Sen. Paul Wellstone’s Death, or, Know What You Know

Did you ever have that niggling feeling that you knew something, but you couldn’t quite put your finger on it? Or maybe you had the feeling that you weren’t being told the whole story, or worse, an outright lie, but when you brought up your doubts, everyone told you you were nuts?Those things happen to me, with fair regularity, but it can take quite a while — years, decades, sometimes — to find out I was right. Here’s one of those stories, but it’s going to take a little while to get there.

I grew up in NJ, at the Jersey shore (yes, there is a group of people who are really like that; I avoided them like the plague). In fact, I grew up at northernmost end of the Jersey Shore, quite close to NYC, where rum running was invented. (During Prohibition, booze was smuggled in by ship to the north Jersey shore, which was one of the ways the Mafia made money, and grew powerful.)

This really was Mafia country. So when I was a kid, and someone had a light plane accident, or a boating accident, we knew it wasn’t really an accident. I mean, even 10-year-olds knew that.

Which brings me to Paul Wellstone.

When he died in a ‘light plane accident’, I strongly suspected it wasn’t an accident. And there were some plausible theories about the balance of power in the Senate a a motive for murder, yadda yadda yadda. But those didn’t really explain it.

Last night, I was reading my most recent Harvard Magazine, and I came across this, in an article about Sen. Al Franken.

“Paul Wellstone didn’t mind taking unpopular positions. In 1990, his first year as junior U.S. senator from Minnesota, he voted against the Gulf War. President George H.W. Bush’s reaction: “Who is that chickenshit?” An equal-opportunity offender, Wellstone was the only Democrat to vote against President Bill Clinton’s welfare-reform bill. And when the second Bush administration was rounding up votes for an invasion of Iraq, Wellstone said he heard from Vice President Dick Cheney: “If you vote against the war in Iraq, the Bush administration will do whatever is necessary to get you. There will be severe ramifications for you and the state of Minnesota.”

Wellstone voted against the war, but Cheney never had to retaliate. On October 25, 2002—just two weeks after the Senate vote—a plane carrying Wellstone, his wife, his daughter, two aides, and two pilots crashed in northern Minnesota.”

Umm, Cheney never had to retaliate??? Huh? If a guy is willing to shoot his hunting partner in the face, what do you suppose he’d do to a guy he didn’t like?

So there it is, right there in black and white for everyone to see. All you have to read is the first 2 paragraphs, though the rest of the story is wonderful. (The author, Jesse Kornbluth, is no slouch, having written for New York Times, New York, Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest and more.  So I assume journalistic competence here, that he isn’t making this up.)

Here’s what gets me: At least one person, who knew about the threat and was willing to talk about, lived to talk about it. That means this mass murder was meant as a message to someone else. Ever wonder why the Republicans walk in lockstep?

My larger point is this: while you do have to listen to what is out there, what other people think, hang on to that niggling sense that all those people may be wrong, and you might just be right.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (, who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.