Mike Gravel is a former Democratic United States Senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981, and a former candidate in the 2008 presidential election. He is chiefly known for his efforts in ending the draft following the Vietnam War and for putting the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971.
Born in 1930 to immigrant parents in Massachusetts, Gravel enlisted in the Army in 1951 and served in West Germany. A self-stated dyslexic, Gravel was educated at Columbia University%u2019s School of General Studies in New York, where he drove a taxi to support himself. Gravel's first steps into politics were in the Alaska House of Representatives, before he won his party's nomination to the U.S. Senate in 1968. During the 1980s, after Gravel lost his senate seat, he worked as a real estate developer, consultant and stockbroker.
Gravel is a strong supporter of direct democracy, and specifically, the National Initiative, which refers to proposals to allow for ballot initiatives at the federal level.
Question: Is flip-flopper a bad word?
Mike Gravel: What the word “flip flopper” denotes is the fact that people wanna be elected so bad . . . they want this power so bad that they’ll say anything to get it. And all you gotta do is watch some of the politicians, and my god it is flip, flip. They’re just jumping right across the board. And they’re all doing it. They’re all doing it. On the democratic side, I think that probably you’ll see a little more consistency with Dennis Kucinich; but he’s got other problems. He’s liberal . . . politics as usual on the liberal side, but he’s the best of the bunch. And so on the other side . . . But you see them. They change. Now it’s very important to realize that . . . And I’ll say this about Edwards. You know Edwards voted for the war, and I find him extremely sincere about the fact of the mistake he made. And so I really take his sincerity straight away. That flip flopping? No not for me. Edwards was not flip flopping. He was informed by experience, and we all are. And that’s the advantage I bring to the presidency. I’m informed by experience, and I’ve got a lot more experience than all the others put together.
Recorded on: 10/23/07