Gravel on Palin

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Former Senator Mike Gravel (D, AK) seemed to me to be the worst of the Democratic candidates for the 2008 presidential nomination. It amazed me that anyone could make Dennis Kucinich look anywhere near mainstream, but Gravel did exactly that. He said the most extreme things in the most extreme ways against both Bush and all the Republican candidates (except perhaps Ron Paul), but he also said them about the leading Democratic contenders. It therefore surprises me that he doesn't extend that to his governor, Sarah Palin.

He doesn't agree with what he calls her theological views. He probably wouldn't ever vote for her. But he says McCain made a good choice. He says Troopergate's going to come out in her favor. The guy should have been fired. He says she's got more executive experience than Obama, McCain, and Biden combined. She doesn't satisfy his ideology, but Gravel notes that McCain's entitled to someone whose ideology doesn't reflect Gravel's ideology. He says she has the courage to stand up to Republican corruption, and he has the objective recognition of that at face value rather than running around talking about Troopergate or children's misconduct.

The interviewers couldn't handle this. They suggested his statements were because of an animus against Obama because Obama beat him for the nomination, as if Gravel ever thought he'd get the nomination. Once he starts talking about Democratic support for American imperialism, the interviewers decide to cut off the conversation. Perhaps their time had run out, but I wouldn't be surprised if they just didn't know what they were going to be in for. They do start the interview asking him to give them the dirt on Palin by talking about things we don't know about her, so it's not surprising that they were upset that he didn't deliver.

But think about his message. Gravel is almost libertarian in some ways. Palin has a libertarian streak that she doesn't apply consistently, because she's got other competing moral principles that sometimes win out. He's a contrarian who doesn't like what either party is up to. Palin took on her own party in several ways and won. He appreciates that. While he certainly doesn't agree with a lot of her views, many of which I share with her, I can see exactly what he appreciates about her and why he respects McCain's choice as more than just pragmatically useful for McCain and the GOP. He actually thinks McCain picked one of the best candidates among the choices he had within the GOP. When you keep in mind what really drives him, that shouldn't be as surprising as it at first sounds.

2 Comments

Thanks for the link.

As you mentioned with the way the interview started they must have been pretty disappointed. They kept the same tone through the first few questions questions (what don't they want us to know, what about her lack of experience) but then quickly had to move to a more defensive stance. It was interesting.

I suppose they prepared a set of questions based on the assumption he was a normal democrat (and thus a hater of Palin) and were reluctant to go free form with their interview. If they were better at their jobs they would have asked him a question or two before he turned up regarding his opinion rather than just making assumptions - then again, maybe Gravel likes messing with interviewers.

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