Mike Gravel

The Coming of Mike Gravel

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I had a nice, long talk with former Sen. Mike Gravel in his Arlington, Virginia, apartment this afternoon, my water glass resting on a copy of The Cato Journal as he unspooled his plans for the Libertarian nomination fight. Gravel was adamant: He will not run for vice president if the party denies him the top slot.

GRAVEL: Who would I be a good vice presidential pick for? I don't know if the Libertarian Party has had, since its foundation—and I say this most modestly—a bigger fish. They'd had Ron Paul and Bob Barr: Two congressmen. Two congressmen do not make a senator. Four congressman, maybe, make a senator, but not two congressmen.

REASON: Except Alaska has two senators for one congressman.

GRAVEL: That's right, but we're talking about the powers of the Senate.

REASON: Bob Barr couldn't have read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record, for example…

GRAVEL: They'd have shot him!

That's Gravel's pitch: As a former senator with some notoriety, he can run up a record vote total for the party.

If they want to nominate another person who might not have any experience in government, then, fine. They'll be a one or two percent party. They won't be able to handle themselves with McCain or Obama. Obama will eat 'em alive. The Libertarians have been pushed down for so long by the extremes that they'd be happy with 3 or 5 percent. Well, I'm going to shoot for the top. I may fail, but if I aim high I'll get a hell of a lot more than 3 percent.

On whether he'd spoil the election for Obama (a question I didn't ask: he was rolling):

People say "You'll take votes away from Obama, you'll elect John McCain" … I got to tell you, I want to deprive both of them. If they have half the courage that they claim to have, if I get the nomination of the Libertarian Party they'll meet me in open field and debate. I'll tell you right now, they're both going to hide under the table until you get them by the scruff of the neck and drag them out.

You might ask: "Is this actually news?" As far as I can tell, the last 24 hours of the Dem-GOP race have been about the North Carolina GOP's obvious ploy to run an Obama-Wright ad and whether or not Jenna Bush will back McCain. The LP race is actually moving.

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  1. Four congressman, maybe, make a senator, but not two congressmen.

    How many Congressman make Voltron?

  2. I don’t think disparaging the House is a good way to become president.

    And secondly, I still don’t think Gravel is much of a libertarian. I’d probably end up voting for him anyway, but I’m afraid of the LP being diluted by people like Gravel.

  3. I said it before, I say it again:
    No fucking way should that pinko bitch get a decoder ring.

  4. Expect 90% of the future comments here to be attacking Gravel for not being Libertarian enough.

  5. How many Congressman make Voltron?

    26.5

    And before you ask, the critical half of the last unfortunate component is the top half. Life support is optional.

  6. reason sucks

  7. Technically, couldn’t you say that the House is the more powerful side of the legislature? After all, they’re the ones who have to introduce tax laws.

    And joe, it takes five Congressmen to make Voltron if they’re the lions, but thirty Congressmen to make Voltron if they’re the stupid little ships.

    Nephilium

  8. if… BIG IF… Gravel gets the LP nomination, he will do about as well as he did in the Dem primaries…

    Under 1%.

    His ego is astounding.

  9. Warren,
    Serious question, with the notable exception of Universal Healthcare paid for by a Sales Tax, what on his current platform qualifies him as a “pinko bitch”?

  10. bat. shit. insane.

    GRAVEL/BLUE-SKINNED GUY, 2008!

  11. My complaint isn’t that he’s not libertarian enough. It’s that he’s not libertarian AT ALL.

    What’s that? he had The Cato Journal on his desk?
    Well then I guess I’ll disregard his voting record.

  12. Gravel says he’d get a hell of a lot more than 3%. How much did he get in the democratic primaries again?

    I’m glad the LP is attracting people like Barr and Gravel. I’d much rather have them run serious campaigns for house/senate seats than a lackluster presidential campaign that attracts the usual low single digit vote percentage.

    Yeah, Gravel isn’t as libertarian as I would like, but I really don’t care about a LP candidate’s position on legalizing child porn. I want candidates who will focus their energy on issues where it’s actually possible to make a difference for the better.

  13. He strikes me as more of a civil libertarian than Bob Barr.

  14. Are there any porn stars that the LP could run? That sort of thing seems to work in Italy…

  15. Based on the title of this thread I was expecting something porn-related. Oh well . . .

  16. Based on the title of this thread I was expecting something porn-related.

    If I’d read the headline as porn related, I don’t think I would have read any further…

    Anyway, if Gravel showed that he was willing to listen instead of just talk all the time, I might be a little more positive. If a candidate is anti-WoD, and anti-War in Iraq, that goes a long way in my book. But Gravel does seem to forget that leaving people alone includes those times when their dealings have monetary consequences.

  17. My complaint isn’t that he’s not libertarian enough. It’s that he’s not libertarian AT ALL.

    What’s that? he had The Cato Journal on his desk?
    Well then I guess I’ll disregard his voting record.

    See my reservations about Bob Barr. I don’t expect any candidate to agree with me 100%, but I would like someting better than 5% on important issues.

  18. Are there any porn stars that the LP could run?

    Didn’t Erica Eleniak support Ron Paul? According to that Georgia asshat Broun, Playboy is porn, so she’d qualify.

  19. He’s good on guns and drugs, terrible on economics. Also, he appears to be joyfully insane. I like his style.

  20. To Gravel’s credit don’t most Democratic primaries have viability? On him not being libertarian enough, he’s not going to win. We don’t really have to worry about him implementing un-libertarian policies. If the libertarian party had Gravel-Paul as a ticket that could make some serious waves. Sure, they’re not perfect, but they would make a lot of noise.

  21. “The LP race is actually moving.”

    So do turds when you flush the toilet, and then they disappear. The LP is so fucking irrelevant everywhere but here in libertarian la-la land that a dwarf tossing contest would merit more news coverage.

    But do carry on with your deep analysis, fuckwits.

  22. If Gravel is a libertarian, does that make FDR an anarcho-capitalist?

  23. Hey Edward, please let us know when your next parade will be scheduled so we can turn on the Kochtopus weather machine in retaliation.

  24. haha. Bend Paul over the barrel only to get a hard-on for Gravel. Dave, you really do have your head up your ass. And Reason really does suck.

  25. Well, I’m going to shoot for the top. I may fail, but if I aim high I’ll get a hell of a lot more than 3 percent.

    Uhh, Mike, you may have already forgootten this, but I haven’t. You’re not even approaching the lofty figure of 3 percent.

    He’s like the crazy uncle. Harmless, but lives on a different planet than the rest of us.

  26. All I know is, if someone bent me over the barrel, I’d hope to God that any hard-ons they get aren’t for me.

  27. And, lest anyone question my libertarian credentials, I note that Mike Gravel isn’t worthy of being splashed with Ron Paul’s milk enema outflow.

  28. What a surprise, Gravel’s only real reason for running for the LP nominee is to gratify his own ego. What a shocker.

    That he thinks the LP will sacrifice its good name and nominate him for the slight bump in its percentage numbers is ridiculous.

  29. I’d like to thank Lee Brenn for giving me a new name to use, and I’d like to thank Reason, Weigel, the LP, and libertarians in general for yet another round of laughs.

  30. teribbly smart, there’s this thing journalists do called an interview. They like sit someone down and ask them questions, and record their answers. Uusally no hard-ons involved.

  31. haha. Bend Paul over the barrel

    Oh please. Paul bent his supporters over a barrel…where the fuck is the massive amount of money he raised? How do you act like such a honest little Christian and write about the swift-footed, welfare-loving blacks?

    Ron Paul is laughing at you as he injects 5 million bucks into his non-profit. Suckers.

  32. GRAVEL/BLUE-SKINNED GUY, 2008!

    outstanding!

    or, even better:

    KIDDIE-PORN LADY / BLUE-SKINNED GUY 2008!

    VIVA LA rEVOL-BLUEtion!

  33. I think the party of principle needs to stop considering watered down libertarians like Bob Barr and Mike Gravel. Though I admit I trust Gravel a hell of a lot more than Barr and it’s likely he’d accomplish a lot of the same changes someone like Ron Paul would. a Ron Paul-Mike Gravel ticket would be tolerable and smart.

  34. I kinda like the trend of politicans making careers for themselves in the two major parties, then when they get mad, joining the Libertarians. But why do only the crazy ones do it?

    Paul may not be actually crazy, but he just doesn’t have the sane style of most politicans. Why can’t the LP find anyone known who can just identify some problems/issues in an election year, and say the libertarian position is the way to go? Is it lack of media coverage, or maybe the libertarian masses (lol) are WAY too picky?

  35. I think the party of principle needs to stop considering watered down libertarians like Bob Barr and Mike Gravel.

    Yes, exactly… because they’ve had such incredible successes with hard-core libertarians like Badnarik, Browne, and Marrou…

    Brilliant!

  36. On him not being libertarian enough, he’s not going to win. We don’t really have to worry about him implementing un-libertarian policies. If the libertarian party had Gravel-Paul as a ticket that could make some serious waves. Sure, they’re not perfect, but they would make a lot of noise.

    That’s the way I look at it. While he isn’t going to win, he might at least help build the brand name. If he can get the party some mainstream cred, it might create a halo effect that would help elect some actual libertarians.

    Brand names count. The Dems and the Pubies could run pet rocks for office, and they’d still get votes based on having an R or a D after their names…..

  37. Pig Mannix,
    That’s exactly my point. I read Heinlein all throughout my childhood, but the only experience I had with the libertarian party was when the Daily Show had the blue guy on as a joke. The libertarian party needs to get out there and get some exposure, even if the candidates aren’t the best representation of the true ideals of the party. For example if we get a ticket like Gravel-Paul, then everytime someone googles the ticket they can find every hardcore libertarian explaining how these candidates aren’t really libertarians, but the important thing is that people will be looking into the libertarian party at all.

  38. J.R.

    Right, and with just a little research, they’ll discover Ron Paul’s racist newsletters and Gravel’s talks at Holocaust denial events and assume that libertarians are Holocuast-denying racists. Sounds like a recipe for success to me.

  39. I’d really like to see a Barr/Gravel ticket, it would send a message that the LP is willing to be more pragmatic and less zealotously dogmatic. For a school of thought so grounded in economics, we are horrible bargainers. We ought to be building political capital and using it to get get concessions from the major parties on the big libertarian issues, instead we obsess over ideological purity and finding the perfect libertarian, and we accomplish nothing.

  40. Fuck Reason, Fuck you Weigel, and Fuck Mike Gravel.

    Ron Paul r{EVOL}ution FOREVER!

    And please stop calling me asking me to re-subscribe, assholes!

  41. I like Ron Paul, I admire him, I admire the fact that throughout his congessional career he stuck to his principals, but he can’t blame anyone but himself for the newsletters, or for the coverage they got after the story broke.

    Either he knew or he didn’t, if he did, then he allowed racist bile to go out under his name to help his fundraising, and now he’s reaping the consequences. If not, then he was negligent to a staggering degree, and is now reaping the consequences.

  42. Run Mike Run!

    Mike Gravel would be a terrific nominee for the Libertarian Party for President, or Vice President.

    Senator Gravel would make an excellent fusion nominee for both Libertarians and the Green Party. Grow both parties toward nations third Major Party

  43. Mike Gravel and Ron Paul on the same ticket could win both the Libertarian and Green Party nominations!

  44. http://www.votejoinrun.us/

    man, I thought some of the LP candidates were a bit odd, but you guys put us to shame…!

  45. Gravel would be the best thing that ever happened to libertarians in this country – *note small l* -it would be the end of the Libertarian Party, and then those libertarians could once again go back into the two parties and attempt to influence policies there. That’s the best hope in our two-party system.

  46. He’s good on guns and drugs, terrible on economics.

    One interesting thing about Gravel is that he takes economic positions that aren’t really libertarian, but are less statist than the standard lefty stances. He talks about replacing the IRS with the “Fair Tax,” replacing welfare programs with a Milton Friedman-style guaranteed income, delivering socialized medicine via vouchers. He’s clearly trying to figure out ways to reach liberal ends without empowering big bureaucracies.

    Obviously that doesn’t make him a libertarian, and some of those ideas aren’t all that good even as intermediary steps to laissez faire. But it does suggest he’s moving in a libertarian direction, just as Barr still carries some conservative baggage but is moving in a libertarian direction. So for all his dotty notions, it makes sense for the broader libertarian movement to be welcoming towards him, whether or not he’d make a good presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party.

  47. Reason was very lukewarm in their “support” of Ron Paul even before the Newsletter story broke. However, their obsessive bashing and smearing of Ron Paul when the newsletter story broke was really over the top. It was as if they were watiing for a reason NOT to support Ron Paul.

    After a year of subscribing to reason, I have realized several things:

    1) They are globalists.
    2) They support the Federal Reserve.
    3) They are obsessively against the war on drugs, yet range from silent to lukewarm opposition to even a few articles IN FAVOR of the war in Iraq.
    4) They seem to be obsessively focussed on sexual freedom, yet give far less coverage to more serious threats to our liberties, such as the patriot act and torture.
    5) They seem to think you can’t be a libertarian if you are pro-life.

  48. “Obviously that doesn’t make him a libertarian, and some of those ideas aren’t all that good even as intermediary steps to laissez faire. But it does suggest he’s moving in a libertarian direction, just as Barr still carries some conservative baggage but is moving in a libertarian direction. So for all his dotty notions, it makes sense for the broader libertarian movement to be welcoming towards him, whether or not he’d make a good presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party.”

    The truth we need to realize is that we will never have true Laissez-Faire economics in America, the electorate is not willing to let go of entitlements, but we might be able to convince a significant portion of them to accept less bureaucratic solutions. As I said before, if we keep focusing on idealogical purity, we accomplish absolutely nothing for economic or social freedom.

  49. Why are people comparing the Democratic “primary” to a future general election? The Democratic elites controlled the system, cut him out of the debates, and altogether rejected him, no wonder he got 1%, its a miracle he got any votes with that situation.

    But just because the DLC and the Democrats rejected him doesn’t mean that the American people will. Put him with the Libertarian party and he really can make waves and get in the debates- and once he’s in the debates its anyone’s game.

  50. Well, Erica Eleniak as the LP Presidential candidate would certainly dispel the LP’s old fogy image with campaign mailers featuring pics like this

    P.S — NSF

  51. Prole- She got my vote!

  52. After a year of subscribing to reason, I have realized several things

    That it’s possible to subscribe to a magazine without ever actually reading it? Most of us realized that long ago…

  53. Did anyone else notice that Gravel uses “they” to refer to the party instead of “we”? Talk about a carpetbagger.

  54. However, their obsessive bashing and smearing of Ron Paul when the newsletter story broke was really over the top.

    Damn, I am really sick of this. Would you please quote something that “bashed” Ron Paul? They reported the newsletters, as they damn well should have.

    I can guarantee you Reason’s take on the whole issue was a lot kinder than the wider media would have been had the story broke nationally.

    You can bury your head in the sand, or any other place you want – had Paul actually done something in the primary, the newsletters would have been a huge story. Combined with the Don Black (or whatever his name was) donation fuss, it would have been a lot uglier than you and the other Paultards apparently realize. And all it would have done would be to discredit those who believe in freedom.

    Full disclosure: I voted for Paul. In fact, I changed my registration to Republican to vote for him. However, the constant puling of idiots who believe the reporting of fact is some sort of betrayal is almost making me wish I hadn’t.

  55. Penguin, You are correct. Ron Paul’s friends did him no favor, like Lew Rockwell and Jeffrey Tucker. If they were really has friends they would have been men enough to take the blame for the letters and help distance those letters from Paul One things of what Warren G. Harding once said during all his presidental scandels, “I can handle my enemies, it’s my god damn friends that keep me walking the floors all night.”

  56. Andrew – good quote. One thing I personally found funny was that all the Rockwellians were claiming the newsletters to be no big deal, yet apparently the writer of the worst comments didn’t think so, because he refused to come forward.

  57. Gravel should get over his goddam self. Putting in a VP run would enhance his to-date lack of credibility with the party. As much as I deplore the ideological purity of the child-porn/privatize the roads LP, it isn’t the Constitution Party or Green Party.

    I suspect Mike Gravel could do some good for the LP. But not with the big attitude he’s bringing.

  58. teribbly smart, there’s this thing journalists do called an interview. They like sit someone down and ask them questions, and record their answers. Uusally no hard-ons involved.

    I think though if they are not getting a hard on they are not doing it right.

  59. svf-

    Yes, exactly… because they’ve had such incredible successes with hard-core libertarians like Badnarik, Browne, and Marrou…

    Hmm– I voted for Ron Paul in 88, Marrou in 92, Browne in 96 and 2000, and also Badnarik 04 – thus, while you may hope that nominating an unknown leftist fucknozzle will somehow attract more votes to the “Libertarian Party”, I can only believe this will just lose them another “solid” vote they’ve had for 20 years… like mine.

    Libertarian Gravel ’08- Setting the Record for Irrelevance!

  60. prolefeed-

    Well, Erica Eleniak as the LP Presidential candidate would certainly dispel the LP’s old fogy image with campaign mailers featuring pics like this

    I wanna show her my “Southern Strategy”!

  61. Are there any porn stars that the LP could run? That sort of thing seems to work in Italy…

    For some reason, Norma Jean Almodovar comes to mind.

  62. I wanna show her my “Southern Strategy”!

    I’d Plunkitt in her Tammany Hall!

  63. prolefeed:

    Nice. Creepy, soulless expression aside, I mean.

  64. I hate to say this, but Edward/Lone Wacko, etc. are right.

    Gravel is a socialist, an egomaniac and a nutjob. He is not a libertarian by even the most liberal of definitions. Sorry, but it is ridiculous to think he’d make a good candidate, and will do far more damage to the libertarian movement over the long term.

    One of the bedrock issues of libertarianism is property rights, and if his economic positions are libertarian, than “libertarian” means nothing.

  65. Agree w/Taktix. At the NPR presidential debate, Gravel attacked other Democrats(!) for being too concerned with American(!!) interests in their foreign policy proposals(!!!!!)

  66. Ron Paul supports pro-life policy. Since when is supporting increased government intervention on personal choices part of libertarian philosophy? Isn’t more government involvement what the liberals want?

  67. Talking about libertarian candidates for president is like listening to my staff talk about what they plan to do when they win the Powerball lottery. The lottery is a tax on people who can’t do math. The LP is a social club for people who can’t do politics.

  68. I wish Reason would stop giving this guy press. At best, the guy simply isn’t a libertarian, unless that has been defined down to mean: “moving in the direction” of less-socialist policies plus shrill opposition to the war.

    At worst, the man is actually a lunatic.

    In between, he’s clearly susceptible to any suggestion that fits his conspiratorial worldview. Take the jaw-dropping Helter Skelter video. Aside from its surreality, it’s really pretty despicable propaganda. Whoever among his staff/handlers pieced that together used all kinds of out-of-context footage, including a great deal of demonstrably faked footage produced by Hezbollah during Israel’s attacks a couple of years ago.

    This batshit stuff matters. If Reason dismissed Gravel half as haughtily as it did Badnarik, we’d never hear about him again.

  69. I stopped liking Gravel as soon as I read more about his sponsorship of the “National Initiative for Democracy”. It’s basically a direct democracy law that would pretty much undermine all checks and balances as well as the Constitutional protections for liberties–and there’s nothing more unlibertarian than the tyranny of the 51%.

    Oh and the gravelistas spammed all the videos of the libertarian debates I put up on youtube. It was a combination of direct democracy fapping, anti-capitlist, and troofer paranoiac crap. The Birchers that I met on the Ron Paul campaign are a bastion of sanity by comparison.

  70. I dont know, I recently read a book on the Pentagon Papers and the Vietnam War and it seems that when everybody else in the Senate and Washington was a bunch of pussies – – Mike Gravel stepped up to the plate big time and helped end an intractable war that had little support from the local population. Sounds mighty familiar.

    Of course, this says nothing about his overall political philosophy and there already is the anti-war Ron Paul to vote for. But, having him in the debates trashing Obama/Hillary/McCain might be worth the 2% vote he gets and the swallowing of some pride. Bobb Barr strikes me as too cordial. Too lawyerly. This election needs a psychopath to berate the establishment candidates and I think we can all agree, Mike Gravel, the guy who told a group of students at a high school that smoking pot was better than drinking alcohol if they wanted to “trip out”, could be that guy. Plus I know AIPAC hates him. Thats gotta count for something around here (note, i am talking about their interventionism and warmongering, not anything kosher related.)

  71. I don’t worry about Gravel winning the LP nomination. He’s the only one that thinks he’s more credible than Barr. Maybe credibility comes with changing parties in the middle of your campaign?

  72. Perhaps he would’ve been better served joining the “Connecticut for Lieberman” party?

  73. arete-

    Since when is supporting increased government intervention on personal choices part of libertarian philosophy?

    Is the Gov’t not allowed to intervene when a “human” is being murdered?

    Show me any law that prevents a woman from voluntarily choosing to kill her ’31st week’ “fetus” tomorrow…

    Meanwhile, I was born in the 30th week of my mother’s pregnancy- in 1964. Why should my passage through a vagina be considered the sole definition of my ‘humanity’?

  74. Gravel is a staunch defender of personal liberties and a proponent of the National Initiative, which will give we the people the power to make laws at all levels of government, irrespective of party.

    Whatever other issues you may disagree with him on, when we’re out of Iraq and the Patriot Act is repealed and the National Initiative is passed, you’ll have the power to vote your own way. He is trying to give that power to the people, how can a Libertarian argue with that?

    Unless the Libertarian plan is to magically take office based on an extremist platform, and then immediately force their views on everyone else?

    I think a moderate (but an extreme civil rights advocate) that gives power back to the people is a good first step towards a more Libertarian way of life.

    Shawn

  75. Why does Gravel as the socialist he is not try to get the SP presidential nomination?
    Seriously a guy who wants to EXPAND governement control in many areas is NOT a proper LP candidate.
    This guy can if his socialist followers take over the LP mean the end of the LP and mean yet another socialist hijacking of a previously noble term (first “liberal” now “libertarian”).

    Here in Europe the word liberal has thankfully not been hijacked by the socialist-camp but still stands for not only the fight for personal but also economic freedom including keeping the government small.

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