Posted: August 13, 2007 5:35 PM
Gravel Champions Nationwide Voting on All Bills
Former Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, hit two Democratic forums last week — the YearlyKos bloggers’ convention and the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group. He missed the AFL-CIO debate because he did not turn in paperwork on time.
At the bloggers debate in Chicago, he spoke about his National Initiative for Democracy, a proposal for nationwide popular voting on all legislation.
He drew applause when asked whether the candidates would have a blogger in the White House, by responding that the next president should be his or her own blogger. “Why hire someone?” he said. “Do it yourself.”
Gravel described his voting initiative, which he believes will fix the government system by returning power to the people, and his initiative to end the Iraq war in an interview with Diane Rehm on National Public Radio on Aug. 8.
During the hour-long show, he commented on his history as a “maverick” politician, dating back to the 1970s when he entered the Pentagon papers into the Congressional Record. “I wasn’t conventional then and I’m not now.”
On Aug. 9, Gravel attended a debate in Los Angeles hosted by the Human Rights Campaign televised live on cable channel Logo. Gravel was one of the two candidates, including Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who spoke in favor of gay marriage. “Marriage is a commitment between two human beings in love. And if there’s anything we need in this world, it’s more love,” he said.
“I resent religion saying that [marriage is] a religious term. It’s not,” he continued. “Marriage preceded all forms of religion in civilization. Marriage is a commitment between two human beings in love. And understand me; I’m saying two human beings.”
Gravel used the debates to berate the stance of his fellow candidates, “They’re playing it safe. They’re not going to earn — they’re not going to lose any votes over not being for marriage, whatever their excuses are. They’re going to win.” He maintained his position is a risky one, “This is costing votes for us. I don’t care. I don’t want those votes.”
On Tuesday, Gravel plans to appear on Gay USA, a show aired on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network in New York that focuses on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues. He then plans to campaign through the week in New Hampshire and Massachusetts and head to Iowa for another debate on Aug. 19.