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Favorable or Unfavorable #354: Mike Gravel


Favorable or Unfavorable #354: Mike Gravel  

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  1. 1. Did you read my first comment?

  2. 2. Favorable or Unfavorable #354: Mike Gravel

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Sen. Mike Gravel (AK-D) is one of the weirdest politicians ever. A definition of a loose canon. Sometimes I love the guy and sometimes he crosses the line. Total loose canon. 

Regarding 1972, he has the unusual boldness of nominating himself for VP, then crying at his own words about himself, then sounding like he's about to withdraw his own nomination, but ultimately not. 

I first remember him in 2008 as an old man running for president. He rarely got to speak during the debates, but his opposition to warfare and promostion of expanded democracy appealed to me. Unfortunately, most of the debate was him complaining about being ignored on the side of the stage "like a potted plant." He dropped out and joined the Libertarians, which upset me because it doesn't make sense for a social progressive to join a party that is most opposed to social progress legislation. In 2020, he was so old that he had teenagers running his campaign, mostly via Twitter. He almost made the debate stage, which I wanted to see, although I knew I wouldn't vote for him. I just to see him talk. After he dropped out, he endorsed both Sanders (good) and Gabbard (bad), and used most of his remaining energy to attack Biden. His Twitter account was in full bomb-throwing mode, although that may have mostly been the teenagers running his account, who knows. 

His actions:

Gravel, Mike 1969 Enters US Senate as a major opponent of Vietnam War
Gravel, Mike 1969 Shocks some by supporting Nixon nom Haynesworth for the SC, only non-Southern Dem to do so
Gravel, Mike 1970 co-sponsors Guaranteed Min Income bill
Gravel, Mike 1971 Makes Pentagon Papers public
Gravel, Mike 1971 Calls for full recognition and normal relations w/ China prior to Nixon admin's overseas trips
Gravel, Mike 1972 Supports Muskie for pres
Gravel, Mike 1972 nominates self in convention speech for VP at Dem Conv in weird speech
Gravel, Mike 1974 Supports Nader's campaign against nuclear power
Gravel, Mike 1980 Defeated for reelection to US Sen not long before divorce due to his marital affair
Gravel, Mike 2008 Dem pres cand; switches to Libertarian in failed bid for their party ticket
Gravel, Mike 2008 Defends Sarah Palin, but votes for neither McCain or Obama
Gravel, Mike 2010 Returns to Dem Party
Gravel, Mike 2016 Supports Bernie Sanders for pres
Gravel, Mike 2020 Dem pres cand at nearly 90; endorses both Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard after dropping out
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It makes me sad to say unfavorable, but I can't support bomb-throwers or mega-attention-seeking politicians, even if they're bold enough to promote some great progressive policies such as expanded democracy, guaranteed minimum income, and opposition to unnecessary wars. This is especially the case when they're proposing laws but not getting them into law. A bomb-thrower isn't trying to reach for middle ground, compromise, or coalition. They expect the votes to come to him, which isn't how it works.

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Gravel seems like someone obsessed with himself, and obsessed with getting attention. It’s surprising that you didn’t include his touring of college campuses during his time as a Senator - I think he spent more time touring than he did legislating. Some of his actions - especially supporting Haynesworth - makes me wonder whether his progressivism is earnest, or if it was just a way for him to get attention. One thing that makes me uncertain of that conclusion is just how consistently anti-interventionist he was throughout his career, when a lot of other attention seekers like McCarthy or Gabbard will shift their positions to be more congruent to getting attention.

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