Posted: September 5, 2007 6:04 PM
Blogs Debate Gravel's Candidacy
Mike Gravel may have gotten a reputation in the general public as one of the most liberal Democratic candidates, but not all liberal bloggers are behind the former Alaskan senator.
Mark Moulitsas of the liberal blog Daily Kos called for barring Gravel from the remaining Democratic debates. “Mike Gravel is a waste of our time,” Moulitsas wrote in an Aug. 7 post. “[He’s] a running joke.”
But Peter Beinart of the New Republic came to Gravel’s defense. In the Aug. 27 issue, he wrote, “Gravel’s sin? He’s impractical. It’s not just that he doesn’t have a prayer of becoming president — it’s that he doesn’t seem to care.”
Beinart went on to say, “The sophisticated argument for outside agitation, for staking out an extreme position and refusing to budge, has always been that it empowers the pragmatists. … One day in the not-too-distant future, Markos Moulitsas may realize that Mike Gravel isn’t such a waste of time after all.”
Gravel, meanwhile, called for an overhaul of the American education system in an Aug. 30 op-ed in the New York Sun.
“The reason why presidential candidates don’t offer true solutions to our education crisis is because they lack the courage to be honest with the American public, or the teachers unions,” he wrote.
Gravel’s recommendations included the use of school vouchers, scaling back summer vacations, beginning high school at 13 years and ending at 16, and extending the school day to 5 p.m. for students 10 and older. He also suggested new forms of tuition assistance for college students and publicly funded technical training for all students who do not intend to go to college.
In other news this week, Gravel visited legislators in Alaska seeking “support and cash, from the state that launched his political career,” according to the Anchorage Daily News. He met with various groups, including Commonwealth North, about energy issues and Alaska’s future.
On this same visit, Gravel sought to correct a claim attributed to him in the 1970s. In the Aug. 28 Anchorage Daily News, Rosemary Shinohara wrote, “For any of you out there who thought he proposed a Teflon dome over Mount McKinley back in the 1970s, that’s not true. … He only wanted to create a community near Mount McKinley that would be covered with a dome, similar to a Teflon tent pavilion that he’d heard about at the Olympics held in Montreal.” She went on, “Mike Gravel is not really an idiot. Just a man with a different world view.”
Gravel wrapped up the week with an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher with singer John Mellencamp and Barbara Bodine of the U.S. State Department. Gravel discussed the arrest of Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, the potential candidacy of former GOP Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, the environment and U.S. policy on Iraq.