Hillary Clinton

Getting Pumped for the Mike Gravel Inaugural

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The Democrats held their first all-presidential candidate debate tonight in South Carolina. I wasn't there, but an MSNBC web camera was, and it beamed the debate into the comfort of Reason HQ in DC. My impressions:

– Joe Biden underperformed. He's been plotting this run for 20 years and when naming the Supreme Court justices he doesn't like he calls Clarence Thomas (before he corrected himself) "that other guy." To be fair, he had the best joke of the night. When Brian Williams asked whether voters could trust a possibly-racist motormouth to represent them on the world stage, Biden said "Yes." Then he just smiled as time expired.

– John Edwards underperformed, too. If you've seen him campaign (or read about it afterwards) this year, you've seen a righteously angry bulldog whaling the shit out of Hillary and Obama. The guy who showed up onstage was as lightweight as ever. He tried to rebut a comment about his wealth by telling a rambling story about his family going to a restaurant (when he was a boy) and leaving when they saw the prices on the menu. That stuff sounds hollow after 59 million people vote to make a guy vice president, doesn't it? You only get one chance to be Tiny Tim.

– HILLARY CLINTON IS, BY ALL APPEARENCES, UNABLE TO SPEAK IN ANYTHING BELOW A YELP.

– Barack Obama had the biggest gaffe of the night by not naming Israel as one of our biggest allies until being prompted. It's lucky for him—another sign, possibly, of his messiah status—that the Jewish vote won't matter until after Iowa and New Hampshire.

– Can Obama have had the biggest gaffe and still won? Probably. Having watched a lot of his recent speeches I was expected a lot of umming and awwing, but that was minimal. He flagged towards the end of the debate before Dennis Kucinich made a remark about him wanting military action on Iran. In the following confrontation, where Obama expressed a sort of generic Albrightian foreign policy, I saw a flash of Reagan—the same kind of ballsiness and economy of language, if obviously not the substance. Any Republican who things he's going to fade out or implode is, frankly, delusional.

– Check out the lefty blogs, especially MyDD. They think Mike Gravel—whose brain I think I heard rattling around his skull—won. These people are different from you and me.

– Bill Richardson largely lived up to his reputation as the Democrat who induces the faintest gag reflex in libertarians. When moderator Williams pointed out that Richardson had the best NRA rating of any Democratic candidate, Richardson said "The vast, vast majority of gun owners are law abiding" and explained how Westerners live with guns. After Edwards proposed tax increases to pay for health care, a Social Security fix, and (I think) Mars colonization, Richardson muttered "As Democrats, I hope that we don't just think of new taxes to pay for programs."

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  1. Though this isn’t saying all that much, Bill Richardson is far and away the best Democratic candidate.

    Mike Gravel is just an old crank. What is it with Alaska? They gave us Ted Stevens, now they give us Mike Gravel.

  2. No real winner, so to speak, but Richardson is now in the top tier.

    Mike Gravel is a hoot. You kids get the hell off my lawn; I’ve got a gun in here!

  3. I’m a lefty. My wife’s a lefty. We didn’t think Mike Gravel won. When a question got tossed to him, we perked up with intrigued curiosity, eager to see which way he’d teeter next.

  4. Caught only a glimpse of it, but my favorite part was John Edwards demanding a woman make her own choices about her reproductive health moments after demanding mandatory health care.

  5. The military industrial complex controls the culture?

    Sorry, Gov. Gravel, I don’t think Rumsfeld had anything to do with Rosie being hired.

    Or Sec. Gates with her being fired.

    I’ll defer to your, um, expertise, however.

    The reality based community will love this guy.

  6. Richardson is a strong candidate on paper, but his demeanor on-stage was suboptimal. His answers were rambling, and he had to be interrupted by the moderator too many times for going long.

    I want him to do well, but I was disappointed tonight.

  7. Senator Gravel.

    Man, the 60s must have been a trip.

  8. “Gov. Gravel, have you ever used any illegal drugs in your past?”

    “Does today count?”

  9. I think the most entertaining race ever would be an all-Alaska general election–Mike Gravel vs. Ted Stevens.

  10. President Gravel?

    Only on an episdode of “The Flintstones”…

  11. Check out the lefty blogs…These people are different from you and me.

    Different from me…perhaps.

    Different from you…perhaps not.

  12. Is there any difference between “perhaps” and “perhaps not?”

  13. Is there any difference between “perhaps” and “perhaps not?”

    Maybe. Maybe not.

  14. Is there any difference between “perhaps” and “perhaps not?”

    Perhaps the choice between the two reveals something about the speaker’s unspoken opinion.

  15. Or as Bob Dole would have said, “Depends.”

  16. Thing again David, thing again.

  17. I actually feel sorry for the Democratic candidates for having to spend even a few hours in Orangeburg, SC–otherwise known as the armpit of the state.

    At least Edwards can find himself a restaurant that doesn’t cost too much…he’s got a choice even: Huddle House or Waffle House.

    I still think I’m going to vote for Hilary–here’s my rationale: none of the candidates with a realistic chance of winning are attractive to me based on ideology. So I go to my next criteria, which is entertainment value–I think the title “Bill Clinton, First Man” sums up my position nicely. Worst case scenario, we get to watch Bubba try to fill the role of “First Man” with a straight face. Best case scenario, we get hijinx that make Bill’s unique cigar humidification methodology revealed during the Lewinsky scandal look tame by comparison. If Roger Clinton is around to reprise his role as “Billy Carter” so much the better…

  18. “Best case scenario, we get hijinx that make Bill’s unique cigar humidification methodology revealed during the Lewinsky scandal look tame by comparison.”

    Right, I mean, think about it. If he got up to that kind of stuff when he had responsibility for the free world, what’s he going to get up to when he’s sitting around bored, underemployed and vaguely resentful that his wife is too busy for him? Tell me Christopher Buckley isn’t already shopping that one around.

  19. Right, I mean, think about it. If he got up to that kind of stuff when he had responsibility for the free world, what’s he going to get up to when he’s sitting around bored, underemployed and vaguely resentful that his wife is too busy for him? Tell me Christopher Buckley isn’t already shopping that one around.

    Correct…I’ve got a theory that what he’s *really* going to resent is that Hillary is sitting in the Oval Office and not him, so he’ll be trying to subtly sandbag her presidency. And what better way to do that then just, well, be himself….people that think he’ll be happy as “Ambassador to the World” or just traveling around promoting some non-controversial issue like literacy are kidding themselves…

    And what happens when all those pretty young interns start coming in? It has the potential for a real train wreck which given the candidates with a realistic shot to win is probably the best thing we can hope for…

  20. This doesn’t sound right, but is there anything preventing Hillary from picking Bill as her running mate?

  21. I think the vice-president has to meet the same qualifications as the president. That would rule out Bill, because if Hilary died, he wouldn’t be able to take over.

  22. Dave: Yeah, I think Richardson “won,” too, although it was more a war of attrition.

    If this was the first real look that likely primary voters had of the dem crew, surely Barry Hussein Obama dropped down a few notches simply for being boring and motormouthed. Hillary … OMFG, does *anyone* support her? Besides Halliburton, I mean. Biden: One of the smarter ones, but no chance in hell, and no real reason to run. Dodd: Go to sleep old guy. GraVEL: Hooray, Abe Simpson is running for president. Kucinich: Suddenly Sane … thanks to GraVEL. John Edwards: Haircut 100 should just pack it in.

    If Richardson can dumb down his remarkably cliche-free “message” of “I won’t destroy the country like the last asshole,” he could do it. Hillary and Barry are gonna wipe each other out. Edwards is, at most, harmless veep material. GraVEL is an elderly potted plant who probably had some righteous views in 1947 or whenever.

    On the GOP side … well, at least Ron Paul will make the debates interesting. And maybe Rudy will do a show tune. And Walnuts can declare war on Brian Williams or whatever.

  23. Hillary’s unelectable.

    she knows it and her party knows it.

    they’re letting her hang around front and center early like this because she’s good for solidifying the money-base needed to stock the party’s war chest for the brutally expensive run up to November

    but, when the political season comes down to brass tacks, she’ll be moved to the sidelines

  24. “This doesn’t sound right, but is there anything preventing Hillary from picking Bill as her running mate?”

    Yes.

    Her desire to win prevents it. Theres no way that a Clinton/Clinton ticket can win the electoral college.

  25. So the only way we’re getting to see Slick Willy run around the Oval office again is to get him to run for the house of rep and magically get to be the Speaker? And then both the Pres. and Veep. step down?

  26. Some people have argued that she could still nominate Bill as VP, he just couldn’t succeed her if it actually happened. That still makes it a goofy, distracting idea.

  27. As far as Obama goes, I’m sure his strategy here was to be as lowkey as possible to prevent screwing up all the other momentum he’s got. He didn’t need the debates, his machine is flying without them. He just needed to avoid a Dean moment tonight.


  28. they’re letting her hang around front and center early like this because she’s good for solidifying the money-base needed to stock the party’s war chest for the brutally expensive run up to November

    I’ve always thought this too. I think there’s something to be said for candidate fatigue. After seeing someone in the news for such a long time, people get bored with them. I personally think this had just as much to do Dean melting 4 years ago as did his scream. He was already falling (finishing 3rd in Iowa) when the scream happened. The scream was the back-up parachute failing to open.

  29. Richardson is a strong candidate on paper, but his demeanor on-stage was suboptimal. His answers were rambling, and he had to be interrupted by the moderator too many times for going long.

    That’s how I felt. The entire night he looked like a puppy trying to figure out why he’s being shocked by his invisible fence.

  30. I’m dreading the upcoming Republican debate. There is no way in hell that Ron Paul is going to leave it not looking as looney as Gravel

  31. Doesn’t change my views.

    Richardson–>–>—>Obama–>–>–>—>–>–>—>Giuliani–>McCain–>–>—>Hillary.

    Richardson is palatable, Obama is tolerable, the other three make me gag, Hillary more than Rudy and John.

  32. One thing’s for sure: if she wins the Dem. primary, the campaign will be an ugly fiasco.

    The word on the street is that Hillary’s notoriously hard to work for. I’ve heard stories about her violent temper tantrums in the White House. Of course, all of that’s hearsay, and partisan hearsay at that, but I have a feeling that Hillary on the campaign trail in the era of Youtube will be good for a decade’s worth of laughter and cringing.

    Imagine if we get a camera-phone upload of her cussing a blue streak at her staffers. We might have the Dean Scream x 1000 on our hands.

    Then again, if the GOP guy is spouting “stay the course” rhetoric, it doesn’t really matter what she says or does.

  33. I guess I’ll do it up jb style too:

    Ron Paul > Bill Richardson > Mike Gravel > Dennis Kucinich > ———–GOP 2nd tier > Obama > McCain >—-Hillary/Guliani

  34. My take:

    Richardson: spewed bullshit
    Biden: spewed bullshit
    Hillary: spewed bullshit
    Obamaman: spewed bullshit
    Gravel: spewed bullshit
    Others: spewed bullshit

    Seriously, do you think any of these… entities give a damn about you or anything other than their own egos and power? I mean, really?? Every single candidate in both parties makes me wish for the Extinction Level Event asteroid.

    The “debate” was an ideologyfest between eight walking penises (Hillary being the largest and firmest) stroking themselves. A bunch of jackasses out to save the Universe.

    I don’t want to hear what some politician is going to do for me. I want to hear all the new ways they are going to leave me and mine the hell alone.

    Grrr. Hiss. Growl. And so on.

  35. Seriously, do you think any of these… entities give a damn about you or anything other than their own egos and power? I mean, really?? Every single candidate in both parties makes me wish for the Extinction Level Event asteroid.
    I think most rational americans come to realize that as soon as they begin the become even slightly aware of politics.
    It’s not the quality of person when it comes to politics, it’s whatever or not they suck up to an intrest group that you agree with

  36. I’m constantly astounded at the commenters on this website who seem to have no problem with socialism.

    Let’s see, spend a few years and a few hundred billion in a low-level war against arab barbarians that will probably accomplish nothing, or socialize more of the economy and create more government programs that will cost trillions over the the next few decades and probably accomplish nothing. Oh, I’d prefer the latter so I’ll vote Obama/Kucinich/Hillary.

    I’d suggest the order of preference for libertarians ought to look something like this: Paul/Thompson/Richards/Guiliani/Romney/[mediocre candidates from both parties] /McCain/Hilary/Obama/Kucinich

  37. – Joe Biden underperformed.

    – John Edwards underperformed, too.

    Are either of these even possible?

  38. Listen closely to Mike Gavel – (http://www.gravel2008.us/?q=node/473). He is what the Democrats use to be. He may not have a chance in today’s bling world, but he speaks to my soul. And he will foster to a percentage of those fresh minds seeking hope, the reasoning that there are those who will always respect people over power.

  39. re: hrc’s temper, i had a drinking buddy who covered the white house for cnn during bush 1 and clinton 1. his take was that the public and private personae of barbara bush and hrc were exactly the reverse of the real thing- according to him, barbara was a total bitch to anyone who was one of the “little people,” while hrc was as sincerely nice as she could be to the lesser folk. that says nothing about how they treat their peers, but i wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that tape of hrc throwing a fit at underlings.

    that said, i’d love to see hrc as president only if the repubs take back congress. it will be a great circus, nothing will get done (libertarian’s dream), and we might finally get tired of dynasties. if the reps continue in free-fall, president giuliani versus speaker pelosi will be as entertaining as the sopranos.

  40. Go back up about 4 posts and read again the comments from Quiet Desparation. Debates should be based on actually answering the question…period. A panel of people that ask the questions would rate whether the question was answered or not. If not answered, then reduce that person’s time for future questions during the debate or if they answered the question then they get more time.

    It was brilliant, how can government keep out of my life? All of these candidates want to do is control everything….government does not have to be so big….let’s focus on government spending reductions and reducing the size of government….any candidate that runs on this policy gets my vote…

  41. Re Obama – I don’t see how anyone CAN claim Israel is truly one of our biggest allies. Unless you take ally to mean ‘someone whom we prop up with cash and get out of jams that they get themselves into.’ That’s not an ally – it’s a ne’er-do-well brother.

  42. “re: hrc’s temper, i had a drinking buddy who covered the white house for cnn during bush 1 and clinton 1. his take was that the public and private personae of barbara bush and hrc were exactly the reverse of the real thing- according to him, barbara was a total bitch to anyone who was one of the “little people,” while hrc was as sincerely nice as she could be to the lesser folk. that says nothing about how they treat their peers, but i wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that tape of hrc throwing a fit at underlings.”

    I don’t expect a tantrum at an hourly wage worker either, but she could still freak out on some interns or staffers, I suppose. OTOH, my view of her is totally third and fourth hand. Perhaps she’ll conduct herself famously.

  43. I find debates to be a waste of time. At best, they show how good a public speaker a candidate is and how quick he is on his feet. Honestly, though the former can be of some importance, neither quality is critical in a president. A president will have advisers, etc. He needs to be a good administrator and a good decision maker. Of course, I’d like to see some principles and some politics aligned at least somewhat with mine, but I don’t expect miracles 🙂

    Richardson is going to be the guy. He’s the only one with any substance at all, and he’s coming from the governor’s mansion. That’s like having a great defense in football–everyone hypes the other side of the ball up till game time, then defense ends up winning like it always does. Senators are losers when it comes to running for POTUS.

  44. Although irrelevant, Bill could succedd Hillary as president for 2 years. A president can serve for 10 years, allowing for a VP that becomes president two years into a term, then runs for the office twice. That’s the situation the idea was built for. I’m not sure how it would impact somebody who’s already used up 8 of the 10 allowable years and is running for VP. I think at some point it defaults to NCAA eligibility rules.

  45. I find debates to be a waste of time. At best, they show how good a public speaker a candidate is and how quick he is on his feet. Honestly, though the former can be of some importance, neither quality is critical in a president. A president will have advisers, etc. He needs to be a good administrator and a good decision maker. Of course, I’d like to see some principles and some politics aligned at least somewhat with mine, but I don’t expect miracles 🙂

    I find them to be a waste of time and don’t walk away from them pretending that they have any use in the political system, but as a political junkie, it is always fun to watch the circus of it all.

  46. We need a War on Politics. Who knows what these political junkies will do to get their fix? Electing more idiots is just the beginning, I’m sure.

  47. Barack Obama had the biggest gaffe of the night by not naming Israel as one of our biggest allies until being prompted.

    Remind me again which treaty it is that obligates Israel to come to our assistance when we’re attacked–you know, the equivalent of the North Atlantic Treaty for our NATO allies. Or maybe you’re using the term “ally” to mean something else, as Classic Movie Monsters suggested.

  48. Of course, the true face of the Democrat party (why won’t writers write that properly?), the Honerable Dennis Kucinich, is smeared in this article!

    And no mention of the strongest Democrat candidate, Albert Gore, Jr., who was absent from the bog Democrat infomercial.

    A Kucinich/Gore (or the other way around) ticket would be the greatest thing to happent to the Democrat Party since James Earl Carter III.

  49. “This doesn’t sound right, but is there anything preventing Hillary from picking Bill as her running mate?”

    The President and Vice President can’t be from the same state, according to the Constitution. That’s why Dick Cheney, who’d been living in Texas for years, went back to his Wyoming roots for the 2000 election.

    The ban on more than two terms refers to being elected.

  50. I don’t see how anyone CAN claim Israel is truly one of our biggest allies. Unless you take ally to mean ‘someone whom we prop up with cash and get out of jams that they get themselves into.’ That’s not an ally – it’s a ne’er-do-well brother.

    Wouldn’t that be most of NATO?

  51. Last sentence of the Twelfth Amendment:

    But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

    So no Bill, even if he lived in Wyoming with Cheney.

  52. On the subject of Bill becoming Prez again, the last line of Amendment 12 seems to preclude it:

    But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

  53. Yeah, what Jake Boone said.

  54. Yeah, the Constitution is even clearer on that point than it is about Washington, D.C.’s congressional representation. The whole “can Bill run again?” crap is just something lazy political journalists will be kicking around til he’s finally too old to run.

  55. That’s correct–it’s rather well established among Constitutional scholars that Bill’s done, but we’ll be hearing about it if Senator Clinton does well in the primaries. Of course, it would really twist people the wrong way for her to even hint that she might do that, so I expect it’s just talking head nonsense.

  56. Here’s how I saw the horserace:

    Win: Hillary
    Place: Richardson
    Show: Obama

    I think one has to pre-hate Hillary to say she didn’t come off as strong and decisive. She played loose with some facts (how long has she supported a timetable? Hmmm? Not the years she claimed), but generally spoke to the center.

    Edwards: you should sue the barber for follicle malpractice. Kucinich: Nothing inspiring until to thwacked Obama. Gravel: I tend to agree that soldiers who die in a war started under false pretenses and with no hope of a victory died in vain, but that phrase doesn’t sit well with people…at all. Dodd: oh, did he show up? Biden: Not bad, but he seemed restrained. Maybe that’s good, but I think he needs to take risks and be the Democratic straight talk expresser, not a yes-man.

  57. sigh. a different kind of bating.

    These debates would be a lot quicker, and easier to understand if all the candidates (while doing the bunny hop) would chant the mantra of Cletus, junior:

    “I’m gonna fuck all y’all”.

    sigh.

  58. Lamar,

    I have philosophical issues with Clinton, but I don’t have Clinton-Hate?. However, I find her a not very compelling candidate, and I think she’s going to flop surprisingly early. I don’t buy into the Richardson as quasi-libertarian theory, so I’m not hoping that he will win, but I do think he’ll be the last man standing.

  59. Obamamessiah: Forgot that Israel is an ally of the United States (but thinks that France is).

    Hillary: Richard Nixon with an Epilady
    (featuring Bill Clinton as “Checkers”: the moronic dog she won’t apologize for).

    John “The Breck Girl” Edwards: I haven’t seen hair like that since The Heat Miser in “The Year Without A Santa Claus.”

    Dennis: It’s as if The Keebler Elf had a twin (that finally escaped from the family’s attic).

    “Slow Joe” Biden: “No.”

    Bill Richardson: OK, now you’re just being silly.

    Mr. Gravel: I give up. Fred Flintstone’s union steward?

    The Dems top three candidates: a one term Senator, a one-term Senator, and a one-term Senator.

    Hillary’s negatives are higher than that of Congress (over 50%!). Once Obama passes Hillary in the polls (“hey, maybe she’s not inevitiable!”), The Clinton Smear Machine will really start in on Obama. Stay tuned!

  60. I respect and admire Hillary, but she’s a hawk and, being a woman and a negatively-perceived woman, she won’t fly in the general election. I think Obama’s the real deal, but a black won’t fly in the general. Of the three, Edwards is the most likely to win cause he’s a white, attractive male. But yuk. So I think Gore will step in after Hillary’s numbers fall even more. With his recent rise in popularity and chance to mellow since his last campaign, I think his chances are excellent.

  61. John “The Breck Girl” Edwards: I haven’t seen hair like that since The Heat Miser in “The Year Without A Santa Claus.”

    Nah. Its totally “Bobby Sherman Goes to Washington.”

    The Dems top three candidates: a one term Senator, a one-term Senator, and a one-term Senator.

    And the last time a Senator won a Presidential election was, what, LBJ?

  62. LBJ was president when he was elected president. The last to jump from the senate to the oval office was JFK.

  63. Republicans tend to say that they hope Hillary wins the nomination because they believe she absolutely cannot win the general election. I believe that they say they hope Hillary wins the nomination because if the GOP puts up another turd like Bush, Hillary would be less repugnant to them than any of the other Dems. No, they would never vote for her, but if a Dem is going to win, you’d want it to be somebody closer to you in policy, no? She’s not a hawk, but she’s also not a cowering flower of a wimp.

  64. “I have philosophical issues with Clinton, but I don’t have Clinton-Hate?. However, I find her a not very compelling candidate, and I think she’s going to flop surprisingly early.”

    Right, she forgot that she married her husband because he had the natural gift for politics she lacked. She hopes to steamroller her way through, and who knows she may, but I tend to think she goes into the election with a ceiling of possible support about five points lower than her own party’s, which is NOT a recipe for winning, even in a year very friendly to your party.

  65. Lamar,
    I think your first statement is correct and I think they’re right. They’ll float some calming Big Daddy type like Fred Thompson and it’s all over. And yes, I should have said hawkish.

  66. Lamar,

    I don’t agree with the idea that GOPers could live with Hillary. Hillary Derangement Syndrome is as strong among them as the Bush version is with Democrats. Whether it’s valid or not is another question, of course. Let’s not find out.

  67. Mackie, Pro Libertate: I really am trying hard to understand why the most conservative of the Democrats is the most repugnant to the GOP. It’s easy to say stupidity has allowed them to think personality is more important than competence and platform, but that’s too easy a cheap shot.

  68. Lamar,

    I don’t suggest the dislike is all rational, but I think I understand some of it. First, the nationalized healthcare initiative and some of her stuff in It Takes a Village came out as positively socialistic. Not a happiness-inducing trait for GOP folks, even today.

    Second, the GOP was not fond of Bill Clinton, as you may recall. Round Two does not appeal to them.

    Third, there’s the whole question of why this country can’t elect someone with a new name. I totally agree with that one–there must be something like 100 million eligible candidates out there not named Clinton or Bush.

    Finally, there’s the whole stink of corruption that surrounds her past. Maybe it’s all smoke and mirrors and Rovian rumormongering, but it’s widely believed, nonetheless.

  69. “Wouldn’t that be most of NATO?”

    “Forgot that Israel is an ally of the United States (but thinks that France is).”

    Right wingers spitting on soldiers who fought in our wars?

    Nooooooooooooo…Can’t possibly be.

  70. Lamar,

    Were you old enough to be politically aware in 1992?

    A couple of hippies – Vietnam War protesting, draft-doding, pot smoking, hairband wearing, maiden-name-keeping hippies – put an end to the Reagan Era by winning an election over his vice president.

    And then they spent practically a decade being made to look like fools as they chased after them Wile E. Coyote-style, and kept going “poof” at the bottom of the canyon.

    The Clintons have taken on the role, in the conservative mindset, of the embodiment of the other side in the kulturkampf. There are not enought spittle-flecked monitors in the world to capture the degree of hatred these people engender.

  71. Lamar,

    What Pro Liberate said, and I will add that her personality just hits so many, Left and Right, the wrong way. I think there’s some harsh mother/strict teacher vibe she strikes that people find intolerable.

  72. joe,

    Always recalling that Clinton, by and large, remained in power by being a Republican (the old version), albeit a very moderate one. How soon we forget. As a matter of pure political expediency, I understand how that happened–the GOP’s huge victory in 1994 made it clear that we wanted less government (“Era of big government is over!”).

    Not to worry–both the GOP and the public got over that notion 🙁 Interesting though that Lamar’s point really applied more aptly to Bill Clinton.

  73. Yes, I’m old enough to have voted in 1992. I’m really having a hard time putting the Hillary paradox (conservatives hating the most conservative candidate) in perspective. The more I talk and hear about it, the more it seems that conservatives are just angry pricks who can’t see past their own bile. Maybe that’s why they got roasted in the last election.

  74. Lamar,

    If it makes you feel any better, I think the ?ber hate that is the rule of the day goes both ways. Bush was pre-despised before he turned out to be actually God-awful. I’m reasonably neutral in this–a pox on both their houses, don’t you know–and I think that’s one of the big problems. Polemics and false dichotomies have reduced us to blind hate, even when the person we’re hating may not be quite as far off the reservation as we’d prefer to believe.

    Like I said above, Clinton was no hyper-liberal, and some of Bush’s domestic policies have been downright Democratic. Not that their opponents would ever admit that! Unfortunately, neither party cares much for reality or the facts. Better to just believe whatever you want to believe. It’s easier than dealing with real-world complexities.

    I’m old enough to have voted in 1984 🙂 And I did.

  75. PL,

    I can’t help but notice that there’s a flaw in your equation of the two.

    Hillary, we now know, was not the America-hating, leftist, feminist ideologue her “haters” accused her of being. She’s actually quite the pragmatic, centrist hawk.

    Bush, on the other hand…I mean, just look at the litany of disasters and crimes in the man’s wake.

    I recall reading time and time again that only people suffering from a mental disorder could think it was a bad idea to invade Iraq, or think that Bush is a bad leader.

  76. joe,

    Well, I daresay that Senator Clinton could be argued to be wearing protective clothing in her bid to be president. Frankly, I have no clue what she really stands for–one of the negative traits she shares with her husband–but I think she’s not necessarily the same person on the New York scene that she would be on the national one. Remember Bush’s compassionate conservatism?

    Honestly, I don’t know what she’ll be like if she gets elected. I don’t much like her; then again, I don’t much like any of the candidates.

  77. “Check out the lefty blogs, especially MyDD. They think Mike Gravel – whose brain I think I heard rattling around his skull – won.”

    That seemed very curious, so I clicked the link, and found that the sole comment on Gravel was this: “Mike Gravel is channeling a very angry activist. Rock out, Mike!”

    That’s it, with other comments on the other candidates.

    That clearly doesn’t in any way, shape, or form, indicate a belief that Gravel won the debate

    This loses you two points for inaccurate reporting, I’m afraid. (I’d say it appears to be outright distortion/falsehood, but presume it was merely sloppy writing, or editing, instead, that resulted in an unsupported estatement; maybe you had some other link in mind?)

  78. That seemed very curious, so I clicked the link, and found that the sole comment on Gravel was this: “Mike Gravel is channeling a very angry activist. Rock out, Mike!”

    Scroll down. I think Weigel is referring to the very, very excited commenters.

  79. “Hillary, we now know, was not the America-hating, leftist, feminist ideologue her “haters” accused her of being. She’s actually quite the pragmatic, centrist hawk.

    I wouldn’t go that far, joe. I think her feminist sensibilities are alive and well. And I’m pretty sure she’s still all for socialized medicine and other leftist agendas. I agree she is centrist and pragmatic as far as national defense.

  80. “Republicans tend to say that they hope Hillary wins the nomination because they believe she absolutely cannot win the general election. I believe that they say they hope Hillary wins the nomination because if the GOP puts up another turd like Bush, Hillary would be less repugnant to them than any of the other Dems.”

    I can’t believe Republicans believe she is less repugnant than the others. Most Republicans hate her with a passion. I have heard some say they would like her to win because she would be the easiest to win. Others don’t want her to win the nomination because that gets her too close to the presidency. She might just pull off an upset if the public is sick of the Republican’s wars and if there is a dip in the economy at the time.

  81. Not to say she won’t be pragmatic and open to compromise on social issues.

    Here’s an excellent analysis of her:

    http://www.alternet.org/story/46237/

  82. Never forget that HRC was a “Goldwater girl” and read Rand. Let’s hope she’s just been laying low and will reveal her true colors in
    Jan. 2009.

  83. “Mackie, Pro Libertate: I really am trying hard to understand why the most conservative of the Democrats is the most repugnant to the GOP. It’s easy to say stupidity has allowed them to think personality is more important than competence and platform, but that’s too easy a cheap shot.”

    From a Republican’s point of view there isn’t much difference in ideology between Hillary, Obama, and Edwards. They believe, like I believe, that she is really not a centrist, that she is just triangulating to try to make herself more appealing in the general election to moderates. Myself, with there not being that much difference between the three leading Democrat candidates, ideologically, I would take Obama over Hillary because of her past criminality. Honesty and integrity is important to me.

  84. “Never forget that HRC was a “Goldwater girl” and read Rand.”

    That’s unbelievable. Why didn’t Rand sink in? How did that Methodist youth minister have such an influence on her?

  85. Rattlesnake: not gainsaying your opinion, but would you prefer Kucinich to Clinton because he has been more steadfast in his views?

  86. Mike Gravel DID win. I am now behind him 100%.

  87. bill could succeed hilliary if he were vp, or speaker. he just can’t get elected president again, but the constitution doesn’t address other scenarios. it’s quite clear.

  88. Mike Gravel has guts and a facility with the truth. Calling a spade a spade on Vietnam, explaining the legislative tactics needed to overcome the President’s veto threat, pointing out that threatening first strike use of nukes is immoral, clarifying the incredible magnitude of our military expenditure, pointing out that the Iraqis want us gone and it’s arrogant to claim we can fix their country, getting emotional on Iraq when it’s long past time we did, … — Gravel is the real deal and deserves our support.

  89. Those closest to the lead, said the least.

    It is disgusting that little was said of Kucinich except crap like:
    “Dennis: It’s as if The Keebler Elf had a twin (that finally escaped from the family’s attic).”
    He was the only thoughtful and erudite speaker on the platform and he is virtually ignored except for a juvenile comment about his stature. Americans deserve an idiot like Bush, if they can’t see any deeper than that! It is frustrating to see someone intelllgently express all the priniciples that led to any greatness that the Democratic Party ever had and be dismissed so trivially.
    Gravel has the same good ideas, but unfortunately his frustration over the idiocy that everyone just accepts shows through. I bet Kucinich will eventually express the same anger and frustration. I am going to support who I know is right Kucinich and Gravel.

  90. It seems like the people posting is what IS wrong with America today.Everybody downs a man who has the balls to speak up and say the truth. You all may piss and moan about the system, but when somebody comes along that may be able to make change, you all call him an old quack, and make him out to be some kind of joke. Stupid, lots of stupid people will to remain as sheep. I suppose your next words will be “BAHH BAHH” I do not see many politicians out there saying that the old way is bunk and lets do something about it. So what if he is Pro choice, I have seen different post from people that will refuse to vote for him if he is pro choice. Do you need a politician making EVERY decision for you. Next they will probably ask if they should whipe their ass from back to front or front to back.
    My vote will go with who will Hopefully be our next president Mike Gravel.

  91. Gravel DID win the debate.

    Will somebody please explain to me why anybody who exposes the vicious murderous lies that pass for our “consensus reality” (on those oh-so-rare-occasions when such a critique is actually HEARD on the MSM) always immediately gets labelled a “kook,” a “crank” or – dog forbid – “unelectable?”

    (This latter epithet of course being at least a subconscious recognition that the president is the CEO to the military industrial complex as the Board of Directors, not the leader of a free, sovereign people giving their informed consent.)

    What the hell is wrong with the .1% of the people in this country who can still think?!

    What I heard was righteous anger spoken with precision and force against candidates and a political-economic-military system all-too-accustomed to letting uni-party, blow-dried, finger-to-the-wind, cardboard cut-outs get away with saying nothing whatsoever while sustaining the imperial program of endless war and corporate rapine.

    I liked it and I want to hear more and investigate him and his policy proposals further. Let’s hope TPTB don’t shut him out of the future debates.

  92. I dont know if everyone that posts on this page is just really ignorant or if gravels opponents have just been paying hundreds of people to slanger Gavel on here. because it should be obvious to anyone that he is the only candidate that is trying to help america-

    most important reason:

    why should the U.S. have nuclear weapons?
    no one should have them
    we shouldnt just tell people to get rid of theirs when we have more that anyone.
    we should set the example and get rid of ours first.

  93. Wow, someone linked to Reason!

  94. Gravel is no kook, why not do a little research into his background, this man did more for this country in 2 terms from alaska than anyone else on the stage has done, ever.

  95. All the negatives brought up on Gravel were immature superficial caricatures at best. It amazes me how myopic and narrow-minded you people are… note this magazine is called Reason… not Mind-Fart.

    Thank god for these latter posts by Larry, Erika, Stonefruit, Real Patriot & Yeah-Ok – i was getting really pissed-off and bummed-out over these shallow simpletons going on and on critiquing a bunch of scripted/coached phonies… when we had for once someone being boldly 100% real… bringing to light our sold-out congresses’ tap dance around the most pressing issues we currently face.

    Unfortunately Gravel will most likely be derailed before he can gather any momentum… thanks in large part to the combined lobbying corporate powers that fear the truth he so brilliantly delivered… also due to the large populous of ill-informed, gullible, phony fools who actively vote… some of which wasted my time here reading their weakly flawed mental-midget observations.

  96. I see you status quo FUCKING MORONS still don’t understand that you are totally lost. You might have well watched American Idol. Your fucking brains can’t handle more than soundbites. The height of the “American Dolt” is here to be found.

  97. Most of you probably aren’t aware of this, but Mike Gravel led a one man filibuster of the senate in 1971 (as a junior senator) for FIVE MONTHS that led to the end of the draft. This guy has courage, which I can’t say for the other candidates.

  98. Sir,
    I’m not sure if I’m “not like you” or not. But the person who spoke with the greatest clarity, vision and sincerity, was Mike Gravel. You can have you’re polished politicians that everyone wants to prop up to be more than they are. If you think that Mike Gravel is a lightweight in the political arena, or someone to be reckoned with, you obviously don’t know anything about him. I suggest you learn. I am currently in Iraq. I see what has happened here. I see the politics of it, and I see the truth. I’ve also read Mike Gravel’s “National Initiative” which he’s been working on for the last 30 years, and believe it to be one of the greatest works of political genius since the U.S. Constitution. Mike Gravel has inspired and motivated more young people, more veterans, and more people from previously different sides of the aisle than anyone I’ve ever known. The REAL people who don’t go to the main stream media and ask who their choices should be are actually paying attention and making their own decisions. Even if they have to get their coverage from a blogger. YOU are not mainstream, you’re just corporately funded.
    E I, U.S. Government Bodyguard, Baghdad, Iraq

  99. Ericka writes: “Everybody downs a man who has the balls to speak up and say the truth.”

    I assume you are referring to Dick Cheney?

  100. i think the majority choose candidates with the same simple surface criteria they used back in high school… and i see evidence in many of these posts that support this hypothesis. It’s the superficial packaging that is distorted with sophomoric exaggerations… the content of one’s performance/character/platform becomes irrelevant as they are blinded by their preoccupation with persona.

    Steve K – pointed out a perfect example of this with Kucinich – one of the best candidates… if not the best candidate we have had in precious elections & are fortunate to still have today… written off because he most closely resembles an “elf” being the shortest candidate (if i recall right he got the same reception last time he ran). Note: if Abe Lincoln ran today, i’m sure the populous would ignore his record and anything he had to say, instead focusing on how he most closely resembles a “wizard” being the tallest lankly homely candidate.

  101. The only way I can tell the Democrats candidates from the Republican candidates is by the color of their neckwear. Then an “old crank” comes along and uses REASON to ask the questions nobody else is brave enough to ask.

    Gravel, who was speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives before serving for 12 years in the US Senate says the reason they all look the same is because our legislative branch is fundamentally corrupted and both parties work for the same group of well-moneyed special interests: NRA, USCC, PHrma, NEA, AFL/CIO, AIPAC or any of the 30,000 other professional lobbyists in Washington. So he proposes expanding voter ballot initiatives from communities and states to the national level, thereby minimizing lobbyists and special interests from the issues that matter most to Americans. The pharmaceutical drug benefit for seniors would have been a far different law if it had been proposed by voter ballot initiative instead of being negotiated by the pharmaceutical and insurance industry lobbies.

    He says the tax code is similarly corrupted by hundreds of thousands of lobbyists over the last 60 years and needs to be scrapped for a system that can’t be used to give legislators power at the expense of the governed. So let’s switch to a simpler system that is transparent and resists manipulation. And, by the way, the only way you can wrest that power and control away from the house and senate is by a voter ballot initiative.

    Gravel, an Army veteran and former counterintelligence agent, reasonably points out that there is no victory possible in Iraq because there is nothing to win and the citizens there want us out, so let’s stop sacrificing our troops in a war that has no victory. 3,600 hundred dead and 50,000 wounded is enough.

    He asks why we need to threaten others with nuclear war and why we need to spend more on military procurement than the rest of the world combined. He asks why the military shouldn’t be sized for defense rather than projecting power into other countries, which should instead be the province of diplomacy and REASONABLE foreign policy.

    Gravel, who has himself been bankrupted by medical expenses (as opposed to, say, an environment activist who lives in a 12,000 foot mansion and flies in private jets), as happens to so many seniors, promotes the idea of a single-payer voucher plan so that health care decision-making is 100% in the hands of the individual and not the government. Seems like I remember this was proposed by the Republicans for schools.

    He argues that removing the burden of providing healthcare benefits from companies will make them competitive again and lead to more employment and more exports.

    Gravel, a Democrat, proposes tort reform to reduce the rate of inflation in health care prices and to end the practice of defensive medicine by doctors and hospitals. The lawmakers are all lawyers and will never vote for real tort reform, so you guessed it – a voter ballot initiative.

    Gravel REASONABLY looked at the Harrison Act and our war on drugs and that fact that we incarcerate more of our citizens than any other peace-time industrial nation and concluded that the system was broken and needed to be overhauled with a new ground-up approach. Again, given the cowardice of our elected respresentatives, it will require a ballot initiative.

    He thinks the government needs to spend within its means and not deficit-finance the present. He argues that we need to place real financial reserves against our social security insurance obligations. Of course the only way it could happen is a voter ballot intiative.

    More than just arguing for change, he has lived it. He was brave enough to stand toe-to-toe against Richard Nixon and end the draft (if you were never drafted, be sure and send Mike a thank-you note). He has spent the last twenty years working on a way to end the influence of the Washington lobbyists and he has come up with a real solution.

    Is that a cranky, crazy old man? Is that some humorous old coot waving at the kids from the front lawn? Only if your measure is how well a candidate can navigate the special interests that rule American political life – Gravel’s stance on the issues has something for every vested interest to hate and every American citizen to love. Mike spoke the truth he believed rather than what he thought people wanted to hear, and he approached each of these difficult issues with REASON rather than polling data.

    Well then we could use a cranky old coot as our chief executive. It is my sincere wish that people look at Gravel with REASON and not the superficial and vacuous sound bites that have dominated a forum ostentibly dedicated to reasonable thought. This brave, reasonable man has my support and my vote.

  102. Amen, Alan.

    Gravel only seems cooky to these nimwits because they’re so used to seeing the same old politicans with their straight-out-of-the-cookie-cutter, carefully phrased, pre-written answers. Just because he actually talks like a normal human being doesn’t mean he’s a nut. Wake the hell up.

  103. ‘Graveltational Paul’
    Congratulations to Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul for bringing life to what would otherwise be an election full of pro-establishment clowns.

  104. Oh wow, people freaking out over his use of “illicit drug use”. Because using those is “against the law”, does that really make it wrong? Or maybe our legal system may be a bit wrong…

  105. Thank you Alan S. WELL said.

  106. The reason you are not drafted in Iraq right now sir? Mike Gravel.

    One of the leaders to expose Nixon’s deception to the people? Mike Gravel.

    I have yet to see the media get any real dirt on this candidate? Maybe they can’t find any?

    Though you believe his ideals aren’t like you, they’re like mine. Stop assuming that everyone who reads your stuff thinks like you.

  107. Gravel wants to put power in the American’s hands through the National Initiative, wants healthcare to stop being a burden to the private sector, wants a fair tax.

    When you say “These people are different from you and me.” Do you mean people who want these things are not like you? 🙂 It’s a great way to polarize your sheep, but really, keep your mouth shut if you don’t have anything informed to say.

    Banter as usual.

  108. I can’t believe what I’m reading from half the comments on here. I thought Mike Gravel by far had the mosts honest and telling comments. What we got from all the other candidates was typical political fluff.

    – Gravel wants us out of Iraq.
    – Gravel isn’t using scare tactics to get us all worried about Iran getting a nuke (in ten years MINIMUM!)
    – Gravel is willing to admit, as a politician(!), that our government is being corrupted by the military-industrial complex
    – Gravel wants to put lawmaking in the hands of ME AND YOU rather than government officials who don’t give a shit about us

    Mike Gravel for president in 2008!
    http://www.gravel2008.us/

  109. Sneer and jeer at Mike Gravel all you want. I’ve never seen anything like the excitement he’s generating. 200,000 views on YouTube of his
    comments at the debates. His organizations has gotten so many checks they can’t handle or process them all. His websites and blogs have been more heavily visited than any other democratic candidate since the debate. Whatever he is, or whatever you call him, the momentum is growing.

  110. As a soldier currently in Iraq, who has seen with my eyes, and heard with my ears, the TRUTH of what is ACTUALLY going on here. I can assure you, that the most accurate nuggets of TRUTH spoken in that debate WERE FROM SENATOR GRAVEL. Too many Americans have been conditioned to deflect points of reason, and counter with critisizm. Open your eyes my fellow citizens. There are things here that you don’t know about, but if you want to know, the truth is getting ready to be revealed.

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