The Bad Guy

Mike Gravel (Now With More Video)

Honestly, I thought the debate was a bit boring. But there was one shining, ultra-entertaining star…Mike Gravel. Here is a man with nothing to lose, who is unafraid to speak his mind and say what he believes. Did I agree with everything he said? Not by a long shot, but his performance made every other candidate seem less authentic.

His real moment in the sun came after the debate in an interview with Chris Matthews (who for some reason seemed fixated on the pearl necklaces on Mrs. Obama and Hillary Clinton…Yeah, I was a little skeeved out, too).

-Highlights-

-On the politeness of the debate: “I didn’t get as much time as the others and I was prepared to mix things up. I don’t know why we’re dancing around. The Congress in’t getting us out of Iraq.”

-Answering why none of the candidates are challenging the President on the war: “Because they’re running for office and it’s business as usual…They don’t want to want to rock the boat, so they keep on dancing around the issues…And they’ll keep on doing this as long as you in the media keep building them up.”

-Where has Sen. Gravel been since 1972? “Hiding under a rock!” He then went on to qualify that by stating that he was “So disgusted with the way the Congress worked I thought I was a failure. I didn’t know I had a record of ending the draft, of starting the nuclear critique, of creating the Alaska pipeline. You name it, my name was on all the major environmental legislation of the 70’s. But when I left office I felt terrible. When I got in I was an idealist and I was getting corrupted by the system…Thank God I lost and got out. And I didn’t come back. And what I did is ten years later I started to come into the concept that Americans should come in as lawmakers.”

-On Obama (and what we should do about the President): “Why doesn’t he filibuster the funding. Why doesn’t he go to [Harry] Reid and say What we gotta do is have a law, not a resolution…What you’ve gotta do is prosecute the President for disobeying the law!” Matthews asked about the feasibility of a law that would make a criminal of the President. Gravel seemed convinced that his tactics could work if he were still a Senator. I disagree. If Gravel were still a Senator, he would not be talking like he is today.

And that is the real problem. The only candidates with true guts tonight were the ones without any chance of success. . As much as I still have great respect for Obama, he did not do as good a job in the debate as I hoped he would. Though I still believe he is an amazing speaker and he acted every bit the statesman, he seemed a bit stiff…Compared to Gravel. Hell, even Kucinich seemed more full of energy than than Obama or Hillary.

That makes me sad.

It makes sad because men with this kind of passion do not become our leaders. Instead, we always settle for the safe, rehearsed choice and business as usual. And though I do not agree with Kucinich or Gravel many things, I know they are there to remind Americans that we have choices. We CAN choose to vote for the candidate who is not in first place, we CAN choose consider third or fourth party candidates…But we do not.

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April 26, 2007 - Posted by | Barack Obama, Chris Matthews, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, MSNBC, News and politics

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