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Sen. Mike Gravel (Alaska) invited to New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Debate by CNN after large public protest of CNN's exclusion.
May 1, 2007 2:32 PM   Subscribe

CNN has invited Sen. Mike Gravel to the Democratic Presidential Debate on CNN. This was after reporting CNN would not invite him back and large public protest. Democrats will take the stage at Saint Anselm College on June 3, Republicans on June 5. Youtube links, If you missed him on the CNN debate or the after on MSNBC.
posted by IronWolve (89 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I was impressed with his "tell the truth" comments, and didnt realize his impressive actions in the senate.
posted by IronWolve at 2:35 PM on May 1, 2007


"Large public protest"? Where?
posted by smackfu at 2:35 PM on May 1, 2007


I kept seeing his stories on the top of digg and reddit. Does that count?
posted by IronWolve at 2:36 PM on May 1, 2007


Mike Gravel should challenge false preconceptions about Al-Qaeda/Al-CIA-Da. There is basically no such thing as Al-CIA-Da. There is no evidence that Bin Laden (a one time CIA asset) who fought the mujahedin war in the 80s in Afghanistan against the Russians on the CIA's behalf, carried out 9/11.

So he's the candidate of choice for people who do things like calling Microsoft "M$" or Tony Blair "Tony B-Liar"?
posted by Artw at 2:40 PM on May 1, 2007


lew rockwell
posted by acro at 2:40 PM on May 1, 2007


Oh, I think I know of a few folks here that aren't going to like this one bit.
posted by psmealey at 2:41 PM on May 1, 2007


(via)
Last night in the Democratic presidential debate, the 76-year-old Mike Gravel, former senator from Alaska, was the voice of truth. As the six anti-Bush warmongers--five morons and the creepy Hillary--supported the warfare state and the empire, Gravel spoke out for peace and against their charade.

He noted that Obama and others had said that "all options are on the table" in aggressing against Iran, meaning nukes. He said that the US spends more on the military than the rest of the earth combined. He said that the US has no enemies that threaten it in any fundamental sense, but rather than the US threatens others, and that de-hegemonization is the only path to peace. He added that the military-industrial complex owns American politics and culture.

I liked Gravel when he was an antiwar (and antidraft) senator during Vietnam. What a delight that he is in the debates, bothering the monsters on stage and in the press, including open propagandists like David Broder and partisan phonies like Keith Olbermann.

What about Kucinich? There is a certain gravitas deficit, and he is a commie.

posted by acro at 2:42 PM on May 1, 2007


He seems to be either, love him or hate him candidate. But Clinton was horrible, Obama was better. But I suspect Clinton will be the DNC winner due to finances.
posted by IronWolve at 2:44 PM on May 1, 2007


maybe related to that Al-CIA-Da thing: Rogue Statesman -- Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s absolutely crazy, quite possibly illegal back-channel chats with the villains of Sept. 11
posted by amberglow at 2:46 PM on May 1, 2007


I suspect Clinton will be the DNC winner due to finances

Also because the Clintons murder people who stand in their way.

Kidding, I'm totally kidding! Wha?...
posted by psmealey at 2:49 PM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mr. Gavel's platform includes: "support for a national sales tax and abolition of the IRS" ... good luck!
posted by anthill at 2:53 PM on May 1, 2007


I suspect CLinton will be the winner due to the DNCs apparent love of losing presidential elections.
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on May 1, 2007 [6 favorites]


anthill writes "Mr. Gavel's platform includes: 'support for a national sales tax and abolition of the IRS' ... good luck!"

Mmmmmm, regressive!
posted by mr_roboto at 2:56 PM on May 1, 2007


Once again, disliking this guy isn't the same thing as disagreeing with his dumb 'omg willunuke willu willu' grandstanding.
posted by Firas at 2:58 PM on May 1, 2007


I suspect CLinton will be the winner due to the DNCs apparent love of losing presidential elections.
+++
posted by Thorzdad at 3:01 PM on May 1, 2007


Ironwolve, money actually has very little to do with winning an election. Doubling/halving the amount in a candidate's war chest makes, on average, about a 1% difference in the polls. Appealing candiates raise more money, but that money doesn't do all that much to get them elected. Hillary has a little more money, but Obama has it from a lot more people, which is more important.

On this pace, he's going to get the nomination, but I can't wait to see Gravel's next financial disclosure now that people know thathe's running.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:02 PM on May 1, 2007


Always nice to have extra opinions from a variety of candidates in one’s debate.
Say, why don’t we let a viable third party candidate in too?
Anyone?
*crickets*

“But I suspect Clinton will be the DNC winner due to finances”

Nothing says ‘democracy’ like having two families monopolize the executive branch for more than two decades.

...don’t get me started on Adams.
*shakes fist at sky*
ADAAAAAMS!
posted by Smedleyman at 3:03 PM on May 1, 2007


Gravel is fun. Sure, he's not a real valid candidate, but I want him in as many debates as possible before they give him the heave-ho.

He was out of the senate before I was born.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:07 PM on May 1, 2007


"Ironwolve, money actually has very little to do with winning an election. Doubling/halving the amount in a candidate's war chest makes, on average, about a 1% difference in the polls. Appealing candiates raise more money, but that money doesn't do all that much to get them elected. "

No offense, but this is one of the dumber assertions I've ever seen posted in the blue.

"Hillary has a little more money, but Obama has it from a lot more people, which is more important."

Tell that to Howard Dean.
posted by stenseng at 3:11 PM on May 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


Gravel was rude, unnecessarily. He shouldn't get invited to any more debates. At least not unless Ted Stevens is coming too. That would be a riot.
posted by thirteenkiller at 3:11 PM on May 1, 2007


Would anyone protest if they decided not to invite Joe Biden to any more debates?
posted by The World Famous at 3:13 PM on May 1, 2007


Protest? I'm not sure anyone would notice...

Homeboy's been an inconsequential also ran for twenty years...
posted by stenseng at 3:18 PM on May 1, 2007


Say, why don’t we let a viable third party candidate in too?

Hey, no one's stopping the Green Party from having its own debate, just like this is the Democrat's own debate.
posted by smackfu at 3:20 PM on May 1, 2007


Debates. Bah. They never invited Pat Paulsen (the last candidate I wholeheartely supporte).
posted by wendell at 3:21 PM on May 1, 2007


disagreeing with his dumb 'omg willunuke willu willu' grandstanding.

I'm curious. Is there some other interpretation of "all options are on the table" that does NOT include using nukes?

Why is pointing out that "all options" is a codeword for nukes "dumb"?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:28 PM on May 1, 2007


Libertarians should have some kind of candidate futures market, which by it's very nature cannot fail to produce the ideal candidate who will crush the two party system forever.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on May 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Unnecessarily rude? Sure. But give the man credit for speaking on behalf of what he feels is right. Plus the whole "breath of fresh air from some eighty year old dude" is a rather appealing combination of rank seniority and teenage chutzpah. The Manchurian Viagra Candidate?
posted by phaedon at 3:29 PM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I would have thought when you're losing to "other" in a nine-way poll you don't get to make the cut. I don't think they had this many timewasters during the California governor's debate and that set the standard for all future freak shows.

I'm curious. Is there some other interpretation of "all options are on the table" that does NOT include using nukes?

It also doesn't rule out zombies. I for one am very dissatisfied with Obama's refusal to take raising an army of undead minions off the table.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:41 PM on May 1, 2007


I didn't realize zombies were an option. Why aren't we using zombies in Iraq?
posted by The World Famous at 3:46 PM on May 1, 2007 [4 favorites]


“I'm curious. Is there some other interpretation of "all options are on the table" that does NOT include using nukes?”

You mean like “all” options?
...how “curious” are you?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:46 PM on May 1, 2007


Why aren't we using zombies in Iraq?

IEDs don't leave big enough pieces and the corpses we have here don't need the college money.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:48 PM on May 1, 2007


I didn't realize zombies were an option. Why aren't we using zombies in Iraq?

Because they're all busy serving in Bush's Administration and the entire Executive branch. ; >

Speaking of that, great rudepundit piece on Iraq and Bush and the undead (nsfw, textwise)
posted by amberglow at 3:50 PM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I third the zombies. They're biodegradable so even Al Gore will like them.
posted by Salmonberry at 3:58 PM on May 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


So, does "all options are on the table" mean that Hillary, Obama, etc. are also willing to use chemical and biological weapons? It doesn't really, does it? I mean, the whole "zombies are an option" thing is silly, since zombies aren't actually an option, but lots of illegal things are options, other than nukes. Surely they don't actually mean "yes, I wouldn't rule out an Anthrax attack by the U.S. on Iran."

Really, though, why on earth don't Hillary & Obama just say "when I said all options were on the table, I didn't mean nukes or other WMDs?" Obama had some evasive answer to Gravel, like "I'm not currently planning on launching a nuclear attack," but the guy's a lawyer and he knows damned well that he didn't actually answer the question of whether he considered nukes an option. What could he possibly have to lose by saying he promises not to nuke anyone?
posted by The World Famous at 4:26 PM on May 1, 2007


Please God, make the networks give Gravel lots of airtime throughout the upcoming campaign season. Open their eyes to the potential ratings boom of his confrontational monologues. Please make Kucinich have a disabling allergic reaction to his next Morningstar Farms veggie burger so that Gravel can occupy whatever airtime the networks were going to give him as well. We desperately need someone keep the next year and a half of the campaigns interesting. Amen.
posted by well_balanced at 4:31 PM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Really, though, why on earth don't Hillary & Obama just say "when I said all options were on the table, I didn't mean nukes or other WMDs?"

Really, when did the candidates stop beating their spouses?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:46 PM on May 1, 2007


Nthing the deployment of zombies - IEDs would just knock zombies over, and they'd get right up again. Nothing short of a chance peice of shrapnel in the brain would drop them.
posted by Artw at 4:50 PM on May 1, 2007


Well, y'all know me, and I've always supported whomever is the "steer the starship for the sun, you crazy little bastard" candidate.

Kucinich...bless his pointed tiny head...he's a pretty good contender for the "crazy little bastard" vote...but I gotta say that Gravel makes for better entertainment.

I raise a glass to the ancient one, and hope that through him we will make it through the seas of beige that confront us in the pundit infested waters of politics. Call for the Chaos and let us at least be entertained as Rome burns.
posted by dejah420 at 4:57 PM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Really, when did the candidates stop beating their spouses?

The Question:

MR. GRAVEL: Tell me, Barack. Who -- Barack, who's -- who do you want to nuke?

Obama's answer:

SEN. OBAMA: I'm not planning to nuke anybody right now, Mike, I promise you.

What Obama's answer should have been:

SEN. OBAMA: Nobody.

Now why would he not just say "nobody?" Is it just because he doesn't think well on his feet? I don't think Obama wants to nuke anybody -- so why didn't he just say he didn't want to nuke anybody?
posted by The World Famous at 5:04 PM on May 1, 2007


I dont care for his everyone calling him crazy or a coot, he has very valid points. Of course he looks lively, compared to the corpses next to him.
posted by IronWolve at 5:10 PM on May 1, 2007


I'm curious. Is there some other interpretation of "all options are on the table" that does NOT include using nukes?

It also doesn't rule out zombies. I for one am very dissatisfied with Obama's refusal to take raising an army of undead minions off the table.


Um, XQUZYPHYR, are you being deliberately obtuse? Do you really believe that "all options are on the table" does NOT mean using nukes? The US has talked about using nuclear weapons in first strike *even in the last year*. They have them, Bush is prepared to use them.

Bringing up "zombies" as equivalent to "nukes" is just stupid, insulting to the rest of us. The US *has* already used nuclear weapons in anger, twice.

Perhaps you really don't care about this. Then why don't you just shut up?

For the rest of us, when a politician says that "no military option is off the table", we hear a nuclear threat.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:18 PM on May 1, 2007


When did Obama start borrowing from Bush's phrasebook?
posted by IronLizard at 5:33 PM on May 1, 2007


It also doesn't rule out zombies. I for one am very dissatisfied with Obama's refusal to take raising an army of undead minions off the table.

Give me a fucking break. XQUZYPHYR, I usually like and agree with your comments, but this has to be the stupidest thing I've ever read by you.

Any idiot knows that "all options" ="all options available to us" not "all options, including sci-fi and horror film pliots."

Gravel's question was legitimate, as evidenced by Obama's answer -- before, we could only guess that Obama is not above using nukes, based on that slippery "all options" phrase; now, thanks to Gravel, we know.
posted by eustacescrubb at 5:52 PM on May 1, 2007


Now why would he not just say "nobody?" Is it just because he doesn't think well on his feet? I don't think Obama wants to nuke anybody -- so why didn't he just say he didn't want to nuke anybody?

Well, as far as I can tell, most of the others were smiling and chuckling a bit through much of Gravel's performance, either in discomfort or amusement or pleasure at seeing somebody who didn't give a shit speaking a bit of truth as he saw it or whatever. Or cynicism, maybe, too, it must be said.

I think Obama's answer was fine -- in my mind, it was 'Dude, your hair is on fire, but OK, I'll give you an answer, good-naturedly but in such a way that it's clear I'm not taking you all that seriously.'

A one-word answer would be miles worse in terms of the ways it could be interpreted. That's standard politician style -- more words are better, even if they're bafflegab.

Besides, Presidents need to be (see to be) ready to nuke the shit out of anybody who looks at them funny, amirite? That's America, man!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:53 PM on May 1, 2007


I disagree that "all options on the table" means nukes. I think it simply means "I am a badass and this is tough talk lingo to indicate that I will not back down from any country."

It is pure rhetoric. It means nothing. It is to make the candidates sound tough. Pansies put limits on their willingness to swing the hammer. Tough, cowboy Americans do not. Saying that they will leave "all options on the table" means that they are trying not to be categorized as pansies.
posted by flarbuse at 6:03 PM on May 1, 2007


Um, XQUZYPHYR, are you being deliberately obtuse? Do you really believe that "all options are on the table" does NOT mean using nukes? The US has talked about using nuclear weapons in first strike *even in the last year*. They have them, Bush is prepared to use them. Bringing up "zombies" as equivalent to "nukes" is just stupid, insulting to the rest of us. The US *has* already used nuclear weapons in anger, twice. Perhaps you really don't care about this. Then why don't you just shut up?

I think you're the one being obtuse here. Of course I know that because electoral politics is completely devoid of hyperbole in any and all aspects, "all options are on the table" means using nukes. It also means creating zombies. You've provided as much evidence that the former would actually happen as I have the latter.

But just so I'm not putting words in your mouth: do you think anyone on that stage wants to nuke Iran? Is there a campaign site for any of them I'm missing where "I'm willing to nuke Iran" is listed as a major element of their Middle East platform? If no, than the question is irrelevant; if yes, then provide some evidence other that the dangerous, apparently-equivalent-to-genocidal-desire-to-push-the-button declaration of "all options being on the table."

Yes, you're absolutely right. I don't care about it. I certainly care about nuclear proliferation and reducing our nuclear stockpile, and lord knows I would never vote for any candidate who I actually thought might launch a nuclear weapon at someone preemptively, but do I care about whether or not Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Dodd, Gravel, Kucinich, Biden, or Richardson have said that all options militarily are on the table for Iran and refused to flat-out say they would never use nukes no matter what the circumstances? No, because I care more about about health care, the minimum wage, women's reproductive rights, immigration, voting disenfranchisement, port inspection, food inspection, safety inspection, gun inspections, gun regulation, fuel economy regulation, the environment, college tuition, prescription drugs, campaign finance reform, drug laws, civil rights laws, Affirmative Action, public education, public television, public arts funding, free trade, fair trade, the fur trade, regulating corporations, internet radio stations, the polar ice cap's elevation, China, Tibet, Castro, Darfur, pet food, my food, fake food, fatty food, modified food, and Poland because every single one of those things are ten to the power of however damn old Gravel is more likely to actually come up during any of those eight candidates' presidencies and I would like them to spend their time addressing how they'll handle that instead of Gravel's hypothetical horseshit.

And that is exactly my point- because yes, I am as concerned about a President Anyone pushing the button against Iran about as much as I am a roving band of undead coming to eat my brain because the common ground those two scenarios share is how far fucked we already will have to be as a nation for that to be the critical issue against everything else I mentioned above. And if roving zombie armies are a deep concern for you, then by all means I'll entertain the opinions of the anti-zombie candidate; that doesn't mean they get 90 minutes to waste time on national television screaming at the other candidates that they don't support increased holy water production.

Perhaps by only wanting to bitch about this one, single, stupid, unlikely thing, Gravel, and you, really don't care about all those other things. Then why don't you just shut up? Well you shouldn't, since I don't actually think that because I know you're just as concerned about all those issues as the candidates are and picking a niche issue to demean their status as a good politician is as unfair and stupid as when Gravel did it, and maybe we could have spent more time talking about them if we didn't waste all our time talking about nonsense like nuking Iran and zombies. I will say though that for the rest of us, when a politician says that "no military option is off the table" is his biggest concern, we hear a candidate who isn't serious about being president because he couldn't give a shit about debating the remaining 99.9% of the President's actual fucking job.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:05 PM on May 1, 2007 [7 favorites]


after derail...

"Ironwolve, money actually has very little to do with winning an election. Doubling/halving the amount in a candidate's war chest makes, on average, about a 1% difference in the polls. Appealing candiates raise more money, but that money doesn't do all that much to get them elected. "

No offense, but this is one of the dumber assertions I've ever seen posted in the blue.

poster by stenseng

Really? I mean, I'm as aware as anyone that I was cribbing directly from Levitt there, but does that immediately make it one of the dumbest assertions ever made in the blue? Or does it just show that you're prone to treating conventional wisdom as gospel and assuming that the American people are idiots who are only affected by who has the most airtime?

For a candidate like Gravel, the money he's bringing in makes all the differnce in the world, to be sure. It means that his campaign can get to the next stop, for one thing, and that he's no longer $900 in debt trying to run it. For the top tier candidates, however, it makes no significant difference. I'm not pulling this out of my ass. This is well researched and shown by all available data.

Money doesn't win elections.

Again, money doesn't win elections.

What money does is to act as a good barometer as to who is doing better among passionate people - a far more accurate gauge of "likely voters" than the average Quinnipiac poll gets. But in your actual campaign, theres only so much you can do with it, and most of that gets trumped by how many hours are in the day, at the top tier. You think Hillary's got an edge because she has more plane fare? More money for ads? That money tops off when she gets to the level where Obama and Edwards are, and all three of them can manage about the exact same thing there.

However, for further demonstration, or maybe just because I'm dumb - I dunno...

Galisano
Huffington
Trump
Perot

Money doesn't win elections. Voters win elections.

(And fraudulent voter machines, etc. I'm not entirely out of touch.)
posted by Navelgazer at 6:05 PM on May 1, 2007


I like this guy for being a "breath of fresh air"--even though he's by far the most experienced--but let's be realistic. I've never heard of him before, and he doesn't have a very distinguished record. Not even in Bizarro World will this guy be president. But he at least wakes people up--especially young people--to the idea that debates can be different from the boilerplate bullshit we are accustomed to. Besides, it's just the first Democratic debate, so it's not like most Americans will be watching anyway. Let him do his thing, and when Barak and Hillary and Edwards and Biden (?) rise to the top later, he'll be out of the way.
posted by zardoz at 6:10 PM on May 1, 2007


It'd depend on the emphasis wouldn't it?
"ALL options are ON the TABLE" is different from "All OPTIONS are on the table"

As far as I know the "all options" thing was said in front of AIPAC lobbyists in Chicago.

Obama said that although all options were on the table, the central effort should be “sustained and aggressive diplomacy combined with tough sanctions.”

I suspect the allusion to nuclear weapons is in and of itself an act of diplomacy in letting Iran know it would theoretically be willing to use a first strike to prevent Iran from building/arming/using a nuclear warhead.

Also consider the context (in front of the Israel folks).
Which is an allusion to his support for Israel. In the same speech while stressing the importance of preventing Iran from gaining nukes he advocated diplomacy, not military force: “This includes direct engagement with Iran similar to the meetings we conducted with the Soviets at the height of the Cold War, laying out in clear terms our principles and interests.”

Yeah, what a freakin' psycho he is.

He also said we have to apply pressure to Egypt to crack down on weapons and money being smuggled from Iran and to terrorists on the Gaza strip.
Well, with "All options on the table" he must mean we're going to nuke Egypt.

Gimme a break. Yeah, it's code and it's weasel words not to say "Nobody" when asked who you're going to nuke, but diplomacy is not about naked blunt statements.

"Well, look Iran, if you build a nuke, there's no chance in hell we'd ever nuke you. Or use military force to stop you. But y'know, don't please. Also please stop attacking Israel by proxy....no, no, we don't plan on doing anything about it."

If Obama was running off of Bush's thing he'd be saying "We're going to nuke them tomorrow" and then go on vacation for 10 weeks. Worked great with North Korea.

I admire Gravel's politicking, but it's silly to demand someone say under no circumstances would nuclear weapons ever be used on Iran.
If Iran nuked Haifa or Tel Aviv, there'd be hell to pay. I'm sure nuking Jerusalem would cause a bit of a stir with folks here as well *understatement*
And indeed, one of the major problems in the region is that Israel (and Mossad) always plays one-upsmanship in terms of "I'm more mad-dog psycho than you are." Nuke Tel Aviv and they'd carpet Egypt, Iran, anyone they could lay their hands on who's looked at a Jew cross eyed, with nukes.

Obama is pretty strongly pro-Israel. And that's the subtext that not too many people (no one I've seen) has connected this phrase to.
All options are on the table re: Iran = I'm pro-Israel.

This "he's gonna nuke someone!" thing is just dumb.

The question isn't this "all options" thing, it's - under what circumstances would you take military action against Iran and under what circumstances would the nuclear option be viable, if ever?
posted by Smedleyman at 6:19 PM on May 1, 2007


It remains just astonishing to me that private media companies get to pick and choose who we get to hear in national debate. Just astonishing.

I would have thought when you're losing to "other" in a nine-way poll you don't get to make the cut. I don't think they had this many timewasters during the California governor's debate and that set the standard for all future freak shows.

Um, one man's timewaster is another's breath of fresh air. And using poll data at this ridiculously early stage to determine who gets to be included in the very national debates that introduce candidates to voters is utterly unfair, and guaranteed to favor only those candidates with name recognition. That's hardly an intelligent way to winnow the field. What do we lose exactly by including more voices in these performances at this stage of the game?

That's right: nothing.
posted by mediareport at 6:30 PM on May 1, 2007


XQUZYPHYR, nice attempt, but your ridiculous assertion remains just that. A nuclear war scenario is as absurd as a zombie war scenario? It might be true if people haven't been talking about tactical (nuclear) strikes on Iran for the past few years. Anyone who is not an American is very concerned with this, and most americans should be too. It is AN issue, but sure, it's certainly not the only issue.

Sure nobody wants to nuke Iran for the fuck of it, the point was the other candidates still entertain that as a possible course of action. How is that not significant? He is differentiating himself from the other candidates in a significant and appropriate way. Have you missed the last 2 years worth of Iran Nuclear pursuits news? The question is relevant and it's too bad you can't see why. The youtube summary clip of Gravel does a horrible job of representing him in the debate, where he really didn't get nearly as much time as the other candidates. if that's what you are basing your opinion on, you should go back and watch the entire debate in context. or watch the next debate where hopefully he will have more time to speak.

Gravels point about the military industry insidious involvement in the US government and culture is the single biggest reason why I like the guy, and also probably the reason why he will never be elected.
posted by ryanfou at 6:38 PM on May 1, 2007


Here's what I like about him. This country is in big trouble politically. The reign of GW Bush is ample warning that the rise of focus group based, corporate public relations-type, faux "common man" talkin', catch phrase spewing, manipulative oligarchic fear mongering, cover-your-ass-at-all-costs style of big politics has taken priority over doing what's best for the country. What's required is a purging of that attitude and it has to begin in the executive branch. Because what we're going to get is more GWB style leaders even if they're Dems. The kind who on some level have bought into the lies of this administration. Gravel was great because he was an anti-bullshit filter. I don't think the guy would know what to do with a political focus group if it came up and bit him on the ass.

His presence at the debate put Hillary and Obama in sharp relief. It made me realize how they seem ready to play the brand of politics I outlined above, and it gave me pause, because before that I liked both of them and I still like them, but their respective cautious pre-digested spiels came across as sterile and self-serving.

They should take a page from Gravel and begin speaking more plainly. We've had six years of utter lies and crap thrown at us by an administration whose only talent seems to lie in protecting itself from being held accountable for anything. I think (I hope) people are sick and tired of the schism and deep denial this country has been lulled into through endless repetition and state of the art political and media manipulation. Gravel hit the nail right on the head when he used the "all options on the table" line as an example. What the hell does that mean exactly besides (still) playing into the frame the Bush Administration and the RNC has put around Iraq and the "war on terror" and the perception of Dems as being militarily weak?
posted by Skygazer at 6:41 PM on May 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


Let's reiterate:

Gravel asked Obama who he wanted to nuke. Not a fair or good question.

Obama responded that he wasn't "planning" on nuking anyone "right now."

There is no chance that Obama wants to nuke anyone. There is no chance that Obama will ever nuke anyone. What is certain is that Obama is not very good at answering questions even if the best, most diplomatic answer was obvious.

Gravel is a "breath of fresh air" because he has nothing to lose so he exposes how dumb the other candidates become when they're trying super hard to say just the right thing that you, the American People, want to hear. He takes the debate off-script. And that is a very good thing.
posted by The World Famous at 6:51 PM on May 1, 2007


For the second time in a week, I find Smedleyman making my point before I do.

Total agreement.

Let me just say what nobody else is saying about the "no options are left off the table" bit. In the context of the current administration, and the current feel in American foreign policy, even the republicans aren't campaigning on being willing to wage nuclear war. In this context, No Options" means that he'll wants to handle it diplomatically - which the Bushies are trying to paint as treasonous and cowardly - but that he's also not letting the U.S.'s guard down as far as Iran is concerned.

And this includes the use of nukes.

Nobody - NOBODY - will use them. I don't think even Bush - who in my mind is about the same as Satan - would use them. But if Iran is building them with the thought of using them against us or Israel, then we have to have the threat on hand. That's how it works. You have to at least give the appearance of being willing to do what the other guy isn't willing to do.

Now, I'm liking Gravel more and more, and right now he's the only person likely to draw my vote away from Obama, and he's right about nukes. Lincoln once said, "If slavery is not wrong, than nothing is wrong." I feel the same way about nukes and torture. But the stick in foreign policy is about 1% swatting and 99% about holding it.

I think we should all disarm entirely, but the knowledge of the technology is out there, and we're not in a place with Iran for us to say "Hey, we won't do it if you won't" We're in an even worse place with Iran in regards to Israel, who can't disarm - nor have us disarm - under the quick threat of extinction.

This is just one example, but the larger point is this: Of all jobs in history, this is the one that most requires subtlety and nuance. We've spent six-and-a-quarter years with a guy who's tried to do it without nuance, and we've got one and three-quarter years more to go. Do we really want another guy who thinks that his ideal of "what should be" trumps the best way to handle "what is'?
posted by Navelgazer at 6:59 PM on May 1, 2007


He takes the debate off-script. And that is a very good thing.

Yeah, what he said.
posted by well_balanced at 7:03 PM on May 1, 2007


XQUZYPHYR wrote: I think you're the one being obtuse here. Of course I know that because electoral politics is completely devoid of hyperbole in any and all aspects, "all options are on the table" means using nukes. It also means creating zombies. You've provided as much evidence that the former would actually happen as I have the latter.

1. The US *has already* used nuclear weapons; and has in fact used them as part of a process of negotiations (Nagasaki).

2. The US *continues to talk about using nuclear weapons* to this very day.

Only children such as yourself believe in zombies or talk about their as if they are a realistic possibility. But the US *has used nuclear weapons in anger*. The US still talks about using nukes as a first strike. The US still talks about using nukes on non-nuclear nations.

"All options are on the table" DOES mean nukes. Nukes have *specifically* been discussed with respect to Iran.

You have a good posting record. I have no idea why you are spouting this idiocy.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:03 PM on May 1, 2007


stavrosthewonderchicken: "bafflegab"

Brilliant!
posted by krash2fast at 7:32 PM on May 1, 2007


Fine. If Obama becomes president and nukes Iran, I'll give you ten bucks.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:45 PM on May 1, 2007


All options are on the table DOES mean nukes.

Sure. But just because someone said "all options are on the table" doesn't mean that all options are actually on the table. Sometimes people lie.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:14 PM on May 1, 2007


Those interpreting AOAOTT as not meaning nukes are being willfully obtuse. If it's some kind of crazy "no really I would never do that, but it's still an option, but REALLY REALLY NO, I'd NEVER do that, but... you know... NO. ... yea..... its still NO ITS NOT." ... game...

It's not a game.

It should be a fucking no-brainer for a candidate to commit to not nuking anyone. That should be a crystal clear point. "Nuclear weapons will not be used while I am president." That should be an absolutely refreshing, normal thing to hear.

And yet, it isn't. Somehow, enough of you feel that there are actually threats to the united states that rise to the level of requiring that we maintain an aggressive nuclear deterrent. This is false. We have no enemies against whom a nuclear strike would be effective.

Effective in the sense that a nuclear strike would somehow strengthen our position against said enemy.

That these candidates won't admit this is insane, much in the same way that McCain recently couldn't admit that condoms were effective in fighting the spread of STDs. He wasn't sure what his "position" on that was. There is no "position" or "stance" on these kinds of issues. They are obvious to any sane person.

Use of nuclear weapons = You are a Failure.
posted by odinsdream at 8:20 PM on May 1, 2007


Do you really think that if Hillary Clinton were elected and needed to "get tough" with a "rogue nation" that she WOULDN'T rattle her nukes?

Do you really think that humanitarian reasons would stop her from actually doing it if the "rogue nation" continued to "act tough"?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:30 PM on May 1, 2007


Somehow, enough of you feel that there are actually threats to the united states that rise to the level of requiring that we maintain an aggressive nuclear deterrent. This is false. We have no enemies against whom a nuclear strike would be effective.

Alright, one last time. I never said I support nuclear weapons; I have said- a painfully repetitive number of times at this point- that I oppose them, but that the suggested willingness of a candidate to nuke someone is a pointless, wasted issue that is ultimately of a factor to no one.

You're adding weight to the argument about the danger of using nuclear weapons and that nuking countries is bad- points I happily conceded to you roughly sixty years before I was born- and yet you're not actually saying "I think so and so would nuke Iran."

Stop repeating the "they said 'all options,' that means nukes" crap as if that's all you need to say. THAT MEANS you think they'll use nukes. Say so, and provide evidence. Bush said he'd do a lot of stuff too and didn't. So did every candidate. We base our votes on what we think a candidate will do and if we support and/or believe what they say. It's almost like there's an election going on or something.

Since any attempts at humor or sarcasm will apparently yield dismissing me as a "child," or suddenly being a poster who doesn't meet various peoples' personal standards, I will try one more time with complete seriousness, and then resign myself to the conclusion that this debate is stuck in mutual stubbornness. (Also, I am fucking tired, and this goddamn thread literally stole my entire evening.) The same question everyone is refusing to answer still applies: how is the nuclear question relevant unless you think one of the Democratic candidates will actually nuke Iran? Do you think they'll do it? Which ones? And are you basing your vote on that? And finally, if any candidate flat-out said "fine, I promise I won't nuke anyone no matter what," would you believe them, without any wavering?

If the answer to any of these questions is in the negative, then why are you so desperate to make an issue out of something you yourself admit isn't an issue? What is the fucking point of this inane, useless demand of the seven other candidates?

If you as a Democrat are basing your pick for the Democratic nominee on your feelings that they will nuke Iran or not, then yes, I can understand why you'd vote for Gravel. I don't, and I have a more than slight feeling you don't either.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:32 PM on May 1, 2007


Do you really think that if Hillary Clinton were elected and needed to "get tough" with a "rogue nation" that she WOULDN'T rattle her nukes?

And there you go again. What does "rattling" mean? For Christ's sake, do you think Hillary Clinton would drop a nuclear weapon on another country or not? I say no. If you say yes, and that's all we've got, then let's cut the shit and just start hurling pies at each other.

Do you really think that humanitarian reasons would stop her from actually doing it if the "rogue nation" continued to "act tough"?

Do you really think that her saying she wouldn't two years earlier would stop her from changing her mind if she felt she needed to? That's a decision you have to make in your selection process, so take a fucking position here.

Save for retaliation against a direct nuclear attack from another country, I am confident not a single Democratic candidate would ever launch nukes. On the (non-)issue of nuclear deployment, I base my vote with that confidence. If your argument is merely that you disagree with me, then I'm not sure what else there is to discuss here. But by all means continue with a new set of names to call me, I'm sure they'll have a great influence on changing my mind.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:41 PM on May 1, 2007


"all options are on the table" means using nukes. It also means creating zombies.

it also means moving the democratic convention from denver to tehran ... gotta get those zombies in the right place ...

i just love inside the beltway people who want to dictate to the rest of the country what should and shouldn't be asked of our candidates ... i thought that's what people DID in a democracy

and i'm going on record as saying this

1) what we're willing to do with iran just might be a critical issue in the next 5 years ... it might even be more important than that long list, WHETHER WE WANT IT TO BE OR NOT

2) hillary wouldn't hesitate nuking iran for a second

3) yeah, gravel's being a bit of a hothead, but we need that ... mr cold and calculating in the white house seems to have caused quite a bit more trouble, don't you think?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:44 PM on May 1, 2007


it also means moving the democratic convention from denver to tehran ... gotta get those zombies in the right place ...

No way. Zombies require a temperate climate. Didn't you see all the mist in the Thriller video?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:50 PM on May 1, 2007


I believe that at least two of the Democratic candidates, if elected with a Republican House and Senate, would pre-emptively strike Iran if they had real evidence that Iran had developed nuclear weapons and had a reasonable delivery system.

Certainly, these candidates have given me every reason to suspect this to be so. Other office-holders have done things that were just as stupid. Why shouldn't I worry if they will drop the bomb?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:58 PM on May 1, 2007


No way. Zombies require a temperate climate.

iran has banned alcohol ... you can't get more temperate than that
posted by pyramid termite at 9:01 PM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Save for retaliation against a direct nuclear attack from another country, I am confident not a single Democratic candidate would ever launch nukes.

Kennedy, a Democrat much more to the left than any of the current slate, was willing to launch on significantly less provocation than that during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:02 PM on May 1, 2007


2) hillary wouldn't hesitate nuking iran for a second

Then Hillary is not only a dangerous psycho, but also an idiot who doesn't understand what nuclear weapons actually do in addition to blowing things up.

Any candidate who won't just say "I promise not to use nuclear weapons" is stupid and does not have the diplomatic skills necessary to be president. What, you don't think that in a closed and never-revealed meeting with foreign leaders the president can't just say "yeah, that was a campaign promise, and you can check my record for how many other campaign promises I've already broken -- so ask yourself: Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?"
posted by The World Famous at 9:05 PM on May 1, 2007


It should be a fucking no-brainer for a candidate to commit to not nuking anyone.

Because historically voters respond well to both honesty and pacifism.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:08 PM on May 1, 2007


Then Hillary is not only a dangerous psycho, but also an idiot who doesn't understand what nuclear weapons actually do in addition to blowing things up.

Sometimes people get pushed into a corner and do things they didn't plan to do.

Any candidate who won't just say "I promise not to use nuclear weapons" is stupid and does not have the diplomatic skills necessary to be president.

A candidate who made this statement would immediately lose a lot of votes as "soft".
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:10 PM on May 1, 2007


23skidoo; I'm not suggesting anything about voters - voters are obviously morons. I'm also not suggesting that what I describe would ever really be said by a politician running - but I do know it's dishonest and insane every time politicians hint that nuclear weapons are somehow reasonable or useful in our world.
posted by odinsdream at 9:52 PM on May 1, 2007


I want to thank metafilter for the deconstructionist lesson I've gotten today. What a brilliant derail, to analyze what a candidate did not say that he would not do. Refusing to name a specific plan for international diplomacy with a specific country nearly 2 years before he might take office, and specifically keeping his options open, can be quite menacing as I have learned.

With my new deconstructionist chops, I can now successfullly understand that:
MR. GRAVEL: Tell me, Barack. Who -- Barack, who's -- who do you want to nuke?

SEN. OBAMA: I'm not planning to nuke anybody right now, Mike, I promise you.
Really means
MR. GRAVEL: Tell me, Barack. Who -- Barack, who's -- who do you want to nuke?

SEN. OBAMA: I'm not planning -- right now -- not to not nuke Iran. But since you asked if I wanted to and I didn't answer it directly, you got me. Yeah, I have a real jonesing to nuke Iran. I want to nuke 'em.
posted by cotterpin at 9:31 AM on May 2, 2007


Any candidate who won't just say "I promise not to use nuclear weapons" is stupid and does not have the diplomatic skills necessary to be president.

This doesn't make any sense to me, unless your implication is that campaign promises are essentially worthless.

When your military is stuck in an intractible quagmire that is severely hampering its effectiveness, saying that you will never use the only other thing nuclear arsenal, is pretty much tantamount to announcing to the world that rogue states are free to do as they wish without fear of reprisals. Whether or not you ever intend to use your weapons of destruction or not, whether you think the US is itself a rogue state or not, such a posture would be incredibly stupid diplomatically, regardless of how many votes it got you, or how good it made you feel.
posted by psmealey at 9:44 AM on May 2, 2007


unless your implication is that campaign promises are essentially worthless.

Bingo.

is pretty much tantamount to announcing to the world that rogue states are free to do as they wish without fear of reprisals.

You mean without fear of nuclear reprisals. And that's fine. Nuclear weapons are ineffective, anyway. There's no viable strategic reason ever to use them. You can blow up just as much stuff with conventional weapons. The reason nukes are scary isn't because they blow the enemy up so effectively -- it's because they create uncontrollable and unacceptable collateral damage that lasts long after the conflict has ended. Anyone who thinks that nukes are ever a strategically viable option doesn't understand what nukes are.
posted by The World Famous at 9:52 AM on May 2, 2007


I agree, TWF. But, I think threatening to use nukes has less to do with a real strategic option than it does playing brinksmanship with teh crazy.
posted by psmealey at 9:56 AM on May 2, 2007


When did you stop nuking your wife?
posted by staggernation at 9:58 AM on May 2, 2007


XQUZYPHYR: Your point is well made, and I'd tend to agree entirely if not for the fact that the US military continues nuclear weapons development. I'd be concerned about the US trying out the low yield bunker buster type nukes in a preemptive strike. This is not at all outside the realm of possibility and wouldn't be as inconceivable as Zombies or high yield nukes at population centers. This is what I think concerns yonderboy, et al.

However, seems to me Obama's comment was more indicative of his disdain for Gravel. It was patronizing more than anything else, and was certainly not an indication of a working plan to nuke Iran, etc. His response was less about the nukes and more to the effect of "whatever you say, senile old man, stop ranting already."

Non of the cadidates want to tie themselves down to a promise about what they will and won't do in a war - they'd lose their negotiating advantage.
posted by creeptick at 2:55 PM on May 2, 2007


Non of the cadidates want to tie themselves down to a promise about what they will and won't do in a war - they'd lose their negotiating advantage.

Really? You think that when world leaders have close-door meetings negotiating things, the foreign leaders tell the U.S. President that they think he's bluffing because several years earlier in a debate one time he made a campaign promise that the foreign leader is just sure the President will keep no matter what?
posted by The World Famous at 3:15 PM on May 2, 2007


Really? You think that when world leaders have close-door meetings negotiating things, the foreign leaders tell the U.S. President that they think he's bluffing because several years earlier in a debate one time he made a campaign promise that the foreign leader is just sure the President will keep no matter what?

Actually, at this point--yes. After Bush's warmongering and incessant lying, we need our leaders and potential leaders to be concise and clear and strong without being warmongers slavering to invade or bomb or nuke others. The world is hating us, and we can't keep on this track. The world knows that as well as us.
posted by amberglow at 4:24 PM on May 2, 2007


Actually, at this point--yes.

At this point you think that world leaders call Bush out based on statements he made about national defense when he was running for President in 1998? I don't.
posted by The World Famous at 4:44 PM on May 2, 2007


Many if not most world leaders did in fact call Bush out and flatly refused to be part of our little Iraqi adventure or to support him in the UN--that's why the entire administration got all nasty about "old Europe" and French fries/freedom fries and stuff. For years they've been calling him out because not only were his actions contradicting his own words in the past and his administration's own words during the runup ("i don't want war", "i'm a man of peace", etc), but they contradicted America's own actions in the past too (supporting Saddam, giving him WMDs, not going into Baghdad during Gulf 1, etc), and it's only now that Merkel's in that we're starting to repair anything (and that's only because she's making it a priority--not us, God knows why)

Leaders have lost their jobs because of support for Bush (see Spain, for just one example). Leaders have ruined their party's chances in elections (see Blair/Labor right now, for just one example). ... If the candidates do get elected, their words matter and endure. "No nation-building" was just one of Bush's thrown back at him, if you'll recall. All of their statements, esp about foreign policy, get thrown back at them if they break them. Think Nixon and Vietnam.
posted by amberglow at 6:30 PM on May 2, 2007


Plus, with every single utterance on youtube or elsewhere for the whole world to see forever, that will only ensure the staying power of their statements. There are no more throwaway lines or "flubs"-- Candidates know that.
posted by amberglow at 6:32 PM on May 2, 2007


Most diplomats are highly aware of the difference between things said to domestic audiences for electoral reasons and things actually meant.
posted by Firas at 6:36 PM on May 2, 2007


All of their statements, esp about foreign policy, get thrown back at them if they break them.

As you say: If they break them. I don't think Obama would ever break a promise not to nuke anyone.

Based on your post, I imagine the following future dialogue:

President Obama: [Rogue state X] better not develop nuclear weapons, or we'll nuke them!

[Rogue state leader]: No you won't! See this clip on YouTube where you said you didn't want to nuke anyone! A-ha!

President Obama: You got me there. In that case, will firebombs do, or would you prefer some other method of complete destruction? We have several, and while I'm not stupid enough to think that nukes are a viable strategic option, I am certainly willing to use lots and lots of other weapons that will kill you just as dead.

[Rogue state leader]: Um. Ok.

Maybe next time someone asks Barry what "all options on the table" means, he can say "the one option that's never really been on the table for the Bush administration is effective diplomacy. That's the option that's been missing, and that I would be sure to include on the table."
posted by The World Famous at 7:20 PM on May 2, 2007


i wish he had said that instead of trying to out-butch Hillary. it was sad.

Bush's statements as candidate came up a lot when they were selling Iraq: Whopper of the Week: Ari Fleischer: Gaslighting the press about nation-building … again. (i remember Chirac or Villepin too, speaking of it at the UN or somewhere, and in the UK they did too--certainly the foreign media brought it up.)
posted by amberglow at 7:46 PM on May 2, 2007


We have several, and while I'm not stupid enough to think that nukes are a viable strategic option, I am certainly willing to use lots and lots of other weapons that will kill you just as dead.

This is why it's beyond dumb to even hint at nukes to destroy someone else's planned or existing nuke industry. Hillary and Obama should realize it's also not what most Americans want to hear after so much warmongering and blustering and fearmongering shit from this administration all the time.
posted by amberglow at 7:52 PM on May 2, 2007


very related: The Ideological Animal--
We think our political stance is the product of reason, but we're easily manipulated and surprisingly malleable. Our essential political self is more a stew of childhood temperament, education, and fear of death. Call it the 9/11 effect.

...
posted by amberglow at 7:56 PM on May 2, 2007


Excellent analysis of William's awful questions and GOP framing at the last debate from Daily Howler
posted by amberglow at 9:10 PM on May 2, 2007


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