Mike Gravel?

Former Alaska US Senator Mike Gravel (D-VA) said Thursday he will run for President in 2008. Gravel, 75, has not faced voters since he lost for reelection in 1980. His three main issues: opposition to the Iraq War, passage of a direct democracy constitutional amendment establishing national referendums on legislation (much like state ballot initiatives), and adoption of a “Fair Tax” plan that would replace all federal individual and corporate taxes with a 23% national sales tax on all new goods and services. “The American people are frustrated with the level of dysfunction of government,? Gravel said. ?The thought of getting out there early, right now, is really the big tactic for me. Once I?m out there and people see the issues I?m raising, it will resonate with people,” he explained. Gravel’s anger over the Iraq War and government secrecy — which he views as very similar to the Vietnam War issues he dealt with in the Senate — prompted him to run. Gravel, who was almost solely responsible for both ending the military draft and for getting the secret “Pentagon Papers” into the press in 1971, actively ran for Vice President in 1972 (and won a few hundred convention delegates).

An overview of an interview with Mike Gravel by Ron at politics1.com is found here (though clicking it it seems to bounce to Tuesday’s entry. This is for Monday’s entry.)

For me at least, this raises a curious question. What gives a political candidate legitimacy? — and by legitimacy I mean enough to get the each member of the news media to have someone on his beat, and for the candidate to make appearances at those debates. Each Presidential Nomination election brings with it this assortment of fringe candidates that get a quick airtime on the “Human Interests” last section of local news outlets, ie: “Ain’t this guy wacky?” They don’t deserve any mind. Beyond them, we have Lyndon LaRouche, who the Democratic Party doesn’t touch with a ten-foot pole, even while he technically raises more money for his campaigns than the majority of the Legitimate opponents. He… has a dedicated following of cult-members.

Mike Gravel falls somewhere just beyond these guys on the “fringe” category, and somewhere just short of the “Legitimate” Guys on the “Granted Respectability” category. In the last election cycle for the Democratic Party these were: Carol Mosley Braun, Wesley Clarke, Howard Dean, John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, Bob Graham, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, Joseph Lieberman, and Al Sharpton. Ted Koppel became a bit testy with Sharpton and Kucinich for continuing to campaign past a few primaries — “Their time was up”, supposedly, and truth be told the whole lot of them were probably found these candidates a bit tedious. But they were still there… depending on what criteria you put to mark them they were legitimate and not legitimate. Truth be told, the party itself probably would have liked Al Sharpton to go away (way too much baggage for any candidate, black or white), but could not really offend his base of support. Which was the purpose of Carol Mosley Braun’s campaign, a bit puzzling in that there reportedly was no real campaign apparatus under her — to stop any potential fall-out from Sharpton.

Mike Gravel has a platform (though, that itself may actually take him away from the “Granted Respect” category — which is, the Legitimate Guys (and, hi Hillary, Gal) need Wriggle Room. He has a record, indeed I have to admire placing the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Records and thus releasing them to the public. He probably has as much money at hand as… say… Braun (though not as much as LaRouche, who nobody wants anything to do with).

And he’s not going to come near the debates or, except for a brief blip at this very moment, the media. Maybe he’s like Eugene McCarthy for the 1992 presidential election cycle?

3 Responses to “Mike Gravel?”

  1. Elliott Jacobson Says:

    I am the Director of Communications for the Gravel for President campaign. I can only tell you not to underestimate the US Senator who singlehandedly ended the draft with a lone five month filibuster, risked his career and going to jail for reading the Pentagon Papers into the Senate record and arranging for their publication. With the Internet and all of its tools, Senator Gravel will become a major contender. Stay tuned.

  2. Richard Says:

    Gravel will get his share of donations to continue his campaign. I would speculate that some of that money will come from republican activists. The gop wants to showcase any democrat who comes across as a wacko. It reinforces the image that the republicans have been using against the democrats for years. Gravel will get more airtime from Fox, Rush and Hannity than he will receive from mainstream media outlets.

  3. paul Says:

    Mike Gravel is the best hope to modernise the USA. His solutions are genius, sensible and sensitive to all parties involved, he threatens no one and so he has the potential to win, but if he does not win he still has put forth a ingenious solution for people to grab hold of and solve their problems if they want to. He is radical but his ideas are irrefutable and will live on, give reason a chance and it will prove to be good.

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