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Party elites are wrong to bar candidates such as Mike Gravel from debates

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Message Mary MacElveen
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In a previous piece, I wrote where the Michigan GOP Chair, Saul Anuzis tried to censor Representative Ron Paul who is a Republican presidential candidate by barring him from any future debates.


The reason for this censorship is that Anuzis was angered when Ron Paul confronted Rudy Giuliani in a prior debate explaining the reasons behind the terror attacks of 9/11.  Paul has often asserted that the reason for these horrific attacks is blow back stemming from our foreign policies over the years.


In that particular piece which drew anger from many Democrats for this GOP move, I wrote, “We must not let any party leaders dictate who can and cannot take part in their debates.”


As a result of Anuzis actions, the various political lists that I am engaged in exploded in anger and wrath towards this party chair.  I must say that Anuzis rightfully deserved it.  In that particular piece, I called for many to call Anuzis demanding that he back down and many emails that came into me, stated they would do so.  What happened as a result is that Anuzis did back down.  That is the way it should work.


In the past few days Democratic presidential candidates, Senator Hillary Clinton and former Senator John Edwards are too looking to cut others out of the Democratic debates.  But what astonishes me is that some within the Democratic Party are in agreement with their stance.  These same people who railed against Anuzis for his actions are now in agreement with both Clinton and Edwards.  I find that hypocritical.


In fact a supporter of Senator Clinton’s sent me last night in an email, Steve Huntley’s piece, Keep the wannabes out of the debate. Prior to circulating this article out, she has sent me in previous emails attacking former Senator Mike Gravel.  She feels that he is a “non-entity” whose sole purpose is to confront Democrats which is similar to what Paul did in confronting Giuliani. 


When I explained to her his courageous move to single handedly confront a powerful president in Nixon in which he filibustered to end the draft in 1971 thereby saving countless lives, her response was, “I do not care what he did thirty years ago” In this day and age where many are trying to end the war in Iraq, we could use more senators like Gravel instead of people who will acquiesce to the president.


Just recently, the citizens of this country became enraged when it came to the ‘Grand Compromise’ piece of legislation dealing with immigration which was backed by President Bush, Senators McCain and Kennedy.


What I found astounding is that all current and sitting senators such as Hillary Clinton who are running as Democrats, voted in favor of this bill.  Where were the voices of Clinton supporters condemning her for this vote?  The silence was indeed deafening.


In the MSNBC Democratic debate, Senator Mike Gravel confronted Senator Barack Obama for his statement in front of an AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) meeting in which Obama said, “We should take no option, including military action, off the table, and show strong support for Israel’s actions in last summer’s war against Hezbollah,”


In speaking truth to power similar to how Paul confronted Giuliani in the GOP debates, Gravel responded to Obama with this statement, “With respect to Iran, we’ve sanctioned them for 26 years. We’ve scared the bejesus out of them when the president says they’re evil. Well, you know something? These things don’t work, they don’t work. We need to recognize them. And you know something, who is the greatest violator of the Non-Proliferation Treaty? The United States of America. We signed a pledge that we would begin to disarm, and we’re not doing it. We’re expanding our nukes. Who the hell are we going to nuke?”


When party elites look to bar these candidates from future debates, often we learn more from these lower-tier candidates than the front runners.  In my piece written after the MSNBC debate, Give the gavel to Gravel, I mentioned his remarks made at the previous DNC Winter meeting, “The decision to wage preemptive war in Iraq raises the specter of a much deeper problem facing the global community––nuclear proliferation. On this issue, we should first look at ourselves. The U.S. has more deliverable nuclear devices than the rest of the world combined. Just one Trident nuclear submarine can hold the entire world hostage. Yet we continue to build more nuclear devices. Who in the world are we prepared to nuke?”


Are any of the other candidates speaking out in this way informing the American electorate?  The only other candidate that has sought to inform us is Rep. Dennis Kucinich and he too is being targeted and labeled as a lower-tier candidate.


In response to Huntley’s ‘Wannabe’ piece, I took time to write a letter to the editor of the Chicago Suntimes and this is what I wrote in part, “We must remember that this election belongs to the people and not to the party and media elites who push one candidate over another thereby creating the top tier, second tier and third tier candidates.  Each candidate has a message and most likely the lower tier candidates do not stand a chance at raising the needed funds to run a formidable campaign because more air time and print space is given to the front runners.”


I then ask a powerful and pointed question within this letter, “Who do these party elitists think they are?” This is what sickens me when it comes to party politics is when they would look to quash the differing voices and opinions of others.


One has to believe that supporters of these ‘lower-tier’ candidates on both sides of the political aisle are feeling great umbrage at these front runners looking to take their candidates out of any debate.  In fact, I would suspect that supporters are looking at these front runners seeing the sheer hubris on their part.

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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog I have been published by, and I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
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