Mike Gravel

Mike Gravel, Candidate for Mayor of Berkeley

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Mike Gravel, liberaltarian and reason subscriber (he and his lovely wife Wendy have confirmed this) is the third Democrat who'll appear on most Super Tuesday ballots. Until 1980, he was a senator from Alaska, so I wondered whether he'd be trying to score a delegate or two there.

Nope. He's in California today, giving a speech at Berkeley. And tomorrow, after the California primary, he's… still in Berkeley.

It's a pretty clear sign that what began as a wacky quest to push the National Initiative, then morphed into a quixotic anti-war presidential bid, has morphed again into a wacky quest to push the National Initiative and end the war. Which makes sense. If we got an up-or-down vote on it, we'd probably be out of Iraq. (We would probably also ban smoking and declare that the government planned 9/11, two reasons to be against national initiatives.)

NEXT: Matt Welch Talking John McCain on Demand!

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  1. How does he keep going? His campaign has to be broke.

  2. How does he keep going? His campaign has to be broke.

    Motel 6 and the dollar menu at Mickey Ds?

  3. I’ve enjoyed Mike Gravel’s existence in this race. And that’s most of what he’s done. Existed, and weirdly.

    Can we have a national initiative to ban ballot initiatives? Also, can we ban the Texas constitution, which requires ballot initiatives to change, and which must be changed to do things like “allow Hudspeth county to sell certain lands and to purchase other lands for the purposes of [I don’t even remember why, but seriously, do we need to ammend the fundamental charter of Texas government to allow individual land deals? Really?]

  4. I have a soft spot for Gravel ever since the peyote video.

    Still, National Initiative is a really bad idea.

  5. I’m confused, is he considered a “libertarian”? If so, why? He’s a socialist who believes in globalism and legalization for drugs. I wouldn’t say that’s “libertarian”, at least to my understanding. Economically he is socialist, personally libertarian?

  6. Can we have a national initiative to ban ballot initiatives?

    lunchstealer,

    You think you’re being clever, but if we try to ban ballot initiatives using the National Initiative it would morph quickly and uncontrollably.

    Before you know it we’d have President Hannah Montana. Given the competition maybe that’s not a bad idea after all.

  7. And Vice President Zac Efron.

  8. Before you know it we’d have President Hannah Montana.

    Yes, but imagine the Oval Office sexual shenanigans that would ensue.

  9. I was just looking on his website and economically at least, it is hard to see this guy as a libertarian.

    Here are some of his positions.

    Healthcare Senator Gravel advocates a universal healthcare system that provides equal medical services to all citizens, paid for by a retail sales tax (a portion of the Progressive Fair tax). Citizens would pay nothing for health benefits. For more information go here and here.

    Education: Parent education and access to preschool programs such as Head Start need to be expanded so that children from lowincome families are equally ready to benefit from elementary school. Universal pre-kindergarten would also enhance readiness.

    Social Security Senator Gravel wants to put real money, rather than borrowed money, in the Social Security Trust Fund. He advocates investing it properly and identifying the interests of individual beneficiaries so they can know what their retirement fund is and leave surplus funds to heirs.

    I am not sure about the social security one. It looks like maybe he is acvocating some kind of privatization but it also could be that he advocates a government run investment scheme, which when you consider the huge sums of money involved would basically nationalize a large portion of the the economy.

    He is also anti-NAFTA and anti-freetrade. The idea of national sales tax is pretty rights neutral. Of course it won’t be after he pays for all of the free education and healthcare he is promising. The taxes have to come from somewhere.

    Is it the case that if you agree with the Libertarians on a couple of things you are a Libertarian? Or is it the case that you only have to agree about the war in Iraq and the drug war to be a Libertarian even if you hold views against things like free trade?

  10. Brent AND John, BACK TO READING COMPREHENSION 101!

    NOW!

    LiberALtarian

    IT SAYS “liberALtarian.”

    IF YOU READ THE INTERVIEW LINKED TO, YOU WILL FIND OUT EVEN MORE ABOUT WHY THAT TERM WAS ASSIGNED TO HIM.

    WHY ARE PEOPLE APPARENTLY BEING TAUGHT HOW TO WRITE BEFORE THEY KNOW HOW TO READ?

  11. Fair enough. But frankly I defy you to find where Libraltarian is even a word.

  12. There are over 7,000 references to the word ‘liberaltarian’ on Google.

    However, they all point to Hit ‘n Run.

    > Fair enough. But frankly I defy you to find where Libraltarian is even a word.

  13. I don’t think pwned is a word, for that matter.

  14. @John

    I think you are mischaracterizing his positions a bit.

    On Health Care, he supports the voucher program written by BU Economist Laurence Kotlioff. It only provides bare bones coverage and works within the current system. It’s hardly a crazy single payer scheme.

    On education, he has constantly attacked teachers unions, something few Democrats would be willing to do.

    He is hardly anti free trade. When he came to speak at my school, his exact words were “trade isn’t the problem” and “I’m a world citizen first and a US citizen second.” Sounds like a cosmo alternative to Ron Paul.

    He wants to replace the income tax with a consumption tax as well as a tax on carbon emissions. He’s against the war in Iraq, the war on drugs, and the military industrial complex. He’s also a subscriber to Reason magazine. 🙂

  15. When he came to speak at my school, his exact words were “trade isn’t the problem” and “I’m a world citizen first and a US citizen second.” Sounds like a cosmo alternative to Ron Paul.

    Sounds to me like a tranzi.

    That sentence alone disqualifies him to be President of the United States. I mean, how would you like it if your CEO said “I’m a day trader first and an officer of this company second?”

  16. New slogan:

    “Because Fire Doesn’t Melt Steel… Or Gravel.”

  17. “That sentence alone disqualifies him to be President of the United States. I mean, how would you like it if your CEO said “I’m a day trader first and an officer of this company second?”

    Companies compete with each other. Trade and globalization are not zero sum games, they can make everyone better off.

  18. How about “I’m an American first and a Democrat second” or “I’m an American first and an Alaskan second”?

  19. Trade and globalization are not zero sum games, they can make everyone better off.

    Sure, but saying he’s a globalist first tells me that when the UN (or the Davos crew) says frog, he starts hoppin’, regardless of what’s in America’s best interest.

  20. Oh, sorry, wasn’t aware the word “liberaltarian” exsisted. Do you guys remember that study which stated most people read the beginning and ending letters of a word and usually don’t pay attention to the order in the middle, I guess that sorta happen to me, except an “al” was added on to it.

  21. Mike’s lovely wife is named Whitney.

    Some editorial respect, please!

    He’s sticking around Berkeley to address an 800 person PoliSci class, as well as an event afterward open to the greater Berkeley community. Those are audiences worth addressing, IMHO.

    Is RC Dean throwing a hissy fit b/c someone said “globalization” in his Ron Paul saloon? I swear, as though the world’s gonna survive with every nation burrowed in their own caves…

    no harm meant, but seriously.

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