Mike Gravel, Mike Gravel, where have I heard that name bef-- oh yes, there really is a Mike Gravel (emphasis on the last syllable, like "hotel"). His given name was Maurice, one can see why he took up "Mike." And he really did seek the Libertarian Party nomination for President of these United States -- back in 2008, having previously sought the Democratic Party nomination for the same position earlier in the same election cycle. He failed in both nomination efforts. In the Democratic effort, he was allowed into only a few debates before being shut out for polling too low, even before the long slog between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was even conceptually underway. In the Libertarian primaries, he never really registered once Bob Barr was a candidate and sucking up all the oxygen in the room.

Oh, Mike Gravel wasn't always so.... irrelevant. In fact, he was a former US Senator, having held that office as a Democrat from the state of Alaska from the tail end of the 60s to the dawn of the 80s. But, since Gravel was already 77 years old by the time the 2008 Democratic primary debates had begun (and seemed to be wandering around in an "old man" fugue from time to time), it was fairly difficult to take his candidacy seriously, even when he offered the most sober warnings about America's overseas entanglements, or when he had occasion to display still-quick wit on some points. And this was nothing new for Senator Gravel, who had used his senatorial office to rail against the draft and the war in Vietnam, and to ensure that the Pentagon Papers would be opened to the public.

Mike Gravel was all about democracy. He was keenly interested in getting people out there and involved, in protecting the right to vote and then haranguing people into exercising it. It is not all that surprising that he made a jump which would seem to traverse the whole of the ideological spectrum in going from Democratic to Libertarian candidacies.

So whatever other Mike Gravel's there may be out there, remember that the original Mike Gravel was.... well, an original!!



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