List: Rough Gravel

Three lessons from the 2008 campaign


In April 2006, former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel became the first official candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Two years and only about 25,000 votes later, he left the party to seek the Libertarian nomination. "I'm a classical liberal," Gravel said during an April interview. "All of those other candidates, they scared the hell out of me."

Gravel grumbled his way through every Democratic debate until October, when he was excluded because of his low totals in the polls. reason asked him for three lessons he learned from his experience as a major-party candidate.

1. Debates are unfair. "We haven't seen real debates. The debates have been designed to sell the anchors of the networks—not a debate between candidates. That final debate [between Clinton and Obama] in Philadelphia was a farce."

2. Little guys always get shafted. "Before I'd arrive at the CNN and MSNBC debates, I'd ask: 'Are you going to provide equal time?' They'd say yes. So why do you think I was so mad when they finally called on me? I was standing on the edge of the stage, getting no questions! How would you feel if you were being lied to and you couldn't go over and punch the guy who'd lied to you in the mouth?"

3. Democrats are bad news. "I was sucking up their air, so they wanted me out of there. I don't want anything to do with the Democratic Party."

NEXT: Out of the Frying Pan

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  1. Hold it…..

    2. Little guys always get shafted?

    3. Democrats are bad news?

    ….would someone please explain to me why he is still a Democrat? (and why it’s taken him this long to figure out THAT’s what too many Democrats are?)

  2. Hmm. Nice teaser, but where’s the article?

  3. jwh,

    Two years and only about 25,000 votes later, he left the party to seek the Libertarian nomination.

    Seems the D was misattributed. For some reason, only the Rs get tagged on a consistant basis in reason.

  4. Or, perhaps, the D refers to Sen. Gravel’s party affiliation at the time he left the Senate of the United States.

  5. How would you feel if you were being lied to and you couldn’t go over and punch the guy who’d lied to you in the mouth?

    I suddenly like this guy a lot more.

  6. Or the “D” one step above a failing grade?

  7. ed,

    Let’s leave my spelling out of this, k? 😉

  8. I’d like to see the less-evil Democrats identified by a D+.
    This is my movement and my cause.
    Who’s with me? Together we’ll retake America!

  9. LOL, Good one. Very nice indeed.


  10. ed,

    Okay, I am with you, but not thinking of any D+rs at the moment.

    Seems to be an empty movement for now 🙁

  11. How about Richardson, Guy? He’s easily a D+.

  12. CN,

    Idunno, maybe when considered in the set called D he could be a plus, on a curve.

    I think I will sit this out for a while.

  13. Richardson’s a D+, but that’s still failing.

  14. Nigel whips out grad school grading! Woot!

  15. I’d give Nancy Pelosi a D+ if only for her entertainment value.

  16. If Nancy Pelosi could only weld . . .

  17. Also her cup size. Now I’ll go and throw up.

  18. Nigel whips out grad school grading! Woot!

    I’m an undergrad, and D+ is considered failing at my school. Which is why my engineering 3.34 is OK, though not great.

  19. Doesn’t Mike have family? Why don’t they put him in a home. The more I hear from him, the more feeble-minded he sounds. He was a Senator for decades and he’s talking like he’s just noticed these things.

  20. Apparently many former D and R politicians begin noticing things only after they go L.

  21. I’ve always liked this guy, less for his positions than for his tendency to point across the stage during a nationally televised debate and say “every one of these people is corrupt and a liar!”

  22. Divvying up debate airtime according to mid-summer poll standings in the year before the primaries is ridiculous, and an affront to democracy.

    In debate after debate, no-hope long-shots like Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson were given major chunks of time, while candidates such as Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, who ended up faring much better in the actual primaries and caucuses, were relegated to the back of the bus.

  23. While I always like people who buck the establishment- the simple fact is that Mike Gravel was a crazy old man selling a platform no one was interested in buying- Democrats or Libertarians.

  24. “The Democrats don’t like me.” + “The Republicans won’t have me.” does not equal “I must be a Libertarian.”

  25. Has anyone else seen his video with Obama girl where he dances to Soulja Boy?

    Talk about bucking the establishment.

  26. I’d like to see the less-evil Democrats identified by a D+.

    ohmygod, that’s funny. Okay, I’m in but we need a D- designation too.

  27. gravel’s not a libertarian but i somehow would have felt less disgusted with myself voting for him in the general as the l’s nom then bob barr after this jesse helms thing. it’s like barr is activelly trying to get me not vote for him.

  28. Out of all the candidates, Gravel was the only one to have a proven record of coming down on the side of justice and proper government. He put his ass on the line, and delivered to the american people what they needed, and 30 years later he is rejected by the american political system.

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