Friday, October 12, 2007

Candidates at Google: Mike Gravel

Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK, 1969-1981) may have felt like a "potted plant" during the YouTube debate, but during his visit to the Googleplex Wednesday he was the center of attention. Senator Gravel became the sixth presidential candidate to visit (following Ron Paul, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Bill Richardson and John Edwards).

Google's Andrew McLaughlin wasted no time getting to the heart of Gravel's candidacy: his fervent opposition to the war in Iraq. Out on the campaign trail, Gravel is quick to mention his 1971 one-man, five-month filibuster that helped end the draft during the Vietnam War, but few have noticed that during Gravel's 1968 campaign for the Senate he ran a television ad opposing withdrawal. McLaughlin played the ad, and Gravel answered with a discussion about his political past and how he has changed. "That young man was very ambitious. This young man is very mature," he said.

While Gravel has made Iraq the center of his campaign, it didn't take long to discover that his true passion is his proposal for a national ballot initiative. Here in California we've had the ballot initiative since 1911, and it's safe to say we've had mixed results. Gravel assured Googlers that his national ballot initiative would be different because it would limit each initiative to one subject and cap the number of words at 5000.

Gravel wants to empower citizens to make laws, and he also wants to empower them to use currently-controlled substances (which could be an problematic combination). He said he supports ending the war on drugs and treating drug abuse as a public health problem. If he was president, he would allow marijuana to be sold "at the liquor store," while requiring a doctor's prescription for hard drugs like heroin and crystal meth. (He also gave a surprisingly detailed report on his own recreational drug use, which involved his son-in-law and ... you know, I'm not even going to try to summarize the story. Check the video.)

If Gravel's comments seem a little unusual for a presidential candidate, well, they are. The former Senator is running a unique campaign with limited funding. He has called his political opponents "gutless wonders" and published a popular video to YouTube in which he stares into the camera for one minute before dropping a rock into a lake. He expressed his appreciation to YouTube and the Internet for empowering him to get his message out.

Here's the complete video of Senator Gravel's town hall meeting:

Senator Gravel also sat for an interview with YouTube's Steve Grove, with the questions posed entirely by YouTube community members:


Shawn said...

Senator Gravel is the only meta-candidate running. The other candidates are making the usual promises, but he actually wants to change the system so people don't have to depend on promises.

The fact that he represents the people's will on the Iraq war, the drug war, unfair taxation, universal health care, etc. are only icing on the cake. The real issue is will things fundamentally change in a way that will stop us from repeating the same old mistakes again and again. With Mike's National Initiative, I think the answer is yes.

paul said...

Mike Gravel is the most powerful speaker among all the candidates, presenting unprecedented solutions to the nations problems as well as a great insight into government workings and hypocrisy in politics and govt. He is right on on all the issues like energy=wind power, drugs=end drug war, etc, etc.. He is so sharp and clear minded and easily understood unlike the others who say nothing. Just like resolving palestine/israel mike is not afraid to speak the truth about the reality of the hipocritical stance of the US protecting the bullies. How refreshing is Mike who is like the ultimate referee, he is just interested in the human race and not about any particular affiliation or sect. What a wonderful guy with a humane way of being. Certication of his stace is that every child can cide with Gravel on the issues. The only reason the establishment is where it is is because the pundits working for the special interests disect and confuse the people and push for wars and policies that do nothing for us but present a situation of doom and gloom. Mike presents hope and happiness. If the American people listen to Oprah for who to vote for or the news for that matter they are being led to their demise just like the story of the pied piper or sheep to their slaughter. After all these stories were told for their resouding truth and warning to the generations. But the American people have been dumbed down by hollywood,and the unjust hypocritical American way. Only here do we have slurs for every nationality and yet we call ourseves the most just etc, etc. This is hypocrisy, and the presidents they elect are a result of this, why then did they elect a religious nut which is a hard truth to swallow but true, and only Gravel had the guts to say this. Should not the contest be about the tough love that Gravel inflicts on Americans. HE is doing a great service in educating Americans as they are in a dire need of some education and this opinion resounds around the world no matter how the pundits defend the american bestness Gravel exposes its worstness and it is true and you can not deny it because it is flagrant now, not some insinuation like all they are able to do in the media.

paul said...

On top of that if you had fair information, would that not say that disseminating art and design culture outside the corrupt museum and gallery structure, would that not inspire other cultures to compete and imitate and gain respect of other cultures and do the thing that Bush want's to do with war. You don,t need war and I am sure any think tank can tell y ou this unless you are being invaded. Terrorism is a police thing as you can not proove who is the terrorist an army you can prove. So art and design can instigate a renaissance which can promote peace, understanding, renaissance, and well being, I can not understand what a war can do for a country except in defense. The USA is strategically located no country can get over here to take over, so what is the war for except for some suspicious and ambiguous cause. Gravel is right on and he is the most creative of all the candidates. You see videos of him getting involved in indiginous ceremonies. He is like a Daniel Boon, or a Dali Lhama open to people of all kinds and creatively adn intelectually superior to the pack.