Like many other Americans, I’ve been sorely disappointed with what the Democrats have done since regaining control of Congress in the 2006 elections. Bush hasn’t been impeached, violence in Iraq is increasing, and the illegal federal wiretapping program continues. Somewhat similarly to the Republican primaries, only one candidate in the Democratic primaries is speaking out against the war in Iraq- Mike Gravel.
Gravel: those presidential candidates that are standing up with me, they’ve got the power to end this war and they’re not doing anything about it. And that in my mind is immoral, because as we we’re talking then, as we’re talking now, George, human beings are dying
He was one of the first voices of dissent against the war in Vietnam, and at one point, he held a one-man filibuster against the draft. Though unpopular at the the time, it does add some weight to his denunciations of hypocrisy in the current Democratic elite. Unfortunately for Gravel, he is gaining little traction online, or off.
Stephanopoulos interviews the long-shots:
Mike Gravel’s interview starts at (7:58)
ABC News: This Week, July 8th
SEN. GRAVEL: (From tape.) We have to have a president who has moral judgment.
Most of the people on this stage with me do not have that judgment and have proven it by the simple fact of what they’ve done.
SEN. GRAVEL: It’s not their personal life I was talking about. I was talking about the fact that those presidential candidates that are standing up with me, they’ve got the power to end this war and they’re not doing anything about it. And that in my mind is immoral, because as we we’re talking then, as we’re talking now, George, human beings are dying and American soldiers are getting their bodies blown apart and we’re killing Iraqis, and there’s no reason for it. We can stop that. And so if they aspire to be president, they ought to show some leadership in the Congress right now to end it. And I’ve given them the tools to do this with, and they don’t pick up on it.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The tools to do this with? You want to have the president criminally indicted.
SEN. GRAVEL: Oh, yes. Only if he doesn’t end the war. Well, stop and think now. They’ll say “well, Hillary is classic. Oh, we don’t have the votes.” What do you mean you don’t have the votes? You go get the votes by the scruff of the neck.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: They’re not there now.
SEN. GRAVEL: They are there now. They are there now, George. And how you get them is real simple. You turn around and you have a vote on cloture every single day, seven days a week. You cut out the August recess, and then when it comes back and the president vetoes this law, you turn around and have a veto override every single day –
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The strategy does come from your own personal experience, doesn’t it?
SEN. GRAVEL: That’s right.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Vietnam.
SEN. GRAVEL: Vietnam, filibustering, being tough.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: You had a one-man filibuster against the draft.
SEN. GRAVEL: That’s right. Five months, and there’s no draft in the United States today, and I’m proud that George Bush does not have the boots on the ground to invade Iran.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: You also read the Pentagon papers into the Congressional record.
SEN. GRAVEL: (From tape.) The papers prove that for 20 years, and certainly for the last 10 years, we have been victims of our Southeast Asia policy, not masters of it.
SEN. GRAVEL: You didn’t think that I was treated like a skunk at the party back then? And of course, now we look back “well, my God, this person showed courage.” I could have gone to jail.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: It was an emotional time.
SEN. GRAVEL: – show leadership, and the Lee Iacocca’s title for his book is “Where Have all the Leaders Gone.” Well, George, this leader is back, and I’m a tough leader and I’m going to hold all of these other people accountable. They want to be president? Let them show their bona fides to be president.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve said that no person who voted for the war is qualified to be president. That knocks out Hillary Clinton. That knocks out Joe Biden.
SEN. GRAVEL: That’s right.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: That knocks out Chris Dodd.
SEN. GRAVEL: That’s right.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: That knocks out John Edwards.
SEN. GRAVEL: That’s right. And it will knock out Obama if he doesn’t shape up and help end the war now, because if he wants to show he’s a leader, you do it in the Senate where he is. He’s got power.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: He voted against the funding.
SEN. GRAVEL: Hey. They voted four times. He and Hillary voted for this vote that meant nothing on the water bill. What does that mean? That means you’re standing there and this is a symbolic vote. Hypocrisy is what it is, George: hypocrisy. People are dying, and they’re interested in the symbolic vote? Give me a break.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The strategy you followed in the 1970s did eventually end the war. You cut off funding, the war ended, but a lot of Democrats fear that the party paid a price. And it kept them out of the White House for years.
SEN. GRAVEL: Well George, you just put your finger on it. What’s more important? Getting office or doing the moral thing and stop people from dying? I’ll tell you, if that’s the sacrifice we’ve got to pay to stop these Americans from dying and killing these Iraqis, I’ll pay that sacrifice every day of the week.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I’ve been watching you in these debates and you seem to be having the time of your life.