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Gravel on Iraq
April 28, 2007 5:25 PM   Subscribe

"Tell me, Barack, who do you want to nuke?" Senator Gravel keeps them honest in the democratic debate
posted by petsounds (151 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Or, uh, makes a mockery of the deliberative process. Your call!
posted by louie at 5:29 PM on April 28, 2007


"I'm not planning on nuking anyone today" -- Barak Obama.

Now here is a great Mike Gravel moment. Not only does he support gays in the Military, he thinks it ought to be encouraged. (Or at least he thinks gay sex would improve our fighting force)
posted by delmoi at 5:36 PM on April 28, 2007


That was a bullshit performance by former Sen. Gravel. He takes one statement by Obama, extrapolates what is could mean and interprets it in the worst possible light without any circumstantial evidence supporting his interpretation, and then springs it on Obama at the debate in a conclusive manner and in a rude and presumptuous way. You consider that "honesty"? Kucinich can play the same outsider role and he usually keeps it sincere and honest and doesn't sound like a raving loon when he speaks.
posted by Falconetti at 5:37 PM on April 28, 2007


French-Canadian immigrant parents.

*ducks*
posted by phaedon at 5:38 PM on April 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's too bad somebody a little bit more articulate and less frothy couldn't have made (most of) the same points. He had me, then he lost me.
posted by facetious at 5:38 PM on April 28, 2007


Is this the best Democratic debate FPP we're going to get? In that case, I'd like to register my disdain at the question about hedge funds. "Do hedge funds make America any better in any way?" What the hell does that mean?
posted by Firas at 5:38 PM on April 28, 2007


Gravel with Chris Matthews after the debate.
posted by phaedon at 5:40 PM on April 28, 2007


Wow, apparently this guy has been running for a year and this is the first I've heard of him. Am I out of the loop or just lucky?
posted by grouse at 5:46 PM on April 28, 2007


Yeah, the major left-wing blogs doting on Gravel this week are really annoying me. Gravel reminded me of Zell Miller's embarrassing senile rant against Chris Matthews back in 2004.

We don't need a Bill O'Reilly on stage with the legitimate candidates. Boisterous assholes who look like morons and embarrass everyone around them by association are just as bad when they're Democrats. The only things Gravel did were make Democrats look generically clownish, and perform the Herculean accomplishment of making Dennis Kucinich look like a refined statesman by comparison.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:47 PM on April 28, 2007


I like what he had to say about the United States treating the rest of the world as equals.
posted by jb at 5:48 PM on April 28, 2007


cant say i konw anything about the guy.. but i applaud him for pointing out how absolutely absurd and ridiculous it is that our country (or any country for that matter) has thousands of nuclear weapons. think about it. weapons that are only used to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people (it has been, twice, by us). they are made to kill civilians, and if thats not terrorism i dont know what is. and the fact that mainstream politicians would even consider using them now shows the sorry state of our country, and our world. i was glad he said it and think it bears repeating
posted by petsounds at 5:48 PM on April 28, 2007


Come on. The guy's name is Mike Gravel. MIKE GRAVEL*. How could America face the rest of the world with President Gravel?!?

*sounds like a name off a malfunctioning Pr0n Name Generator
posted by wendell at 5:52 PM on April 28, 2007


Terrorism is the new black.

[NOT A RACIAL JOKE IT'S ABOUT FASHION Oh nevermind]
posted by OrangeDrink at 5:54 PM on April 28, 2007


Yikes.
I don't care how het up Mr. Gravel LOOKS.
I did like a lot of what he SAID.
Doesn't matter anyway; soon he'll be mocked and co-opted and forgotten.
Damn shame.
posted by Dizzy at 5:59 PM on April 28, 2007


Gra-VELL, though, so not quite Mike Hammerish.

Unless it's Mike Ham-MAIR, all Frenchy-like.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:00 PM on April 28, 2007


I think this guy totally kicks ass. I'm voting for him. If Kucinich had any balls (Hey, I'm fond of the guy, but let's not pretend he has a set), he'd have said all the same shit.

Regarding nuking Iran... there's significant circumstantial evidence that "all options on the table" is, as Gravel said, code for the H-Bomb. I've got to make it to a babysitting gig, so I don't have time to google up the articles, but if you still don't believe it six hours from now, let me know and I'll cough em up. Most of the ones I remember, though, were those linked on metafilter, so they shouldn't be too tough to find.
posted by Clay201 at 6:07 PM on April 28, 2007


Mike Gravel?

Why am I suddenly reminded of a Scottish recurring Dangermouse villain's obsequious robot?
posted by JHarris at 6:11 PM on April 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


It was inspiring for the first 10 seconds to see someone speak with such conviction and fire ... it reminded me of the Futurama where Harry Truman punched his way out of a wooden shipping crate. Then I realized he just had one note he kept repeating over and over again. The plain speaking politician is what got Bush elected ... twice. People don't want to vote for the group therapy leader, they want someone telling it how it is (no matter how wrong it is). The only thing I've heard about these debates is Gravel, which to me is a good indication of how stirring the Democratic candidates are. This is still their election to lose, but if they're not careful a centrist GOP candidate can emerge that hasn't been tainted by the current administration and will run on the, "Yeah we need change, but come on ... are you really going to vote for those guys?" All the people want is for Obama or Hillary to come right out and say, "Once I'm in we are out," or similar strong, succinct wording. Otherwise they will look ineffectual (and if they have made such strongly worded comments on ... well anything, I haven't heard it and I probably study the media better than the average America by several factors).
posted by geoff. at 6:11 PM on April 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, I will have to take back or at least qualify my statement above that Gravel gave the "all options" phrase an uncharitable reading. Clay201 prompted me to track down this article, which supports what Clay201 was saying.
posted by Falconetti at 6:13 PM on April 28, 2007


geoff., It's a major fallacy to pretend that there's no difference between Hillary/Obama/Edwards and McCain/Rudy/etc. in this round. The mainline Dems are talking about things the latter wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, like healthcare reform, poverty issues, etc.

If by "once I'm in we are out", do you mean Iraq? Hillary said that on debate night, but she's been saying that a while. All of them have.
posted by Firas at 6:16 PM on April 28, 2007


"whom" do you want to nuke, not "who." just saying.
posted by stargell at 6:20 PM on April 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


This Sen Gravel is the guy that read the entirety of the Pentagon Papers into the US Congressional Record, right when the Nixon WH was suing for pre-emptive censorship on the NYT and WP.

One major fault-line in American politics is whether one considers Sheehan & Ellsberg heroes or a traitors for bringing the PP to the public's attention. My enmity for the pointy-headed peeps on the other side of this line from me is boundless.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:25 PM on April 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


He's a bit Howard Beale crossed with Gerald Nye (and maybe a dollop of Smedley Butler ...).
posted by dhartung at 6:29 PM on April 28, 2007


What a sad display. A wikipedia search reveals that Gravel spent two terms in the Senate and was instrumental in bringing the Pentagon Papers to the public. To be remembered as little more than a rambling kook is no way to go out.

He reminds me a bit of Adm. Stockdale. A medal of honor recipient remembered for going on about ping-pong balls.
posted by aladfar at 6:34 PM on April 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Gravel's right on the money and has the balls to say what's on his mind. The other Dem's are just playing it safe and kissing the nation's ass so maybe they can be President someday—cowards.

And in an insane world, the sane are treated like the insane.

Media = men in white coats that take Gravel away.
posted by disgruntled at 6:41 PM on April 28, 2007 [9 favorites]


I like some of the things he has to say, but the problem is how he says it. There's the rub though. Gravel is talking about allowing Americans to make the laws instead of congressmen. Why are affluent well-dressed people with entourages of counselors and marketing analysts and political manipulators the only ones who can get into public office? They're the only ones we'll vote in.

Gravel's presentation of his views are over the top. They're raw and sincere and emotional and heartfelt but they're also rough and not carefully worded and can easily be debated and dismissed as crazy-talk. He'll end up going the way of Howard Dean: a man who also had some compelling ideas and a fresh new approach to things but he raised his voice a bit in excitement, and people dismissed him outright.

Why? Cuz we don't want a president who raises his voice? We don't want a president who gets a little excited about his job? Apparently we want a president who looks good on television, and doesn't rock the boat.

"The first debate was costly to Nixon. The radio audience thought he had won, but the largest television audience in history had seen the vice president haggard and drawn, and had been given its first sustained look at The Kennedy Style."

Go back to the Kennedy Nixon debate. We voted for the guy who sweated less on TV. It had nothing to do with who was better suited for the job. People turned on their TVs and there's two men thrust into their homes. Which would you rather have over for dinner? Nixon or Kennedy? That's how that presidency was decided. Then eight years later, Nixon got in anyway.

We still vote for the least ugly candidate, but underneath we often get one just as dirty as the rest of them, cuz the only way you can get that far in the first place is to play dirty. Then you have to time it so you clean yourself up just in time for the cameras.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:43 PM on April 28, 2007


The problem with Gravel's attack is I don't think the majority of the American people understand the ramifications of the phrase "no option is off the table." How many people honestly believe that an attack with nuclear weapons, even "tactical" weapons, is likely? The first time I watched this, when Gravel said he's against a preemptive war with nuclear weapons, I thought: "So? Aren't we all? And why are you implying that the rest of the candidates aren't?"

If the George Lakoff article Falconetti linked to does indeed speak correctly to the mindset of the Democratic candidates, then perhaps Gravel is right to make his point. But by failing to expand on why he felt he needed to say that he was against nuclear war, and specifically that the other candidates failed to take that stance, he missed an opportunity. He should have been armed with the very quotes Lakoff mentioned. "Mr. Obama, Ms. Clinton, Mr. Edwards, all three of you have said that with respect to Iran, 'no option is off the table.' I challenge you to take back those words, to claim right now that the nuclear option is untenable, that you will not lead the United States into a war with nuclear weapons."

The public needs to understand exactly what "no option is off the table" truly means; they need to be hit over the head with it until they comprehend what the true damage of a tactical nuclear weapon is, and what could happen if we unleash them on a foreign state that may also be developing nuclear weapons. Gravel failed to give the public that enlightenment. But if the United States continues to rattle its sabre and threaten Iran, then eventually we'll come to the point where the American public will be confronted with that choice anyways. And unlike Lakoff, I'm more hopeful that if you tell the American people that nuclear weapons are being aimed at Iran, they will not take it well to say the least.
posted by chrominance at 6:43 PM on April 28, 2007 [6 favorites]


..the major left-wing blogs doting on Gravel..

What blogs are these? The major left-wing blog mentioned him I think once and I'm pretty sure it was only to make fun of him.
posted by DU at 6:51 PM on April 28, 2007


I've got to make it to a babysitting gig, so I don't have time to google up the articles...

Best rhetorical dodge evar.
posted by docgonzo at 6:58 PM on April 28, 2007


There's an old maxim, provincials are the most patriotic because they have the most to prove, Alaska is about as provincial as it gets in the US.
posted by stbalbach at 7:00 PM on April 28, 2007


I like Kurt Vonnegut, but I would never vote for him.
posted by iamck at 7:02 PM on April 28, 2007


>He'll end up going the way of Howard Dean: a man who also had some compelling ideas and a fresh new approach to things but he raised his voice a bit in excitement, and people dismissed him outright.

Except Dean is using his new ideas and approach as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He's a powerful player in the party now, not some Ralph Nader at home yelling at the TV. I doubt Gravel will be leading anything anytime soon other than a few guest spots on Bill O'Reilly.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:15 PM on April 28, 2007


I suspect that if you pull Mike Gravel's mask off it's Lyndon Larouche under there.
posted by aaronetc at 7:16 PM on April 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is all out of context-- multiple short statements strung together into 5 minutes are bound to seem screechier and less coherent than his actual performace spread out over the entire debate. Sheesh.
posted by hermitosis at 7:24 PM on April 28, 2007


Don't presidents have to be actors?

That guy talks like a real person.

And he'd look shit in a cowboy hat.

Where are the real candidates? That guy couldn't even read his teleprompter properly! What are we paying him for?!
posted by Wataki at 7:25 PM on April 28, 2007


I'd never heard of this guy before this debate, and now I can easily remember his name. I had really never considered where the Democratic candidates stood on the issue of pre-emptive nuclear war, and now I think that is a serious question they need to answer. So, all in all, I think it was a pretty success debate for Sen. Gravel.
posted by Staggering Jack at 7:30 PM on April 28, 2007


As far as I'm concerned most of these people are exactly the same, no matter how much they yap before taking the oath. I want a candidate who believes in something, so Gravel is alright with me, but I don't know enough about the man to make a serious judgment just from watching a six minute clip.

In reality I'll probably end up voting for Gore (fingers crossed), Nader (yes, again), or no one. I voted for Nader in 2000 and don't feel a bit bad about it. I should have voted for him last time, but I got caught up in Blue State Fever and went with what seemed a sensible choice instead of my heart.

With very few exceptions, politicians are politicians are politicians.
posted by Roman Graves at 7:31 PM on April 28, 2007


It's an example of how television has detrimentally impacted politics. The guy with the best policies loses to the guy with the best oratory skills.
posted by Wataki at 7:36 PM on April 28, 2007


guys, do you think for a moment that the subject of pre-emptive nuking would even come up during a democratic debate, if sen gravel hadn't have brought it up?

has it been so long since we had a candidate on the left that actually fought with anger and passion that we feel awkward and uncertain when we're confronted with one?

are we so used to softball questions and marshmallow answers that we're stunned by this?

one can probably express some doubts about gravel and his positions on things ... truth is, the reaction i'm seeing is more about us and what we've gotten accustomed to than him
posted by pyramid termite at 7:44 PM on April 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


He sounds like a liberal crackpot. He didn't answer the questions. It seems the left always has such poor representation. :( Maybe that's just me?
posted by sunshinesky at 8:02 PM on April 28, 2007


guys, do you think for a moment that the subject of pre-emptive nuking would even come up during a democratic debate, if sen gravel hadn't have brought it up?

I noticed that not even the brave Sen. Gravel had the cajones to address our crippling precious bodily fluid gap.
posted by aaronetc at 8:04 PM on April 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree with you for the most part pyramid termite, but I really think he lacks a cool-headedness , I for one look for in any kind of leader, even though I may agree with some of what he is saying.

like what he had to say about the United States treating the rest of the world as equals.
posted by jb


I'm with you there jb.
posted by nola at 8:05 PM on April 28, 2007


truth is, the reaction i'm seeing is more about us and what we've gotten accustomed to than him

You mean Democrats who win elections and aren't crazy? Yeah, I could be accustomed to that.

If you truly think the people who yell and attack other people the most are the ones with the most substance to their views then I would posit you've been familiar with the internet for perhaps the whole of fifteen seconds.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:05 PM on April 28, 2007


Sen. Gravel is 2008's Al Sharpton from the last election--he's there to entertain. I remember during one of the first Democratic debates in May 2003, Sharpton had the most memorable lines, including one about (paraphrasing) his grandmother telling him donkeys were stubborn, and the only way to get a donkey moving was to punch it in the face.

I also enjoyed the way Gravel burned Sen. Biden (at about 2:45 in the video):
MODERATOR: Let's use a little moderator discretion here. Senator Gravel, that's a weighty charge.

Who on this stage exactly tonight worries you so much?

GRAVEL: Well, I would say the top tier ones. The top tier ones. They've made statements.

(Biden raises his hand as Gravel speaks.)

Oh, Joe, I'll include you, too. You have a certain arrogance. You want to -- you want to tell the Iraqis how to run their country.
I have no idea what Biden was thinking, raising his hand. But that was a great moment during the debate because Biden is really arrogant.
posted by mirv at 8:10 PM on April 28, 2007


I would like to see a cage match between Gravel and Ron Paul for the title of Internet's Favorite Candidate.
posted by Falconetti at 8:19 PM on April 28, 2007


This is still their election to lose, but if they're not careful a centrist GOP candidate can emerge that hasn't been tainted by the current administration and will run on the, "Yeah we need change, but come on ... are you really going to vote for those guys?" -- geoff.

This is ridiculous. You didn't watch the debates (which were boring, but still) You apparently don't know about the GOP field (which totally sucks) and yet you feel you can describe what a winning presidential strategy would be. Come on. I'm a political junky and I'd never say "You need to do X to win." I can only say "You need to do X in order to really inspire me". Now, I would hope that they are the same thing, but there is no guarantee.

And for the record. There is only one GOP nominee who isn't really tainted with bush, Mitt Romney, who's the most transparent parody of a blow-dried politician you'll ever meet. He's also a far distant third after McCain and Guiliani, who are both wrapped up with the bush administration. That doesn't mean he won't win the nod.

Gravel's presentation of his views are over the top. They're raw and sincere and emotional and heartfelt but they're also rough and not carefully worded and can easily be debated and dismissed as crazy-talk. He'll end up going the way of Howard Dean: a man who also had some compelling ideas and a fresh new approach to things but he raised his voice a bit in excitement, and people dismissed him outright. --ZachsMind

That's terribly unfair to Dean. He was never "dismissed outright" he was taken seriously enough for Gepheart (the fucker) to basically immolate himself by going hyper negative in Iowa (which cost dean the race here). The "Scream" was embarrassing but that was after he'd already been the frontrunner for months. He's also the head of the DNC now.
posted by delmoi at 8:28 PM on April 28, 2007


I have no idea what Biden was thinking, raising his hand. But that was a great moment during the debate because Biden is really arrogant.

LOL. A lot of people are saying he's running just to get on TV.
posted by delmoi at 8:30 PM on April 28, 2007


Sen. Gravel is 2008's Al Sharpton from the last election--he's there to entertain.

Isn't this deeply disturbing? Why are these presidential candidates discounted outright? Why not vote for them? Surely they're better than Hillary...
posted by mek at 8:32 PM on April 28, 2007


French-Canadian immigrant parents.

*ducks*

Care to expand? Or is your *duck* comment sign of your own inadequacy as a human being?
posted by bluefrog at 8:33 PM on April 28, 2007


You mean Democrats who win elections and aren't crazy?

you mean al gore and john kerry? ... oh, bill "i can't keep my little president zippered up" clinton? ... dukakis? ... mondale? ... jimmy "we're feeling mighty low" hercules carter? ... george mcgovern? ... hubert humphrey?

hmm ... that's six losers, one horny, slut puppy frat boy and one depressed sad sack who's also a loser and only won the first time because he was running against gerald ford

who are these democrats you're talking about, hmm?

If you truly think the people who yell and attack other people the most are the ones with the most substance to their views then I would posit you've been familiar with the internet for perhaps the whole of fifteen seconds.

he says, without a trace of self-regarding irony ...

but I really think he lacks a cool-headedness

true, he does ... it's refreshing, but it might not make him the best man for the job ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:38 PM on April 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


"That's terribly unfair to Dean..."

Dean was dismissed by the VOTERS. Outright. After the press, and comedians like Howard Stern, focused on his scream, completely dismissing his stance on issues, the public wrote him off. He was no longer a viable candidate for the presidency, and up until that moment it looked to me like he was the most likely to beat Bush. Instead we got Kerry.

So now Dean's head of the DNC. Big deal. He was aiming for the presidency, and fifteen seconds of video stole that from him, because our press doesn't focus on where politicians stand on the issues. No I ain't blaming the press. They're just like everybody else they're just trying to make a buck. I blame us. The press doesn't focus on the issues, cuz when they do, we change the channel.

Y'know what? I want JOHNNY KNOXVILLE to run for the presidency, cuz Jackass 2 was fucking hilarious. That's how we should determine who gets to be president. I'd like to see Hilary Clinton or Barak Obama wrap themselves in the American flag and then ride a big red rocket, or get chased by a bull, or stay inside a used portapotty as it's turned upside down.

None of these politicians represent you or me. Neither does Knoxville, but at least he'd make me laugh while he was lying to my face and robbing my country blind.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:41 PM on April 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


WORST MEFI DISCUSSION EVER.
posted by Firas at 8:41 PM on April 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh, and has anyone considered the possibility that they purposefully allowed Gravel on that stage so these moderate pretender assholes could show people that they're not on the left? They wanted to look 'sane' and conservative compared to Gravel, when Gravel was the only one up there with the convictions to say what was on HIS mind - and not what was spoonfed them by a gaggle of lawyers and marketing analysts and bullshit jockeys.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:44 PM on April 28, 2007


mek: Isn't this deeply disturbing? Why are these presidential candidates discounted outright? Why not vote for them? Surely they're better than Hillary...

Yes, I would actually prefer Gravel to HRC, but here's why these candidates are discounted outright: they have no money.

At the end of March, Gravel had $498 on hand. He spent more ($18,304) than he raised ($15,534), and has almost $90,000 in debts. I am not a fan of how much money matters in elections these days, but the reality is, campaigning costs money, and if you can't even pay for the bus that's taking you around New Hamphire, Iowa, and South Carolina, then you don't really have a shot do you?
posted by mirv at 8:49 PM on April 28, 2007


Gravel can speak like he does because he knows he doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected, so he has nothing to lose by fulminating and showing raw emotions in a way that the serious candidates - the ones who actually need to project competence and level-headedness - cannot afford to do.

The charge against Biden being too arrogant is rich. These are people putting themselves forward to be the next President of the USA. It's not a pursuit that generally attracts humble people, no matter how well they may emulate humility for the masses.
posted by darkstar at 9:08 PM on April 28, 2007


"That guy talks like a real person."

Yeah, he talks like a real person with no friends.

There are old guys down at the corner doing that routine all the time: angrily waving anti-war signs and demanding you cheer them or, if in a car, honk your horn. Of course, my zip code votes 90% Democratic, and they know that.
posted by kenlayne at 9:22 PM on April 28, 2007


you mean al gore and john kerry? ... oh, bill "i can't keep my little president zippered up" clinton?


No, I meant the massive wave of Democratic victories in the House, Senate, and state legislatures in 2006 based on a capitalization of dissatisfaction with Republicans and a platform of issues brought to local voters ranging from opposition to the war in more liberal states to varied economic and educational agendas in more moderate and conservative ones. They won by attacking Republican policies and presenting legitimate proposals, not screaming their heads off. When you're done Googling Clinton one-liners from 1999 you might want to check on the 2004 Democratic candidates and see how well the one who may have been the most passionate and substantive but had a teensy problem containing his stage persona did. Kudos, Vermont primary voters!

As a liberal I have no intention of allowing Gravel (or for that matter Kucinich) to represent me in this election, because I have no intention of celebrating the association of pure liberalism with whackjobs with no chance of ever being elected. (That worked so fucking well in 2000, didn't it?) I don't express regret supporting one of the other candidates who remain pro-choice, support wider health care coverage, want to end the war in Iraq, and- a major added bonus- can actually be elected and don't frighten small children.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:32 PM on April 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


(My babysitting gig got cancelled).

The first time I watched this, when Gravel said he's against a preemptive war with nuclear weapons, I thought: "So? Aren't we all? And why are you implying that the rest of the candidates aren't?"

Because, if history is any guide, they probably aren't opposed. During the Cuban missle crisis, there were plenty of people in the governments on both sides who were willing to push the button. During the Reagan years, there was a serious fear that we were half a step away from nuclear war. No US president has made any move towards reducing our stockpile of nukes. And perhaps most relevant of all, if we're talking about the middle east, is the fact that we've given our blessing to Isreal's nuclear arsenal. The other countries in the region certainly see this as an indication that someone's willing to let slip the plutonium dogs.

It's certainly true that ninety nine percent of the US population is opposed to such actions. But if our "leaders" were to support policies that the rest of us don't, that'd hardly be a new thing.
posted by Clay201 at 9:33 PM on April 28, 2007


he's there to entertain

Well like darkstar he knows he doesnt have a snowballs chance in hell which gives him the opportunity to cut through all the bullshit and call the democrats on it. So its not just to entertain - it actually forces them to address the issues. Also I think you underrate the chances of an outsider/maverick in the general election. Americans hate politicians. They *will* respect and vote for someone who is strong and says what they think especially if they come off as being a regular person. Thats why bush got elected imo. The focus-tested media expectations second guessing basic weaselyness of mainstream democrats has cost them election after election. People dont respect that..

and as long as I'm ranting, it is pathetic that republicans have had democrats playing by their rules for so long. I'm tired of them fucking everything up and the democrats being pansy ass whiners scared to do anything because of political consequences. The occupation of iraq was from the very begginning the worst foreign policy decision ever made and everyone knows it. We have control of the house and senate. WE NEED TO GET THE FUCK OUT. WHY ARENT WE OUT OF IRAQ YET?! I for one will vote for whoever says that over and over, as loud as possible
posted by petsounds at 9:38 PM on April 28, 2007


Oh, and has anyone considered the possibility that they purposefully allowed Gravel on that stage so these moderate pretender assholes could show people that they're not on the left?

Oh, I think that's not only been considered, I think it's just about universally assumed by everyone who's spent more than five minutes thinking about it. And of course the same is true for Kucinich, Sharpton, and probably five or six other candidates from the last four elections.
posted by Clay201 at 9:40 PM on April 28, 2007


The guy with the best policies loses to the guy with the best oratory skills.

The 2000 U.S. election kinda blew that one out of the water (on both counts).
posted by spock at 9:43 PM on April 28, 2007


It's certainly true that ninety nine percent of the US population is opposed to such actions

More like 33%. With another 33% on the more-rubble-less-trouble side. And the rest being the muddled middle that doesn't know WTF they think.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:48 PM on April 28, 2007


Well like darkstar he knows he doesnt have a snowballs chance in hell which gives him the opportunity to cut through all the bullshit and call the democrats on it. So its not just to entertain - it actually forces them to address the issues. Also I think you underrate the chances of an outsider/maverick in the general election. Americans hate politicians.

I think you're conflating McCain, Dean and Bradley, who shaped their opponents' ideas by being legitimate competitors, with the fringe candidates who simply wanted airtime to push a pet issue. What did Nader accomplish by attacking Gore? What policies did Sharpton propose that were picked up later by Kerry? Which candidates answered Gravel's question about nukes beyond rolling their eyes at the crazy man on stage? Anyone decided to roll with Kucinich's "Department of Peace" proposal yet?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:49 PM on April 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm rooting for Mike Gravel and Ron Paul to both win the nomination, and for some nice country to give me permanent residency and/or citizenship when it happens.
posted by dw at 9:49 PM on April 28, 2007


Americans lie about being romantic and liking their underdogs — and Gravel will get some attention for being an underdog fighting the good fight — but really, secretly, they want to root for the alpha male, whether that's Hillary or Obama. Even Machiavelli foretold this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:05 PM on April 28, 2007


Machiavelli 08
posted by Balisong at 10:11 PM on April 28, 2007


Julius Caesar-Voltaire 08. The Punk Rock ticket.
posted by Firas at 10:20 PM on April 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sulla and Cato the Younger 08: Heritage, Tradition, Optimates
posted by Falconetti at 10:37 PM on April 28, 2007


I don't think I'd care for Gravel as presnit (though I'd take him over who we got just now in a heartbeat.) I *do* want to see Mike Gravel continue to play the agitator through the course of the primaries, and I'd love to see him have some role in shaping policy in the '08 winner's administration.
posted by deCadmus at 12:01 AM on April 29, 2007


French-Canadian immigrant parents.

*ducks*

Care to expand?


Foie gras?
posted by srboisvert at 1:07 AM on April 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


No, I meant the massive wave of Democratic victories in the House, Senate, and state legislatures in 2006

i think you'd better count them up again ... especially in the senate

you might want to check on the 2004 Democratic candidates and see how well the one who may have been the most passionate and substantive but had a teensy problem containing his stage persona did

he lost ... just like all the other ones did

As a liberal I have no intention of allowing Gravel (or for that matter Kucinich) to represent me in this election, because I have no intention of celebrating the association of pure liberalism with whackjobs with no chance of ever being elected.

uh-huh ... well the candidates you seem to prefer have no intention of associating pure liberalism with governing
posted by pyramid termite at 4:33 AM on April 29, 2007


It's certainly true that ninety nine percent of the US population is opposed to such actions


That's an invalid statement without statistics. FACT: 90% of all statstics are made up
posted by mesmerx at 4:41 AM on April 29, 2007


Wow. Has there been an upsurge in new members here lately? I'm a little stunned at the stick-in-the-mud derision aimed at Mike Gravel on this post. Gravel was frank, open and not at all measured or careful. Don't we want more of this from the process? Or do we really want to see more watered down bullshit, all things to all people aphorisms and painted on smiles? He said exactly what was on his mind, and tried to mix things up a bit, hoping for more candor from the other candidates, and for that he's assailed with epithets like "kook" and "whackjob". He obviously knows he's got no shot at winning the damn thing, but he's doing what he can to force open debate and prevent this whole process from being nothing more than a series of carefully choreographed photo ops. For that, whether I agree with him or not, he has my admiration.
posted by psmealey at 6:06 AM on April 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


liberalism with whackjobs with no chance of ever being elected. (That worked so fucking well in 2000, didn't it?)

Huh? Are you remembering the 2000 Gore campaign as liberal? Were you out of the country or something?
posted by psmealey at 6:08 AM on April 29, 2007


"it actually forces them to address the issues."

Actually, using Gravel like this, whether accidental or orchestrated, allows the first-tier candidates to sweep issues he puts forth under the proverbial rug. "Oh that's just crazy Uncle Mike. Pay no attention to him. We chuckle at these democratic family reunions when he shows up and shouts at everybody. It's a spectacle, but we love our crazy Uncle Mike." The democratic party has compromised so much in the past twenty years and has fought so hard to cater to the moderate line. It's sickening. They're vanilla. Our country has veered to the right and I don't see the pendulum swinging back. It sickens me because too far right means fascism. Too far to the right means more fundamentalism. More curtailing of people's inalienable rights in favor of this illusion of security.

Okay. Too far to the left means some pretty bad things too, but I'm liberal for a reason. I prefer the badness on the left side to the badness on the right. Lesser of two evils. I'd rather we be a little moderate here, but when the democrats are moderate and the republicans are conservative, we don't have any liberal politics. Gravel is playing a tug of war and it appears he's the only one pulling on his end.

Pushing the button? Believe it or not there are more pressing issues than whether or not we turn the middle east into glass or they turn us into vapor, but try to sleep at night with this notion: religious zealots have said for thousands of years that God would use a firestorm to cleanse this world of evil. It's in the book of revelations. Some religious zealots are banking on a nuclear war, because it'll make their precious prophecy of armageddon a reality. The world, as we now know it, will in fact cease to exist. I want the right out of the picture cuz I've read the book of Revelations, and although how it ends is all peaches and cream, I don't like how we get there.

I've yet to see anyone in the democratic or republican party question the concept of Christian religious conviction. There is a separation of Church and State for a reason, yet you can't get in public office unless you at least pretend to be a god-fearing, bible-carrying Christian. I don't care what side of the fence you straddle. Anyone who wants the book of Revelations to be humanity's future frightens me.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:45 AM on April 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


liberalism with whackjobs with no chance of ever being elected. (That worked so fucking well in 2000, didn't it?)

Huh? Are you remembering the 2000 Gore campaign as liberal? Were you out of the country or something?


Are you forgetting about Ralph Nader or something? That's who I was talking about.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:55 AM on April 29, 2007


Yeah, I was forgetting Nader, fair point. But I'm not certain that this supports your point. Your central assertion seems to be that Dems need to demonstrate the same lockstep message discipline that the GOP has shown the in past 20 years. This means that "kooks" like Gravel and Kucinich should get on the bus and STFU because it will cost the Dems elections. I just don't agree with this. I think message discipline is a bad thing and the only way we can have the Democratic Party be truly representative again is to be more open about the way we address issues, not less open.
posted by psmealey at 7:01 AM on April 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Your central assertion seems to be that Dems need to demonstrate the same lockstep message discipline that the GOP has shown the in past 20 years.

No, my central assertion is that Democrats need to stop letting the fringe lunatics be the ones to associate themselves with progressive policies unchallenged. If Gravel offered a legitimate plan, perhaps released a policy paper or engaged in a legitimate debate, I would be all for seeing him on stage. Instead he looks like a kook, sounds like a kook, and by default makes his very views, however legitimate, look kooky.

This is actually one of the things that scared me about Al Gore prior to An Inconvenient Truth. His earlier "Bush betrayed us all!" stuff made it look like he was spitting fire as he talked, and that didn't just make him specifically look clownish, it made the entire anti-war platform look more foolish. The same thing happens when an anti-war protest diverges from people gathering and marching in a show of numbers and support for the cause into fringe batshits dancing around in costumes and waving "Free Mumia" signs. No, the protests don't need to have the lockstep of a Chinese military parade but if you want a more perfect example of how even a smidgen of "message discipline" might be a good thing I'm hard-pressed to find one.

In 2000, for example, two of Nader's key issues were wages and trade. Did he try to engage the Democrats in debates about that? No, he demanded that he would "raise the minimum wage to ten dollars an hour" and "pull the U.S. out of NAFTA immediately." Now these are great and passionate ideas, but he sort of just hoped no one would point out either of those would never, ever remotely happen. There's this tiny thing called "Congress" and "government" and stuff like that. And instead of getting into a debate with Gore about raising the minimum wage and reforming aspects of U.S. trade policy (both of which Gore supported and could have pushed forward had he won become President) he ran scorched-earth in the name of some fantasy "true liberalism" that forced Gore not to embrace progressive ideas but distance himself from them. If you think Nader's "waste your vote on me or you're a hypocrite" mantra was being "more open about the way we address issues" then we're screwed.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:44 AM on April 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


No, my central assertion is that Democrats need to stop letting the fringe lunatics be the ones to associate themselves with progressive policies unchallenged.

no, your central assertion is that progressives ARE fringe lunatics ... as far as democrats being associated with progressive policies, it's my observation that they run like hell from anything that isn't mealy mouthed, milquetoast, gentler kinder centrism

wanna bet we're not out of iraq by election day?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:52 AM on April 29, 2007


no, your central assertion is that progressives ARE fringe lunatics ... as far as democrats being associated with progressive policies, it's my observation that they run like hell from anything that isn't mealy mouthed, milquetoast, gentler kinder centrism

Grow up, dude. Seriously. I've worked for several progressive organizations and Democratic politicians over the last four years who have made countless more successful steps in moving policy leftward than Gravel ever will, and I sure didn't join them all because I think they're lunatics- rather, I found the fact that they get things done unlike whiny bitches over the internet to be quite inspiring. I really hate playing the "well how much have you done" card because I admit I haven't done that much myself, but I'm getting the feeling your extent of political action is bitching at everyone else about how they're not sufficiently perfect to you, and frankly that does make Gravel your ideal candidate. Good luck with that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:15 AM on April 29, 2007


The same thing happens when an anti-war protest diverges from people gathering and marching in a show of numbers and support for the cause into fringe batshits dancing around in costumes and waving "Free Mumia" signs. No, the protests don't need to have the lockstep of a Chinese military parade but if you want a more perfect example of how even a smidgen of "message discipline" might be a good thing I'm hard-pressed to find one.

I don't see how the Free Mumia and Hemp for Victory people are any more loony tunes than Alan Keyes, the Christian Right and the Abortion is Murder crowd, and they are mostly are embraced by the GOP.

These are the ugly step-children of the left, but I fail to see how they tar the rest of us who want good governance, integrity and support for progressive issues as nuts. I understand your embarrassment, and believe me I feel your pain, having been at a bunch of these rallies. But embarrassment or inconvenience is not a good enough reason to deny these people their right to expression.

At the end of the day, I'd rather have gadflies like Kucinich and Gravel involved in the process, but at least they are challenging the likes of Hillary and Obama when the press refuses to take them to task.
posted by psmealey at 8:35 AM on April 29, 2007


No, my central assertion is that Democrats need to stop letting the fringe lunatics be the ones to associate themselves with progressive policies unchallenged

I guess i just dont see why youre so quick to label him a kook. I think its a sad comment on how far we've fallen that anyone who stands up forcefully against immoral war and not using nuclear weapons is labeled a kook. I'm as cynical as they come, and I hated ralph nader, but this guy is a two term US Senator. Yes he seems to be strongly worded in his beliefs, but he also has the benefit of being right. The soliders ARE dying in vain and the people who cant admit this are the delusional ones. He helped end the vietnam war, I think he deserves a little more respect
posted by petsounds at 8:54 AM on April 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


These are the ugly step-children of the left, but I fail to see how they tar the rest of us who want good governance, integrity and support for progressive issues as nuts. I understand your embarrassment, and believe me I feel your pain, having been at a bunch of these rallies. But embarrassment or inconvenience is not a good enough reason to deny these people their right to expression.

Once again, there is no right to being invited onto a television broadcast. At the end of the day, I'd rather have more airtime for candidates with a plausible message for progressive change. Gravel can still bray his head off about nuclear nonsense as much as he wants.

I think its a sad comment on how far we've fallen that anyone who stands up forcefully against immoral war and not using nuclear weapons is labeled a kook.

And I quote: "And I got to tell you, after standing up with them, some of these people frighten me -- they frighten me. When you have mainline candidates that turn around and say that there's nothing off the table with respect to Iran, that's code for using nukes, nuclear devices."

He's not "standing up forcefully against immoral war and not using nuclear weapons." He's accusing nine Democratic candidates of wanting to nuke Iran. Do you really, truly not understand the difference between what you said and he said?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:06 AM on April 29, 2007


Keep in mind, by the way, that he didn't say this, during the debate, he yelled it. If you think he didn't look and sound like a kook, then you must think Ted Stevens has the oratory skills of the guy from The Music Man.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:09 AM on April 29, 2007


Metafilter: celebrating the association of pure liberalism with whackjobs with no chance of ever being elected.
posted by Slap Factory at 9:09 AM on April 29, 2007


Grow up, dude. Seriously. I've worked for several progressive organizations and Democratic politicians over the last four years who have made countless more successful steps in moving policy leftward than Gravel ever will, and I sure didn't join them all because I think they're lunatics- rather, I found the fact that they get things done unlike whiny bitches over the internet to be quite inspiring. I really hate playing the "well how much have you done" card because I admit I haven't done that much myself, but I'm getting the feeling your extent of political action is bitching at everyone else about how they're not sufficiently perfect to you, and frankly that does make Gravel your ideal candidate. Good luck with that.

You know what, I hate this. I'm a progressive. I participate in my community. I vote. I pay taxes. I do everything I am supposed to do to be a part of this democracy. But every time I ask why my voice isn't be heard, and is carefully being marginalized as being much further left of center than it is, I get called a whiny bitch and told to grow up.

You know, if being a citizen and participating in the electoral system isn't enough to get someone to listen to my concerns, and to actually represent me, then it's not me that's broken. It's the fucking country.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:16 AM on April 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Man, if there were more politicians like this I'd watch more debates. This guy's my new hero, kook or no kook.
posted by languagehat at 9:27 AM on April 29, 2007


If this is emblematic of the tenor of the discussion to follow, when the stakes are much higher as the election draws closer,
LOLKITTIES looks better and better.
posted by Dizzy at 10:40 AM on April 29, 2007


Gary Hart: An Open Letter to Mayor Giuliani
posted by homunculus at 11:40 AM on April 29, 2007


Wow. The candidates have barely crossed the starting line, and we're already seeing the "you have to vote for someone who can get elected, OMG everybody stop talking about sticky issues!" argument. This is the number-one thing that's killing the Dems, and has since at least Nader v. Gore: the idea that one should not vote according to one's conscience, but according to "electability" (note: that word is spelled "electability" but spoken "milquetoast").

Well, I'm done with it. I don't CARE how electable people are, I vote for candidates who are actually addressing issues I care about. And if that means voting for "the crazy guy", so fucking be it (and I mean it, I voted for Kucinich last time). The only way we are ever going to get mainstream candidates who give more than lip service to the really important issues is to vote for fringe candidates who are addressing them, and to do it in such numbers that the mainstream guys can't avoid these issues anymore. Anything else allows our empty sham of Stepford-Wives democracy to roll on forever. At any rate, when we're all sitting in the gulag trading stories, I'll be able to say I put my vote toward substance rather than appearance.

By the way, the whole "all options are on the table" thing is absolutely, 100% pure code for "everything up to and including the nuclear option". Like Clay201 said, this is obvious once you look at the way this phrase has been used -- hell, the President has used it as a one-sentence reply to questions specifically about the use of nuclear weapons in Iran. And what other "option" is so serious we need to come up with a euphemism for it, in a country that thinks white phosphorus and cluster bombs are the sort of thing one takes along on a picnic, tucked in the basket next to the salt and pepper? Good on Gravel for pointing this out.
posted by vorfeed at 11:47 AM on April 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


No US president has made any move towards reducing our stockpile of nukes.

Except for all of them who've held office since 1987. Where have you been hiding that you've never heard of the INF treaty or the various START treaties or the Moscow treaty?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:14 PM on April 29, 2007


This is the number-one thing that's killing the Dems, and has since at least Nader v. Gore: the idea that one should not vote according to one's conscience, but according to "electability" (note: that word is spelled "electability" but spoken "milquetoast").
Wrong. The number one thing that's historically killed "the Dems" is failure to win elections, thus getting shut out of policymaking.

Voting your conscience is well and good, but I'd rather vote my conscience with some hope that someone is listening than vote my conscience and know that nobody's listening.

XQUZYPHYR might as well be speaking for me on this, and, for the record, I'm a socialist, for Christ's sake, living in the bluest state in the Union.
posted by scrump at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2007


You know what, I hate this. I'm a progressive. I participate in my community. I vote. I pay taxes. I do everything I am supposed to do to be a part of this democracy. But every time I ask why my voice isn't be heard, and is carefully being marginalized as being much further left of center than it is, I get called a whiny bitch and told to grow up.

You know, if being a citizen and participating in the electoral system isn't enough to get someone to listen to my concerns, and to actually represent me, then it's not me that's broken. It's the fucking country.
It's funny: I imagine that the hard-right conservatives in Jon Tester's district feel exactly the same way. They participate in their community, they vote, they pay taxes: and, yet, they're being represented in Congress by somebody whose views are anathema to them.

Odd how that works.

The successes of Jon Tester and Jim Webb directly disprove your assertion that participating in the electoral system isn't enough to get someone to listen to "your concerns": Tester won in Montana by being an unabashed social liberal with strong strains of libertarianism, and Webb is a firebreathing old-school populist.

Oh, and then there's Pete Stark and Jerry McNerny from California: if these four guys are insufficiently progressive and liberal for you, I don't know what to tell you, because their presence, their victories, demonstrate that it's entirely possible to be strongly liberal, strongly progressive, and get elected.
posted by scrump at 1:11 PM on April 29, 2007


This is the number-one thing that's killing the Dems, and has since at least Nader v. Gore: the idea that one should not vote according to one's conscience, but according to "electability" (note: that word is spelled "electability" but spoken "milquetoast").

Wrong. The number one thing that's historically killed "the Dems" is failure to win elections, thus getting shut out of policymaking.

well, actually in the last two elections, they neither presented someone i could vote for in conscience, or someone who could win ... seems like the worst of both worlds to me

of course a candidate who actually stood for some things might generate enough interest that people would bother to register and vote ... but that's one of the "nice" things about milquetoast candidates ... they keep the troublemakers at home on election day

of course, that's what a political system that's deep in bed with the corporate interests probably wants
posted by pyramid termite at 1:14 PM on April 29, 2007


pyramid termite, it seems like you want American liberalism to align with European liberalism, and I can sympathize with that.

The problem is that that kind of progressivism isn't going to happen here any time soon, and it's definitely not going to happen if the Democrats fail to keep control of the Senate and House and fail to gain control of the executive branch.

I'm genuinely curious as to why you seem so strongly focused on trying to topple the system from the outside instead of focusing on gaining control of the system and then reworking it. Of those two approaches, it seems to me that the historical record favors the latter in terms of actual successes.
posted by scrump at 1:23 PM on April 29, 2007


After watching the debate, Gravel had some good answers. I actually went to his site to read more about him because he was the clear winner of the debate, and all my issues.
The only 2 you see are Clinton and Obama. Clinton seems status quo on everything, and not liberal enough for me.
Obama really isnt motivated enough for me, and rather weak in some issues.
Out of my limited choices there, Gravel was awesome.
posted by IronWolve at 1:33 PM on April 29, 2007


The problem is that that kind of progressivism isn't going to happen here any time soon

it'll never happen unless voters insist on it ... and if people in this country are willing to continue to buy the bullshit they're being fed, then they deserve what they're going to get

I'm genuinely curious as to why you seem so strongly focused on trying to topple the system from the outside instead of focusing on gaining control of the system and then reworking it.

i don't think having one of the candidates for president ask some hard, good questions is toppling the system from the outside ... i don't think that asking for clear cut goals to be stated is toppling it either

if it is, we're really up the creek

Of those two approaches, it seems to me that the historical record favors the latter in terms of actual successes.

except that it's not an either/or choice ... at least, it hasn't been for the evangelicals
posted by pyramid termite at 1:57 PM on April 29, 2007


So I get to suck teats AND have a big progressive activist penis? That sounds kinda awesome!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:16 PM on April 29, 2007


Wrong. The number one thing that's historically killed "the Dems" is failure to win elections, thus getting shut out of policymaking.

And why do they lose elections? Gee, maybe it's because they've abandoned the issues that matter to their traditional base (progressive economics & civil rights) in favor of "electable" corporatism and the status-quo, to the point where they no longer stand for anything. Everybody knows what the Republicans stand for, but the Democrats? Hell, the average American probably can't name the top 5 Democratic issues, largely because there aren't any other than a vague collection of ideals and reactionary opposition to Republican talking points. Al Gore is the only mainstream Dem to have "his own issue" in years, and I've seen Democrats make fun of him for it, as if even that much guts is just too much. This editorial cartoon is, sadly, entirely true.

The Republicans excite people because they take a strong stance on the issues that matter to their base. People on the right care about Christian traditionalism, they care about Teh Gays, they care about terrorism and abortion and gun rights and blah blah blah, so they vote for the people who seem to care about these things. It's been said over and over again that the Repubs "get out the vote", and this is how they do it: by defining their issues and pounding on the drums. Meanwhile, there are issues on the left that desperately need to be addressed, including some things that the majority of Americans approve of, but the Dems aren't willing to take a strong stance on them. They're so concerned with being electable that they take a middle-of-the-road approach to everything, thereby saying nothing of substance. And in the meantime, millions of Americans aren't bothering to vote, much less vote Democrat. These are not unrelated phenomena, and until the Democrats realize this and issue-up, they're not going to be able to win consistently no matter how "electable" they get.
posted by vorfeed at 2:46 PM on April 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


You know what, I hate this. I'm a progressive. I participate in my community. I vote. I pay taxes. I do everything I am supposed to do to be a part of this democracy. But every time I ask why my voice isn't be heard, and is carefully being marginalized as being much further left of center than it is, I get called a whiny bitch and told to grow up.

Astro Zombie, I'm sorry if there's a confusion between the two, but you and a few others here seem to have a big problem separating blind support of the party mainline and suggesting that a candidate is unpalatable. I don't think you're a whiny bitch if you truly want Mike Gravel to be your candidate. I think pyramid termite specifically is a whiny bitch because his response to my opinion that Gravel- not third-party candidates, not opposition to Clinton or Obama en masse, but just Gravel- is an annoying asshole who I would never vote for was to call me a "party hack" who "sucks the teat" of something for other and roll off a few one-liners about Clinton and Carter like a high schooler who found FreeRepublic the previous week. And as far as Gravel having been actually elected, I would venture Gravel didn't win in 1968 by sounding like an annoying senile lunatic as he did this Thursday. And by the way p.t., if your sole response to a challenge as to what actual political action you've worked on was to mention the candidate you sort of like was elected twenty years ago, well then, thanks for proving my point there, skippy.

This may come a shock to the less mature of you in this argument, but maybe, just maybe, there are professed liberals and progressives who don't automatically feel the candidate they agree with and should support is the one screaming about nuclear disarmament or raising the minimum wage to impossible levels or selling half our nuclear naval armada to build schools for African nations. All of those are actually quite magnificent ideas and I too would truly love to see them happen, but they aren't going to if it's just a handful of people yelling about it and how awful everyone else is for not agreeing with it and refusing to actually offer a palatable case for their views.

I didn't say only Hillary will save us. I didn't say vote for Obama or your vote was irrelevant. I said I don't like Mike Gravel. I think he's an annoying candidate who does a disservice to the other candidates up there and I would never vote for him. If the response to that is that I'm "a partisan hack sucking at the party teat," then pardon me as I roll my eyes at any future attempt you make to accuse me of having blind lockstep ideology. Now if you'll excuse me I'm apparently off to suckle from Hillary Clinton's left mammary because I disagreed with someone more righteous than me.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:50 PM on April 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Who cares? You've always got crazy plans for unlikely situations. But it'll never happen. Iran simply won't give the U.S. enough justification.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:01 PM on April 29, 2007


That's my exact problem with the earlier stages of this discussion here. That we're forming a circular firing squad over a technical detail ('will you rule out nukes or not?!') all the while ignoring that if any of those guys on the podium get into office, nobody's getting nuked unless something completely drastic happens.

Also, I have to laugh at the notion of 'tactical nukes'. WTF is a tactical nuke?
posted by Firas at 3:09 PM on April 29, 2007


Big ups to XQUZYPHYR, I don't know which of his comments to fave.
posted by Firas at 3:14 PM on April 29, 2007


Firas: This is one (old) example of a tactical nuclear weapon.

That's from the ever-excellent Trinity and Beyond, BTW. (Kudos to Discovery HD for playing it in HD glory the other day, too..if only they'd do the same for the other films in the series)
posted by wierdo at 4:57 PM on April 29, 2007


[this is now in MetaTalk - if you want to bitch at other members of the site, you can do that there.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:41 PM on April 29, 2007


That's my exact problem with the earlier stages of this discussion here. That we're forming a circular firing squad over a technical detail ('will you rule out nukes or not?!') all the while ignoring that if any of those guys on the podium get into office, nobody's getting nuked unless something completely drastic happens.

But I think that's one of the problems with Gravel and his nukes nonsense. Basically, he wasted valuable air time. The other candidates aren't going to address nuclear force against Iran, it's not going to become a campaign issue (at least not long before an actual WAR with Iran becomes an issue), and once Gravel leaves it's likely not going to be discussed again. If the issue is important to him, fine, but it's likely not important to most Americans.* That's 60 seconds that could have been spent talking about health care.

* Yet. When we get into a war with Iran, sure, we can talk about it but I think by that time we'll have even bigger debate points on the table.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:29 PM on April 29, 2007


the one screaming about nuclear disarmament

We currently have an arsenal of around 9,960 intact operational warheads, each one designed to kill millions of people. The total number of nuclear missiles built, from 1951-present is 67,500 The construction costs for more than 1,000 ICBM launch pads and silos built over six years was $14,000,000,000. What Nuclea Weapons Really Cost. The top tier candidates have made it clear that using pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Iran is an option they would consider. How is this a non issue?
posted by petsounds at 6:41 PM on April 29, 2007


petsounds, verbally ruling out 'option x' against Iran would mean that the general populace sees you as a weakling and then when the general election is won by some right-wing jackass he'll keep funding the construction of more nukes. Big hooray for the anti-nuclear cause there. Why is this point so difficult to get across? Barack/Hillary/Edwards aren't the Iran nukers you're looking for.
posted by Firas at 6:47 PM on April 29, 2007


You're basically arguing for self-immolation given the parameters of the debate for the general election in order to get something that doesn't even matter even if it is wrangled out of the primary process. I don't want any war on Iran, screw a nuclear one.

I especially resent the comparison to those who didn't vote for Dean because they thought he wasn't 'electable'. I think you should vote for whomever you support most. I just think shaking this particular back-and-forth in the air like Hillary's still-beating heart—pretending to have wrangled any concessions from anyone—is a joke.

wierdo, I know they exist in a literal sense, my point was that 'tactical nuke' is just verbal chicanery. There's nothing short-term or localized about a nuclear weapon.
posted by Firas at 6:57 PM on April 29, 2007


So I was expecting to really disapprove of this guy, but I loved him. I loved him to death. He really is speaking truth to power. This is heavy stuff. It's absolutely true and no one says it ever. I can't believe they're allowing him to say this stuff in public!

He's totally bang on about "no option is off the table". That DOES mean nukes. Anyone who says "no option is off the table" is advocating committing a war crime, advocating using nuclear weapons in offense to advance the international policy of the United States.

"Q: After Iraq, what are the three most important enemies of the United States?"

"We have no important enemies. [...] We spend more as a nation on defense than all of the rest of the world put together. Who are we afraid of? [...] The military-industrial complex not only controls our government, lock, stock and barrel, they control the culture."

"We're going to be as successful fighting terrorism as we are at fighting drugs!"

I like that he's pissed off and sometimes a bit incoherent. It makes him seem really honest.

I would so vote for this guy (were I a citizen).

I wonder what's going to happen to him. I really think that if Americans understood how they are being ripped off by their own government, they'd rise up and jail the fuckers.

And I think a lot of this will come out.

I predict a day when things like George W's Palace will be symbols of a massive raid of the US Treasury by a few privileged individuals.

I believe that when the dust settles, we'll find that perhaps a $200 billion (yes) US dollars have been taken fraudulently from the Treasury during the Bush administration, mainly through rigged contracts where the work was greatly overpriced, unnecessary or simply never even accomplished.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:16 PM on April 29, 2007


late to the party, but this is the most apt description of the "debate" i've seen yet: ... The South Carolina Debate once again put on display exactly what the press believes passes for an acceptable political discussion in this country. "Interviewing" means elevating even the most wickedly false claims and concepts to a level worthy of response and validating their erroneous premises (the infamous "some people say" strategy, of which Ms. Katie Couric is an avid fan). "Hard-hitting" questions means sticking your hand in the mud, dredging up the most used GOP talking point (usually found by refreshing Drudge), and flinging it at a Democrat. ...

Gravel knows he has no chance, but said what needed to be said. And why is it most of us have never ever heard of him, after all the good he did this country? Why isn't he an elder statesman or on tv or quoted ever?
posted by amberglow at 7:27 PM on April 29, 2007


Why isn't he an elder statesman or on tv or quoted ever?

Vast center-left-wing conspiracy.
posted by hackly_fracture at 8:20 PM on April 29, 2007


and meanwhile, we're bombing Baghdad again--...U.S. forces fired an artillery barrage in southern Baghdad Sunday morning, rocking the capital with loud explosions.
The size and the pattern of the explosions, which began after 9 a.m. and lasted for at least 15 minutes, suggested they were directed at Sunni militant neighborhoods along the city's southern rim. Such blasts are common in the evening but are rare at that time of day.
In a brief statement to The Associated Press, the U.S. military said it fired the artillery from a forward operating base near Iraq's Rasheed military base southeast of Baghdad, but provided no other details. ...

posted by amberglow at 8:32 PM on April 29, 2007


sane and reasonable people, after careful consideration, will vote for Fee Waybill.
posted by quonsar at 8:51 PM on April 29, 2007


Gravel knows he has no chance, but said what needed to be said.

This notion has been repeated a few times throughout the thread, but I picked yours because it was the most straightforward version. Why did it "need to be said" in that way? I agree with all of the views he expressed--there was really but one--however I don't think they needed to be said in that way. The fact that he is committed to those policies is wonderful; the fact that he will never be granted the power to enact them is unfortunate. But this last will be due to the short-sightedness of his own presentation.

It's not enough to come armed with the truth, because often the people bearing it get taken out first. You have to come with some style, too, and there Gravel is outclassed.
posted by voltairemodern at 9:20 PM on April 29, 2007


It's not the way it was said--it was that it was uttered on TV at all.

The truth is in very short supply even now on TV and in print media. I'll take it from anyone, but especially during a high-profile event like that. (The warmongering and tough talk from Hillary and Obama sickened me--buying into GOP frames that we Dems are weak on defense and security when we're not. Gravel was like a can of Lysol against that.)
posted by amberglow at 10:23 PM on April 29, 2007


For instance, far far more airtime and ink was spilled trashing Reid for saying the war was lost militarily than was ever spent actually reporting what he said in full. We never even would have heard about it for the most part if it wasn't for the attacks--which is what made it news to our media, not the statement itself.
posted by amberglow at 10:25 PM on April 29, 2007


The reason I would object to it is that it seemed less prudent than giving up a battle to win the war--if he had restrained himself somewhat (and of course this is speculative), and managed to get selected in the primaries, he could then manipulate the agenda to a far greater extent.

This is the point in the process where the truth-tellers get axed, so a better if less noble tactic would have been to bide his time. Gravel's message is powerful, but that was only one debate. If it's the only debate in which he participates, how will he ever keep retreat from Iraq on the agenda?

And I can see the fear that, if he were to bide his time so, he might not be heard at all. It's a legitimate worry, and probably why he opted for the tactic he did. I don't have answers, here, only questions and perspectives.
posted by voltairemodern at 10:47 PM on April 29, 2007


The only things Gravel did were make Democrats look generically clownish

maybe because they are. it's dishonest to blame the other candidates appalling shortcomings on the fact that he's clearly unelectable, and an asshole.

watching that bunch of "I'm an also-ran who didn't get the message the first time around, and behold my huge Southern accent" (Edwards), of "I voted for the war because the devil -- ie Bush -- made me do it" whiners (HRC), "Show the other whites in your neighborhood how enlightened you are and vote for a nice black man, for a change" (you know who), well, at least Gravel has been livening things up. it's not that we're discussing a serious process in the first place, it's a little reality TV show to entertain a minority of the public (ie, a minority of the TV audience) before the one who raised the most cash (either HRC or Obama) gets nominated.
posted by matteo at 1:37 AM on April 30, 2007


He made some excellent points. What is everyone afraid of?
posted by ageispolis at 1:37 AM on April 30, 2007


Man, if there were more politicians like this I'd watch more debates. This guy's my new hero, kook or no kook.

Me too. I like this Gravel fella. He's got stones. Ha ha see what I did there?

The sad thing is the perpetual Democrat Circular Firing Squad, though. It'd be a lot better if that kind of fire and plain talk were directed at the greater villains currently in power (who, it must be said, may only be the greater villains because they are in power) rather than at each other.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:56 AM on April 30, 2007


They did direct most of their fire at Bush during the debate.

Gravel is an unknown (altho he shouldn't be) and always had far less chance than even Dodd and Biden and Kucinich. He took the chance he had at the microphone, and ran with it. I'm glad. Even with the terrible format, and "gotcha" GOP talking point questions from Williams, he made his points.
posted by amberglow at 3:55 AM on April 30, 2007


Olera olla legit.
posted by breezeway at 7:17 AM on April 30, 2007


... perpetual Democratic Circular Firing Squad...

Sorry. Pet peeve given this is one of Bush's favorite malapropisms.
posted by Fezboy! at 7:31 AM on April 30, 2007


Presume to correct me again, and I'll squeeze your nuts until shit squirts out your tear ducts, sonny.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:49 AM on April 30, 2007


For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, elegant and wrong.

Removing an option that gives you leverage in negotiation is just stupid. Even if you'd never actually do it, you're weakening your position by preemptively conceding the point. Saying that "no options are off the table" doesn't make you a warmonger, it means you're not willing to compromise national security to make an illusory and pointless holier-than-thou statement.
posted by bjrubble at 11:41 AM on April 30, 2007


Saying that "no options are off the table" doesn't make you a warmonger, it means you're not willing to compromise national security to make an illusory and pointless holier-than-thou statement.

Nope--it makes you a warmonger, who is always willing to use military means to solve problems that aren't always best solved with bombing and invasion, etc.

The emphasis must always be on other methods first, and military last. Simply saying "no options off the table" makes everyone immediately think military and nothing else, and they all know that--with non-state terrorism most especially.
posted by amberglow at 12:09 PM on April 30, 2007


Demorats and the Iraqi Oil Law
posted by homunculus at 12:10 PM on April 30, 2007


Military things should never automatically be on the table--they're not to be used that easily. Especially when we haven't been attacked and are not directly threatened.
posted by amberglow at 12:11 PM on April 30, 2007


Saying that "no options are off the table" doesn't make you a warmonger, it means you're not willing to compromise national security to make an illusory and pointless holier-than-thou statement.

The hope would be that such a statement is neither illusory nor pointless. And a "holier-than-thou" stance, in this case, wouldn't be bad at all, as long as it's backed up by our actions.
posted by voltairemodern at 12:32 PM on April 30, 2007


amberglow, sure, but now you're coming off as willfully naive. There's a difference between not doing military strikes and verbally ruling out military strikes. Nobody at a negotiating table rules out their own options for nothing in return. Why would you?

When it comes to antagonistic negotiations it's been proven useful again and again to say "we're trying to work this out here but we're not afraid to walk out." I mean not just the USA—every country does this. It's used in everything from trade negotation to military negotiation.
posted by Firas at 12:33 PM on April 30, 2007


Nobody at a negotiating table rules out their own options for nothing in return. Why would you?


Because it's always an option anyway, and stating it reinforces and acts as a threat. It's a club, not a negotiating tool nor a diplomatic tool nor anything that helps any kind of negotiation.

If you're truly negotiating in good faith, you don't do that. If you feel the need to put that overtly and explicitly on the table your motives are completely suspect and worthless. It's clear what your aim is. It's the opposite of diplomacy and negotiation.
posted by amberglow at 1:01 PM on April 30, 2007


You don't bring things to the table unless they really are options you're willing to use. Military threats from the US are no bluff or ploy anymore, especially now after this administration.
posted by amberglow at 1:02 PM on April 30, 2007


And--the whole world knows that we're always willing to use our military--it's not news to anyone on Earth.
posted by amberglow at 1:03 PM on April 30, 2007


(oh, Gravel's coming up on CNN now--that's also a good thing)
posted by amberglow at 1:11 PM on April 30, 2007


Yeah, gotta agree with Gravel I was pretty curious why they didn’t pass a law to pull the troops out.
And he did make some excellent points. I think many people who when they speak with passion tend to lose their coherence, and that’s why it’s been such an avoided trait in public discourse. Doesn’t look like Gravel lost any coherence to me.
And yes, there’s no question the military option is always the last resort. Indeed, the military does not win wars, only engagements (terrorists and guerrilla fighters refuse to engage, it’s why they’re such pain in the asses).
I like Obama. He hasn’t put his points this way. Perhaps it makes him more electable, perhaps not. But I don’t see that much opposition between his and Gravel’s positions other than methodology. Maybe the “all options” thing is code for “even nukes” but Obama’s stuff doesn’t read that way to me.

I like Kucinich. I disagree strongly with him on some key points so I wouldn’t vote for him. But I respect his postions. Not sure on his methodology though. Some of his policies I have to ask “How the hell are we going to put that into practice?” and I haven’t really found an answer. (Maybe I will, still early - although I could still disagree with the ‘how’).

Here the only hang up I have with Gravel is immediate withdrawal. I think the Iraq war is wrong on fundimental levels (quite aside from Bushco’s agenda in lying about the need for it), but we do need to repair the damage we’ve done before we split. That’d require the state department and diplomacy and more importantly incentives. Which means, basically, money and the will to do it.
Iraq will have to learn how to unify and maintain it’s internal security (we can provide incentives - money, training, etc. not straight force) so it doesn’t become post-soviet invasion Afghanistan.
And we’d need to keep Iraq’s neighbors from destabilizing and kicking the place over, but we’ve done that in the past without direct engagement. The only troops that’d need to be there for a bit - and you could start moving them into support positions and then off the ground immediately - would be a small number to cover the diplomatic corps. Not sure Gravel is advocating just breaking everything off tho’. Not a whole lot of time to fully explicate a point in those debates.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:13 PM on April 30, 2007


Here the only hang up I have with Gravel is immediate withdrawal. I think the Iraq war is wrong on fundimental levels (quite aside from Bushco’s agenda in lying about the need for it), but we do need to repair the damage we’ve done before we split. That’d require the state department and diplomacy and more importantly incentives. Which means, basically, money and the will to do it.

Nope. It won't happen if we stay there. It has to be the UN and NATO, the regional allies, and tons of our money, but not our soldiers, our contractors nor our presence. We're anathema to repair at this point.
posted by amberglow at 1:22 PM on April 30, 2007


Related: ...Any credible presidential aspirant must present a detailed alternative to Bush's Global War on Terrorism. On the merits, it's hard to understand why candidates (in either party) would try to attach themselves to such a discredited policy from a very unpopular president. For too long, the Global War on Terrorism has been presented as little more than a tough slogan that all mainstream figures must support. By daring the candidates to doubt its existence in a show of hands, Brian Williams cracked the door just wide enough for simplistic protest. Now it's up to the candidates to elaborate on their proposed alternatives. And it's up to activists and voters to make sure this consequential issue stays on the agenda. ...
posted by amberglow at 1:44 PM on April 30, 2007


amberglow, that series of comments is no response to what I said, because it's not even internally consistent. You just made the following claims, in order:

(i) the military option should always be explicitly off the table
(ii) the military option is always implicitly on the table
(iii) the military option is always a bluff
(iv) the military option is always implied.

What? So you want people to take it explicitly off the table but be lying in the process because it's implied, and even then it's a bluff?

(I do agree that the neocon approach to foreign policy is a bit bizarre: they want both demilitarization and regime change. "Lay down your weapons, so we can come and kill you.")
posted by Firas at 2:12 PM on April 30, 2007


everything except for iii (which is sometimes), and they're not inconsistent.

Negotiations and diplomacy require options. Some of those options are always present if the nation has them (military, war, invasion, bombing, funding, soft power too, etc). Some of those options are used as carrots or sticks. Some of those options are not helpful to negotiations except implicitly, because they only prove that there's power behind your words and moves and statements, but showing or stating that power doesn't actually usually advance your interests if you're seriously negotiating or practicing diplomacy. Making your implicit background power explicit and putting it on the table is like shitting near a gourmet meal. Once you do it and have it hovering over the table, everything is tainted by it, and you're demeaning the whole process of diplomacy and negotiating. It tells the person across the table that you're not seriously negotiating or trying to avoid violence and war.
posted by amberglow at 3:17 PM on April 30, 2007


like, with Iran: they know we can bomb them to hell. they know they can't bomb us to hell. There's no need to state it, unless your intent is to actually bomb them to hell. If you want Iran to stop developing a nuke industry, keeping "all options on the table" keeps the threat against them visible and hanging over their heads. If you're Iran and want nukes because of that very same threat (from us and Israel, etc), it only spurs your actions to protect yourself and go ahead and develop a nuke industry.
posted by amberglow at 3:20 PM on April 30, 2007


When candidates of both parties here repeat it to prove they're tough, it's first of all, obvious, and second of all, harmful to any kind of real peace or diplomacy or even detente.
posted by amberglow at 3:23 PM on April 30, 2007


“Nope. It won't happen if we stay there.”

Oh, I wasn’t advocating it without help. And certainly not with contractors. But it’s still our mess. If we can get any allies in there or NATO, great. I don’t know that we have the political juice to pull that off. I’m pretty sure the French (Sarkozy aside) would tell us to go to hell.
I suspect that a new administration - presumably non-GOP but most certainly one with a serious departure from current policy - would have more success in getting that support.
But that’d likely be true with the situation in Iraq as well. New administration, new policies, new government.

Also, I’m not at all clear on what you mean by “stay there.” We are, and will be, staying there for the next “X+” years as long as they have oil and we rely on oil. That doesn’t have to mean troops (as I’ve stated) but our business is entangled with theirs - we need oil, they have oil. End of story.
I’d really rather us had been moving toward alternative energy for the past whole bunch of years, but that’s how it is now. And we’re going to be there. The difference is in how. I’d like to see diplomats and incentives. But whatever the case, we’re going to be doing business with (and they with us) whomever is sitting on the 2nd largest deposit of oil in the world whether we like it or they like it or not.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:35 PM on April 30, 2007


Nader / Machiavelli 08

Or howsabout (Harrison) Ford / Edward James Olmos 08!
posted by Balisong at 5:45 PM on April 30, 2007


Gravel's the only reason anyone even knows a democratic debate took place. It's the Crazy Uncle Ploy I'm tellin' ya. They did this as a subplot in an episode of West Wing like five years ago, for cryin' out loud. Get some old crazy coot in your party to say crazy shit in front of the press and then very nicely chide him the next day in the press and repeat you're going to stay above the fray and that you respect your Crazy Uncle but you're really not as extreme as he is. The marketing analysts tell you it's gonna increase your numbers in the polls and the Crazy Uncle guy doesn't care cuz he's gonna retire soon anyway.

France gets to choose from like forty different parties. How come we only get two? How come? Riddle me this Batman! Freedom of choice my ass! I don't like Pepsi OR Coke. WTF??? Why can't I just drink water? I don't wanna choose between Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dummer no more! How do I get off this plane!?? It's gonna crash into the Pacific! WE'RE ALL LOST!!!!
posted by ZachsMind at 5:53 PM on April 30, 2007


France gets to choose from like forty different parties. How come we only get two?

Because that's most the majority of us want. The Green and Libertarian candidates were arrested at the last presidential debate, and no one cared. Most people don't want to be bothered.
posted by homunculus at 7:12 PM on April 30, 2007


I haven't seen many instances yet Zach where he's said something overly crazy or extreme. Honestly I was expecting to see a crazy rambling much like "the internet is made of a series of tubes" but I didn't.

A lot of what he had to say I think was spot on. It's just the way he says it that puts off the conservative and calculated manner in which current politics operate. I think he's behind his time (just think...would the great Ben Franklin make it in today's political atmosphere? hrm.. maybe he's not the best example.)

But you bring up a great point; "the Crazy Uncle guy doesn't care cuz he's gonna retire soon anyway." I think when you reach a certain age, and realize that doing the same thing over and over has never worked, you want to shake people out of it, get them thinking about what they're saying. For example, when Gravel asks, "what enemies?" he is bringing up an excellent point...are we just preparing for the worst, or purposefully fulfilling our own prophecies? In what ways would the comment, all options are on the table, spell out an impending nuclear disaster in our future moreso than striving for peace?

The man's got some of the right ideas...not necessarily the right way of expressing them, but he got my attention which is what I'm sure he intended.
posted by samsara at 8:08 AM on May 1, 2007


“The Green and Libertarian candidates were arrested at the last presidential debate, and no one cared”

True. And indeed, Badnarik (et.al) was pushing the Ohio vote thing for some time. Got pretty much nothing but crickets.
Too many people pay too much attention to party over principles.
(alliteration there is incidental, I’m not sloganeering)
posted by Smedleyman at 10:00 AM on May 1, 2007


I'm not sure, but I think the paucity of parties in the US has something to do with the presidential system (rather than a parliamentary one)... will have to think this through, I bet a lot of people have (well-researched, peer-reviewed) explanations if one wants to google around. I know that the base response is that tweaking the voting system will give 'fringe' candidates a better run, but I suspect there's something systematically going on in the US republic that discourages quick change (well obviously that was a goal, see federalist no. 10), as opposed to parliamentary style systems where if you're in the majority, booyah, the keys to the kingdom are yours.

In general presidential systems have a tendency to cause major crises of legitimacy when legislators and the executive come to a head... that hasn't really happened much in the USA though.
posted by Firas at 10:26 AM on May 1, 2007


But whatever the case, we’re going to be doing business with (and they with us) whomever is sitting on the 2nd largest deposit of oil in the world whether we like it or they like it or not.

"Doing business" is exactly the point, and at least partly if not fully why we invaded in the first place. We don't have to have soldiers there occupying Iraq to do business with them--we never did. Once we get that oil law thru their "government", there's even less reason to physically be there. As a rule, we usually don't invade and occupy countries we want to do business with--we install puppets and/or fund opposition movements--without soldiers and massive destruction.
posted by amberglow at 11:20 AM on May 1, 2007


“We don't have to have soldiers there occupying Iraq to do business with them--we never did.”

Wrong. We don’t need soldiers in Iraq to do business with them. The war was predicated on a lie.
(I can play this game too).

You’re basically restating my point. I mean I alluded to funding opposition movements and such. The only point I can see some disagreement on here is time table. I’d favor a slower orderly evacuation in order to give the state department folks some time to set up shop. Once that’s done we can pull everyone out. If NATO is there as a peacekeeping force and stability, swell. I’d rather have (say) GSG9 looking for actual terrorists than whatever the operation is supposed to be doing under the current policy anyway.
I’m not at all sure what your timetable is. It appears to be yesterday to me, but I really don’t know what you’re asserting.
If Bushco changes policy, great, but I doubt that will happen. If the Dems pull the plug on the war - even better. I haven’t been seeing it.
What’s needed right now is the policy to be aligned with the timetable goals set by the Dems. What I’ve outlined (roughly) would be a nice way to do that without simply pulling up stakes and saying “You’re on your own suckers” to the Iraqi people.
Again - there’s a political fight over that. Needlessly it seems because Congress need not pass a ‘non-binding’ resolution. They could just pass a law and force whatever policy change suits them.

But I think the focus needs to be more on the mistake that was made in prosecuting the war in the first place. I think we have to fix that mistake. Doing it on our way out the door is just fine.

I’m a bit cynical in thinking that we probably won’t. And I think that’d hurt us even more in the international community.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:38 PM on May 1, 2007


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