Amy Klobuchar and Tim Walz are meeting over breakfast. They are talking and comparing notes about being freshmen in the Congress. Suddenly, a wiry, balding man with a slight limp pulls up a chair, sits down, and says "hello."
Amy and Tim are speechless for a moment, and then Amy says, "Is that you Paul Wellstone? How can it be; you're dead. Aren't you?"
The man smiles and replies, "Maybe not so dead, after all. A person's life can reverberate for a long time. It's a measure of what you did in life, I guess."
"It's wonderful to see you, if that's what we're doing," says Tim.
"Thank you; it's nice to be seen, so to speak," replies the man. "There's something I want to talk to you about."
"Of course," says Amy, "we're eager to hear what you have to say."
"I am afraid," says the man, well, we'll just call him Paul, "that the two of you are going native."
"What do you mean?" asks Tim.
"I am talking about your votes on the most recent Iraq war supplemental funding bill and your votes on the FISA expansion. By "native" I mean taking your cues from the Washington establishment, listening to inside-the-Beltway consultants too much, and trying to calculate your votes on some things are pretty fundamental. The D.C. people you're listening to don't seem all that progressive to me."
"I am sure we're both doing what we think it right," say Amy.
"Ok, I'll accept that at face value. But let me ask you this: why are the two of you sitting here?"
Tim answers, "Because we both won our elections."
"Of course," says Paul, "but why do you think that happened? You both beat people already in Congress."
"We both ran great campaigns!" pipes in Amy.
"Yes, you did," replies Paul, "but don't you suppose that unhappiness with the Republicans, especially President Bush, had something to do with it?"
"Well, sure," says Tim. "That doesn't make our votes on the Iraq supplemental and FISA wrong."
"It makes them mystifying to me," Paul says evenly. "My time in the Senate began and ended with votes against the first and the second war in Iraq. I took plenty of heat for those votes, especially the first one. I announced my vote in a clumsy way—at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial—and I spent a lot of time redeeming myself from that with vets. And Norm Coleman was certainly trying to use the second one against me.
"Do you think I would have voted to continue to fund the war and condone warrantless wiretaps of American citizens?"
"No," say Amy, a little sullenly.
"Tim, you went to Camp Wellstone. You even had my friend Rick Kahn speak at your election party. And Amy, you were one of the people over at DFL headquarters after my plane went down asking to be the replacement candidate, right?"
Amy and Tim reply, "Yes."
"And both of you have invoked my memory in your campaigns, haven't you?"
Again the reply is "Yes."
Tim says, "But, Paul, we have to try to keep everybody happy now. I have an election in just another year."
"That's true. But you'll never please everyone, and you need to remember the tide of public opinion that brought you into office. The people you pleased with those votes won't support you anyway."
"Let's suppose, just for the sake of argument, that we regret those votes. We can't very well say that, can we?" asks Amy.
"I don't know why not. I voted for the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a vote that I very much regretted. And I said so. Having regrets and being able to express them makes you authentic. And I have high hopes for both of you as authentic politicians."
Just then, in different parts of the Washington area, Tim and Amy are jerked awake by their alarm clocks. They dress hurriedly and make their way to the restaurant where they had agreed to meet for breakfast the day before. When they meet, they say to each other simultaneously, "I had a dream last night."