Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mike Gravel Can't Get It Right

Mike Gravel Can't Get It Right

Remember Mike Gravel?

Oh, come on, who could forget? The former Alaska senator, who last won an election in 1974, made the early Democratic presidential debates much more entertaining, with his grouchy grandpa persona that made Dennis Kucinich seem mainstream.

Mad Mike resurfaced this week, getting involved in his third different party nomination battle in one election cycle. But his latest effort is likely to be as successful as his first two.

Gravel livened up the first 11 Democratic debates, making some valid points about the war and corporate power that were mostly lost under his get-off-my-lawn demeanor. But in October, Gravel was tossed from the debates like a rock into a pond. His departure from the Democratic race was announced in some news reports on caucus night, but was quickly and angrily denied. He did eventually leave the Democratic race, and the Democratic Party entirely, on March 26, saying "It is a party that continues to sustain war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism -- all of which I find anathema to my views."

Gravel then moved helter skelter to continue his presidential efforts under the Libertarian banner. In May, he finished a distant fourth place in balloting at the Libertarian convention (liveblogged at our sister site Colorado Independent).

This week, in an email to supporters -- or, at least, to curiosity seekers who signed up for his email list -- Gravel endorsed Green Party presidential candidate Jesse Johnson, an actor who ran for Governor of West Virginia four years ago.

While his party has changed (again), Gravel's rhetoric has not. "We've seen the havoc the two major parties can wreak on a global scale by locking out other voices, third-party voices. Both parties support war and American imperialism, which distract us from focusing not only on our domestic well-being, but also the world's well-being," Gravel writes in endorsing Johnson. "I want to lend my support to those voices that are committed to saving our country from our own shortsighted, greedy actions.

But Gravel appears to be out of luck again. Former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has already won enough delegates to next weekend's Green Party national convention to clinch the nomination.

The political world eagerly awaits Mad Mike's next move. My hope is that he'll endorse Ron Paul, who is still holding a handful of delegates for the Republican convention. That would make Gravel oh-for-four in one year.

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