February 5th, 2007 by alex
Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK) stunned the democratic audience today with a scathing attack on what he called “politics as usual.”
The senator established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the race for the democratic nomination for president.
Gravel, who began his speech by thanking Chairman Howard Dean for his own opposition to the Iraq War during his candidacy, told a packed house; “I plan to speak truth to power today. You, the delegates, have the power to decide who will be the Democratic nominee. I also plan to speak truth to the American people, who have the power to choose the next President of the United States”
Gravel, who during his two terms in the U.S. senate, established himself as an outspoken critic of government corruption and secrecy. He officially released the “top secret” Pentagon Papers a government study that covered the initial U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and the lies and unauthorized actions of several Administrations. Gravel, told the audience that he felt entitled to raise the issue as he spoke “truth to power” during his time in the senate.
“I officially released the Pentagon Papers, and as a result, Richard Nixon sued me all the way to the Supreme Court. I successfully filibustered to force an end to the military draft. I filibustered alone and with others to end the appropriations for the Vietnam War. Those are my credentials. I’ve been there and know how hard it is to oppose the majority of your peers.”
He then asked that other candidates be held to the same standard.
Senator Gravel, referring to President Bush as “a President consumed with messianic purpose” spent much of the speech addressing the war in Iraq.
“Given the extreme importance of any decision to go to war, and I am anguished to say this, it’s my opinion that anyone who voted for the war on October 11––based on what President Bush represented––is not qualified to hold the office of President.”
“If we don’t bring our soldiers home now, what do we tell the families of those killed and maimed between now and some future arbitrary date? The sooner we get our military out of Iraq, the sooner we can turn to the international community to help with a diplomatic solution to bring an end to the sectarian civil war we caused.”
Senator Gravel addressed the democrat’s role in authorizing the war.
“The Democrats controlled the Senate on October 11, 2002 and provided political cover for George Bush to invade Iraq. The Senate leadership could have refused to even take up the resolution, or a few Senators who opposed it could have mounted a filibuster.”
“But the fear of opposing a popular warrior President on the eve of a mid-term election prevailed. Political calculations trumped morality, and the Middle East was set ablaze. The Democrats lost in the election anyway, but the American people lost even more. It was politics as usual.”
“Saying ‘I would not have voted for the resolution if I had known the mess it would create’––or worse, saying ‘the decision was right but Bush botched the job’––is inadequate rationale for a person who may hold the most powerful political position in the world.”
Gravel spoke of the goals of the founding fathers.
“Our Founders envisioned the People and their political leaders working together to nurture these goals and to shape these concepts from generation to generation. Unfortunately, early on, in a compromise to perpetuate the evil institution of slavery in the Constitution, the People lost their power to amend the Constitution and make laws. The compromisers knew the People would not ratify a Constitution that legalized slavery and would outlaw it if they had lawmaking powers. The results of this moral compromise brought about the primacy of representative government and its monopoly on lawmaking power.”
The senator ended with promoting his plan for direct democracy, the National Initiative.
“We, the People are the fount of all political power. We have the right to propose and to enact the National Initiative for Democracy––a legislative package that includes a constitutional amendment and a federal statute that empowers Americans as lawmakers. A majority of Americans, about 60 million, will have to vote for it in order to become the law of the land. The National Initiative does not abolish representative government, but it adds another Check to our system of Checks and Balances––We, the People.”