After six rounds of balloting, he Libertarian Party yesterday picked former Republican congressman Bob Barr to be its presidential candidate. Barr, a former U.S. representative from Georgia, defeated fellow Libertarian candidate Mary Ruwart by a vote of 324 to 276 on the final ballot.
Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, who recently abandoned the Democrats to join the Libertarian Party, was eliminated after he placed fourth with 73 votes in the initial balloting. Gravel, ever gracious in defeat, indicated that this would be the end of his accomplished political career, saying, "I just ended my political career. From 15 years old to now, my political career is over, and it's no big deal. I'm a writer, I'm a lecturer, I'm going to push the issues of freedom and liberty. I'm going to push those issues until the day I die."
Senator Gravel became disillusioned with the Democratic Party after he was excluded from all but the earliest presidential debates after failing to meet fund-raising and/or polling requirements. He said the Democratic Party no longer represented his values because of its support of the Iraq War, the military-industrial complex, and American imperialism.
Senator Gravel will be remembered for his awakening of the America's collective conscience when he read 4100 pages of the text of the Pentagon Papers into the Senate record of his Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds. The importance of recording the Papers to the Congressional Record was that, Article I, Section 6 of the United States Constitution provides that "for any Speech or Debate in either House, [a Senator or Representative] shall not be questioned in any other Place", thus the Senator could not be prosecuted for anything said on the Senate floor, and, by extension, for anything entered to the Congressional Record, allowing the Papers to be publicly read without threat of a treason trial and conviction.
Among a host of other governmental wrongdoings, the Pentagon Papers revealed that the US deliberately expanded its war with airstrikes against Laos, coastal raids of North Vietnam, and U.S. Marine Corps attacks - before President Lyndon B. Johnson informed the American public, though promising to not expand the war.
The Gravel for President 2008 Campaign mailed the following message to supporters of Mr. Gravel:
We want to thank you for the support and dedication that has sustained us throughout Mike's campaign. Yesterday, Mike knew that his career in politics would either continue through November or end at the Libertarian convention. Though Mike's career in active politics is now over, we know his message does not end here.
The message of empowering the people transcends any candidacy. It transcends any individual, but draws right from the people and their infinite well of creativity. To quote James Wilson, the wisest (and Mike's favorite) of The Founding Fathers, "All power is originally in the People and should be exercised by them in person, if that could be done with convenience, or even with little difficulty."
The answer has been there all along. Don't look to representative government alone; look to yourselves. Promote the National Initiative, share it with others, and encourage them to sign on.
As for Mike, he will continue to write and speak on the issues, promote the National Initiative as well as his books coming out this summer. They include The Kingmakers, co-written with Professor David Eisenbach, an analysis and polemic on corporate media and how it distorts our political dialogue, including Mike's own campaign. A Political Odyssey, co-written with Joe Lauria, is an examination of Mike's career in politics, his personal life, his fight against the Military-Industrial-Complex and the rise of US imperial power. There is also The Voice of A Maverick, a compilation of Mike's speeches and writings from his presidential campaign.
Again, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the unwavering support, and will keep you informed of Mike's efforts to bring peace, freedom, and love to our society. We salute Senator Gravel's service to our country, and eagerly look forward to what the future holds.
The message is simple. Power to the people. Give peace a chance. It's up to us to share it.
Our deepest thanks and gratitude,
Jon Kraus & Skyler McKinley
Deputy Campaign Managers
Mike Gravel for President
I would like to congratulate Mike Gravel for his years of dedicated public service and I wish for him to enjoy the peace he has sought to bring the American people through his courageous career.It is unfortunate how it seems that those who are most qualified to lead our great country are also those who, because of our corrupt government, are least likely to be elected. God bless Mike Gravel!