should go without saying that Wellstone was one of the few Senators who weren't complete garbage, thanks to his unwavering support for economic fairness, which has been one of the main casualties of the Democratic Party's trans-Clintonian realignment. It's extremely reinvigoratin ...more
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book could easily have been written today - were it not of course for the fact that Wellstone died the year after it was written. The issues presented in it are still issues today - and given that I was a child during all of the events he describes, it's actually quite shocking to learn how little progress we've made in 12-20 years. I did not know much about Wellstone or his career prior to reading this, despite being a native Minnesotan (I had just turned 15 a few days before his death) bu ...more
Rick Hogaboam
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this when I was 20. Sen. Wellstone was the Bernie Sanders of that era. His life was tragically cut short. I didn't agree with everything in the book, but I recommend that folks read all sides of every issue, and I found this a passionate apologia for progressive liberalism. This is an obvious response of sorts to Barry Goldwater's *The Conscience of a Conservative*. When I say "passionate apologia," I don't suggest that I agree with all of his assertions, but you can't argue with the man's ...more
Jim Hammer
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this book was dated...(Wellstone is deceased.) amazed me in how many of the issues that Wellstone dealt with in the Senate, and how many problems that he predicted have come to fruition. Wellstone was a quick study on the methods of the Senate and knew how to work within the confines of those parameters. His stories of dealing with senators of the opposing party, Dole, Mack, Helms, McCain and those he admired Simon, Harkin, Kennedy made me realize that there at one point in time we ...more
Paul Wellstone was a college professor who taught political science and then became a liberal U.S. Senator. He did this by building a true grassroots campaign, This book is his story. It is primarily a call to activism and a how-to book, by way of example, from his experience.

The author believed (he died in a questionable airplane crash, in 2002) "the most important goal is to live a life consistent with the values I hold dear and to act on what I believe in." He also believed that politics is a
Mike Edwards
Nov 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-events, usa
To state my bias up front, Paul Wellstone has long been the politician that I admired most. Wellstone always fought to improve the lives of the underdogs and the downtrodden--which, to my way of thinking, is exactly what political leaders ought to do. This book is a reflection on many of his most hard-fought battles towards that end, and includes a lot of information about the tactics and strategies that he employed.

The book has a bit more of the feel of a memoir than I initially expected, and I
Jeffrey Mervosh
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: politics
I read this shortly after Paul Wellstone passed away, and to this day it is the closest I have to a personal inspiration. Paul truly believed in a politics for the people, something that is sorely lacking today. “A politics that is not sensitive to the concerns and circumstances of people's lives, a politics that does not speak to and include people, is an intellectually arrogant politics that deserves to fail.”

The simple belief that we should never separate the life we lead from the words we s
I started this book and got about half way through it. Although I have all the respect in the world for Paul Wellstone, I have trouble when the whole crux of a book is to stroke the author's ego (however self-deprecating a person may be), and forgive me, but that's pretty much all I'm getting from this book. So I'm not going to finish it. Sorry. I feel bad about it, but I'm just not learning much.

I think Krugman's book by the same name would be more up my alley. Maybe I was just confused.
Cam Mccord
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Certainly a recipe for successful grassroots campaigning... and Wellstone passionately lays out the argument for compassionate, humane, and people centered public policy. A book designed to get progressives motivated and mobilized... as Wellstone says, "Politics is about the improvement of people's lives, lessening human suffering, advancing the cause of peace and justice in our country and in the world."
Oct 24, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the year 2000 or so, Senator Paul Wellstone wrote, 'The challenge is to mobilize millions of Americans from all walks of life to participate actively in a historic movement to restore our democracy. We need to invite ordinary citizens back into American politics to work for what is right for our nation.'

If he had seen what just happened a couple of days ago, he would be so proud! It is truly unfortunate and sad that he and his wife didn't live to see it.
Jun 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People affected by politics
Shelves: pastreads
I read this and "Conscience of a Conservative" together. It was a difficult task as Wellstone had just passed away and he was my hero senator representing me and my fellow Minnesotans. Of course I liked Wellstone's book better, I agree with him and was mourning him. He had good ideals and stood behind them.
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The writing isn't amazing, but Paul Wellstone wasn't a writer. His enthusiasm, however, completely makes up for that. I am not often able to read non-fiction pieces and stay engaged, especially when the topic is politics, but this book was different. I loved reading it. It's inspiring and I only wish I'd read it sooner.
Jun 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I love this book. Paul Wellstone was one of America's greatest leaders, and his life was tragically cut short. I can't say this about many other books (virtually none), I've read this book ten times. Normally I read a book once and I'm done, no matter how great it is. But this book, I had to reread several times. Something called to me from its pages. I wish I could explain it.
This book was enthusiastically written (sometimes at break-neck pace) and thorough, but I couldn't tell if it was a memoir or a platform thesis.

Intense and sometimes a bit muddy, it is nonetheless a good, quick read for anyone interested in the work Wellstone was doing and the tragedy that his death truly was. We lost a great champion of the least, the lost and the lowly when he died.
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
The most depressing part of this book is not that we have lost Senator Wellstone. Though bad enough, what is worse is how fresh his list of challenges is and how accurate his fears have become.

We've got a lot of work to make America "a more perfect union" and it seems we've only lost ground since this book was written.
Apr 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: policy
he hit all my favorite issues - and I especially dig the chapters on mental illness and public financing of elections. Ultimately, did ring a bit hollow - I mean, I know he was a busy guy, but I didn't want to read something ghostwritten off of a bunch of interviews. Maybe I'll dig up his earlier stuff.
Nov 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My hero, and inspiration. This is how you successfully run a grassroots campaign. Community activism at its finest. I feel everyone looking to make a change should read this book, and check out:
His impact led us to name our great dane after him, 'Wellstone'.
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for anyone in progressive politics from the courageous late Senator from Minnesota. Wellstone was the only Senator up for re-election in 2002 who voted against the Iraq War resolution in the U.S. Senate. An inspirational book that continues to ground progressive politics.
Sep 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My admiration for Wellstone prompted me to read this book. Nothing changed there. Also, i affirm the book's assertions pertaining to what is needed from a policy perspective. But can't give it 5 stars because I felt it was poorly written. I found several typos, which is distracting.
Well intentioned and right on generally in regards to policy, but alternatingly a touch dry, preachy, listy, and redundant. Still, worth reading if only for a reminder of his enthusiasm and spirit. RIP, Paul.
Nov 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: policy-politics
One of my favorite books. The passion and integrity of Paul Wellstone comes through and inspires. Re-reading passages from the book from time to time is a great way to remember this amazing man and how he personally affected my own beliefs and life.
Claire S
He shouldn't be dead. I was carrying a computer monitor from one work station to another when someone came around a turn in the hallway and said it. Horrible. So, so wrong. Franken needs to win. Dammit.
The book would be good to read as well.
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Published shortly before Wellstone's death, a compelling rationale for fighting for progressive issues. These issues continue to be important even as politics seems to be more divisive than ever. I wonder when we'll find another willing to fight so hard for real people.
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Paul David Wellstone was a two-term U.S. Senator from the state of Minnesota and member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, which is affiliated with the national Democratic Party. Before being elected to the Senate in 1990, he was a professor of political science at Carleton College. Wellstone was a liberal and a leading spokesman for the liberal wing of the national Democratic Party. He served ...more
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Politics is about the improvement of people's lives, lessening human suffering, advancing the cause of peace and justice in our country and in the world.”
“ can we live in the richest, most privileged country in the world, at the peak of its economic performance, and still hear the Republicans, and too many Democrats, that we cannot afford to provide a good education for every child, that we cannot afford to provide health security for all our citizens?” 6 likes
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