A few days ago, my good friend Winter Patriot introduced me to a virtually unknown Democratic candidate, Mike Gravel. Gravel was largely ignored during the Dems first TV debate, but still managed to make a big splash on the Net. At first I was suspiscious that Gravel could be running as a Howard-Dean-type flop, and info about him is still thin on the ground, but he has articulated one idea which I think could be very big indeed:
DECLARE THE IRAQ WAR ILLEGAL!
It's a brilliant strategy... if the Dems can pull it off. Pelosi could call on the troops to disengage and prepare to withdraw immediately; an investigation of who (???) started this illegal war could get underway (impeach!); and best of all (from a handwringing Democrac point of view anyway), the most atrocious mistake in US history would forever be known as the Bush GOP's FAULT!!!
Declaring the war illegal would also ensure that the USA was held legally responsible for reimbursing the Iraqi people for all the loss and suffering it has caused. So much the better!
Gravel may not go far, but maybe this idea of his could go all the way. And maybe it could even take him with it. Of course, declaring the war illegal presents a major problem for people like Hillary Clinton, who voted for it, so maybe the Dems won't touch it...?
Anyway, that's the Democrat side of the field, what about the GOP? Major Repug candidates are uniformly atrocious at the moment, and none of them are rating in the polls. They all have so much baggage it's not funny, and even Big Media is stuggling to make them sound credible. That's leaving a big, gaping hole for a minor candidate who can call the GOP back to their traditional (remember "small government"?) values.
Enter Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. This time I'll let Antony Loewenstein handle the introductions:
Last week’s Republican debate surprised many and produced an unexpected winner by a huge margin.Gravel's experience of being ignored in the TV debate was very similar to Paul's (at one stage he complained, "I feel like a potplant up here"), and his surge of support is likewise coming from the Netroots. I doubt Gravel can knock over both Clinton and Obama (who I like: but he is playing old-fashioned Washington politics, which I hate).
Ron Paul has injected a great deal of excitement from both sides of the political spectrum, which is remarkable given how little time he was given to speak by Chris Matthews...
Ron Paul is is the only truly conservative candidate in the traditional sense. He is the only candidate dedicated to restoring the constitution, cutting spending (i.e putting an end to corporate welfare), ending foreign intervention. He was after all, the only candidate who voted against the Iraq war.
Of all the candidates, he is the only one who has not flip-flopped on any issue he has stood for. Paul’s no nonsense message is resonating with the public, from where his support is now emerging.
Little wonder that big business and lobbyists are so afraid of him.
I hope Gravel's idea to declare the Iraq War illegal has some legs. And I suspect Paul may one to keep an eye on.
As ever, you heard it here first. Well, actually you might have heard it at WP's blog, or AL's blog, first, but you definitely heard it here, right?