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Mike Gravel--maybe you recall him--switches parties and few care

You won't want to go to bed tonight without knowing this:

Mike Gravel, the former senator from Alaska whose campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in recent months was virtually invisible and free of any impact whaFormer Alaska Democratic Senator Mike Gravel and ex-presidential candidate in happier days before he announced his switch to the Libertarian Party March 25, 2008tsoever, has packed up his political bags and taken them to the Libertarian Party.

According to the website Third Party Watch, which as you might expect watches third parties, Shane Cory, executive director of the Libertarian Party, confirmed tonight that Gravel was switching parties and that a formal announcement would be made within hours and immediately ignored by most Americans.

A statement elsewhere on the same website quoted Gravel as saying, "I'm joining the Libertarian Party because it is a party that combines a commitment to freedom and peace that can't be found in the two major parties that control the government and politics of America.

"My libertarian views, as well as my strong stance against the war, the military-industrial complex and American imperialism, seem not to be tolerated by Democratic Party elites who are out of touch with the average American."

Just 11 days ago Gravel announced his endorsement of Green Party candidate Jesse Johnson for president.

The campaigns of John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul and Barack Obama were obviously caught by surprise tonight and so stunned by the party-switch announcement that they issued no immediate responses.

The Third Party website also quoted another almost-forgotten politician, former Republican Rep. Bob Barr, who has joined the Libertarian Party virtually without notice as well, as welcoming Gravel and noting, "I too concluded Republicans had lost their core principles, and could no longer associate myself with the GOP."

Meanwhile, Gravel's old Democratic presidential campaign website still seemed to be accepting donations in case you feel like helping out. "My campaign," its homepage says, "has never needed you more than now."

-- Andrew Malcolm

Comments () | Archives (16)

The comments to this entry are closed.

You're correct, going up against a biased media and age discrimination definitely looks quixotic. But so did David going up against Goliath, or American colonies going up against England.

Gravel has an important message: that the people should ultimately have a say in the running of their own country, and what is done in their name. Empowering people thus would actually benefit all third parties, so it is in their interest to support Mike, or at least his legislation.

Ultimately, the third parties don't have to win this election, but to use their "spoiler" leverage to get some concessions that will make elections more fair in the future.

Yawn. Did he signal his party switch by staring at the Libertarian Party leaders and then throwing a rock into a nearby lake and somehow expecting that to mean something to them?

neat trick.

The MSM stops covering someone, then says they're forgotten.

makes sense to me.

Get ready for the gravelanche! I miss that old coot in the debates.

It would appear that all those unsuccesfull candidates,
looking for a shoulder to cry on,find it in Mr. Malcolm's
articles, except for Ralph Nader,who seems to be persona
non-grata. Well I guess it's not easy to be the Mother
Theresa of the Times.

Okay, you get the award for best lin:
"The campaigns of John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul and Barack Obama were obviously caught by surprise tonight and so stunned by the party-switch announcement that they issued no immediate responses."

Hope it gets repeated early and often.

Wow, I love the irony of this article.

The premise:
"No one will notice that Mike Gravel switched parties"

The truth:
He noticed, and now all his readers noticed.

If this is what it takes for minor parties and candidates to get noticed then pass me a party affiliation form( oh yeah, I'm not running ).

Mike Gravel committed, in the eyes of the mainstream media, an unpardonable sin during the Democratic debates he told the truth. You see the more you lie and the less you know, the more the MSM likes and covers you.

Hang on - look at the right-hand banner on This Very Blog!

Clinton, Hillary
McCain, John
Obama, Barack
Paul, Ron

Where's Mike Gravel?! Where's Ralph Nader?!

I blame the Bildergerg Group, Bohemian Grove, David Icke, Skull and Bones, and New Republicans in general (list in formation).

It appears that the Libertarian party is not big enough to
absorb all the adulterors and sex perverts of the democratic party. How else would you explain Gravel's
leaving out that category He critisises the war mongers,
the military industrial complex and American imperialism
but fails to mntion the dems Godlessness and moral
turpitude. No wonder his campaign hit the skids so fast.

This kind of dismissive "oh, he's not *popular*, so why should anyone care what he says or does" media coverage is helping to degrade the political dialogue in the United States. Is it too much to demand that journalists focus on substance and ideas for a change? Is this what you were taught in journalism school, Andrew Malcolm? Would your role models be proud of you for this kind of article?

why this new whopper of censoring craftsmanship in a case where the 'victim' of the hit piece is not even remotely near of representing a 'threat' to the corporate fascist media? amazing.

Nobody noticed? You folks took the time away from Hillary's Bosnia trip and Obama's pastor to publicize this item by writing a snarky and surprisingly mean-spirited piece about it. If Gravel -- a guy who actually brings creative and generally refreshing ideas to the table -- and his decision are so unworthy of coverage, why cover it, and at such length?

What's weird about this is not that it happened, but that it happened after Gravel had already endorsed a candidate for the Green Party nomination (Jesse Johnson). Gravel's very lefty/progressive beliefs are no match for the laissez faire Libertarians by any means.

As for your swipe at Bob Barr, five minutes of research on the web would have turned up what he's been doing over the last few years. "Almost forgotten?" Not quite. Not running for office and not being on the front page of the LA TImes on a regular basis aren't the same as being forgotten.

DNC/RNC have exposed themselves.
Clintons v McCain = Clintons.
Dynasties & Coronations.
Not this time -
not even as VP...

gravel kucinich paul nader
cynthia mckinney too

dare speak truth
demand peace

Of course no one cares. He's not one of those liberal interventionist/neocon crazies that are infringing on our natural rights, destroying our economy through Military Keynesianism, resulting in the "Iraq Recession." If you don't take up the "white man's burden" you don't exist politically except for something to be made fun of by ignorant yellow journalist.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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