Mike Gravel’s legacy lives

An interesting question with some interesting answers.  How the Hell did Mike Gravel get elected twice in Alaska?

Your recurring joke:  Somebody has to represent the interests of gravel and other small pieces of rock in the legislature.

AND:  Also, throwing a rock in a pond.

This is almost true:  Gravel was reflecting his constituency’s wishes and his personal feelings about the war. He didn’t get loony until later years.

This is your “But Montana” example debunked… ie:  he don’t look like a Red State Democrat:  But Schweitzer and Tester provide plenty of photo ops of them hunting and fishing and generally seeming “rough hewn”, unlike Gravel.

AND:  interesting points. But maybe the real question is what was wrong with the Republican Rasmuson that he couldn’t beat a divided Democratic field of Gravel and the incumbent Dem Gruening, who nabbed 18% of the vote?

Back to the “But Montana; he don’t look like a Red State Democrat”:  Looking more at Gravel’s bio, he was an Ivy Leaguer who was born and raised in Massachusetts, to French-Canadian parents. Say what?!? Seems like exactly the wrong sort for the Alaska electorate as I understand it.

And Back to the recurring joke:  “We just thought it would be funny to vote for gravel.”

A good explanation, partially:  You have to understand that the pool of capable politicians is small in Alaska and since the 70s the oil companies have backed those that are sympathetic to them. Even today, with the population of Alaska much larger than in 1967, it’s still difficult for either party to field a candidate that doesn’t make you hold your nose while voting for him. The really good people never seem to make it past city government positions, since they’re usually labelled as ‘liberals’.

It doesn’t matter, the joke is still funny:  By the way, people, it’s pronounced gruh-VELL and not like the small rocks.

The answer… he lied in his 1968 bid against Gruening, and ran as a hawk against the dove Gruening.  He got lucky in 1974, and got in the anti-Nixon Watergate fervor.  Also his opponent was a weird John Bircher.  (Note that years later, Joe Miller is the one Republican who probably wouldn’t beat the current Democrat Incumbent, and lost a write-in bid to a Republican Incumbent.)  And got ground ashunder in 1980 by Gruening’s son en route to the Reagan Republican Triumph.

The reason Mike Gravel is in the news, kind of, — after a bit of a blip news blurb for his “gone loony in recent years” (He was always eccentric in the Senate, but maybe that matches the constituency in Alaska) for heading a mock hearing committee of ex-Congress critters on disclosing extraterrestrial beings — his rock throwing ad is living on in memory, and is being compared to…

Jeffrey Alan Wagner’s Minneapolis Mayor ad.  And your typical wonkette commentary.

We live in the age of goofy political youtube ads.  Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame.

Note the best two comments are the first ones.

At least Mike Gravel had the decency to remain quiet and simply throw a rock.
Putin fan.

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