Two of several notable things about the memorial services for Paul Wellstone and those who died with him last Friday:

1.) At the request of Wellstone's sons, Dick Cheney did not attend. The official version of events says that the veep was asked to stay away because of logistical challenges, the need for added security (and Cheney always requires a level of security that seems excessive, even for someone in his position), and the whither-he-goest protestors that are his shadow.

The less official version, however, notes that Cheney, who helped get Wellstone's opponent into the race in the first place, would doubtless benefit from the publicity around his attendance at the memorial. To my mind, there is no politician in the U.S. today (with the possible exception of Ashcroft, and perhaps Dubya himself) who is less deserving of any sort of attention stemming from his attendance at such an event. Cheney is everything Wellstone was not--jaded, corrupt, power hungry, insensitive to everyone who is not cast of the same dye. If he's truly mourning the Senator's death (and I really can't imagine he is), let him do it in private, away from any camera that might catch him with a sympathetic expression on his face or any reporter who might extract from him some soundbite about how much he admired Wellstone's passion.

2.) The Times reports that the memorial included a video montage of a recent campaign commercial in which Wellstone said, 'Politics is not about power, politics is not about winning. [...] Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people's lives.'

And all I can think, in the wake of this death and in the face of another dismal election, is 'Would that it were. Would that it truly were.'