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TNR Embarrasses Itself Again on Mike Gravel

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Message Michael Leon

- via MAl Contends

Weird and skin-raising-yucky receiving the The New Republic Online's "This Week in Politics” e-mail June 14.

The New Republic’s e-mail includes an item entitled “Debatable ” by the editors subtitled that “America doesn't need to hear from Mike Gravel.”

Mike Gravel, of-course, is the former Senator from Alaska who famously read into the congressional record the Pentagon Papers, that laid out the lies before and during the Vietnam War that ultimately cost some three million lives, and wreaks havoc even today on untold millions more, including 100,000s of Vietnam-era veterans whom the Veterans Administration is trying to shaft on VA beneits. That’s a bad thing, TNR.

In TNR’s unenthusiastic reporting of the early debates by the presidential candidates, the editors (ignoring the inordinately inane) single out the substancial former Senator Mike Gravel:

These days, the debates often resemble the audition round of 'American Idol ' where the talented and crazy alike vie for their 15 minutes of fame and maybe a little profit afterward. And, thus, debate time must be found for a specimen like Mike Gravel ("Who the hell are we going to nuke? Tell me, Barack. Barack, who do you want to nuke?").

Golly gee, I found the former Senator Gravel’s reluctance to nuke human beings insightful and worthy; no, basic towards establishing a sane and humanistic US foreign policy.

But TNR, who endorsed invade-Iraq and we-need-the-Patriot-Act Senator Joe Lieberman for president (nice call there), complain of the debates, rightly, that “Moronic episodes like this one are what make a joke of the concept of real debate--which entails people thinking aloud and challenging one another's ideas. What we get instead are mongrel hybrids combining the worst of press conferences (evasive answers without the tough follow-ups) and campaign speeches (platitudes with no pretense at substance).”

But when Senator Gravel (and Congressman Dennis Kucinich) actually injects some intelligence and challenging of neocon assumptions into the debate, TNR folds like so much joking Joe Momentum.

TNR ought to consider listening to Gravel and Kucinich who were spot-on accurate on the Iraq war and Patriot Act, among other Bush idiocies, and think, and to borrow from TNR:

Raise your hand if you find TNR idiotic for ridiculing the presidential candidates who have been proven correct time and time again as 100,000s of more lives are destroyed by the very imbecilic Bushian idiocies supported by The New Republic.

Just a thought.


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Michael Leon is a writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. His writing has appeared nationally in The Progressive, In These Times, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at
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