The Wellstone Doctrine

C-Spanners have witnessed the lonely battles of Sen. Paul Wellstone(D) of Minnesota, the only senator up for election last year who ventured to defy his president and party leader to vote against the still controversial welfare bill. It didn't do enough to protect the young and poor, he argued, and recently he said economic justice has "clearly ... not been the focus of the administration."

Mr. Wellstone wants to bring the nation's focus back on those in need, as his admired Robert F. Kennedy did when running for the presidency long ago. Wellstone has been mocked for making a visit to Mississippi the first stop on his own "presidential" tour. He was there, with TV cameras, to put a face on poverty, as he intends to do on various trips - like those Kennedy made with similar purpose.

If the senator were running for the White House he would be the darkest horse since Black Beauty. Only some kind of landslide before the primaries could amass a campaign chest from the small contributions he insists on.

But he stuck to his sense of right last fall and won in Minnesota. He should not remain alone in what would be his "dream come true" - making a national issue of conquering poverty and malnutrition in rich America.

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