After the Democratic presidential candidate debate in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Gravel made a comment that spoke to a basic fault line in political funding. Meeting the press directly after the debate, Gravel said he regretted that debate moderator Brian Williams had not asked about hedge funds.
“Every one of those people except Kucinich is taking hedge fund money. Hedge fund money is the manipulation of the economy overseas and nobody knows anything about it…. If the world economy tanks, it’s going to be because of the hedge funds.”
The deeply perverting impact of political fund raising is highlighted in Gravel's remarks.
The presidential debate was revealing in many ways. First of all it revealed the bias towards the so-called "front runners" who have the giant campaign war chests. The format was definitely targeted to the candidates with not all candidates being asked the same questions. Therefore certain "presidential" questions, like "What would you do if two American cities were attacked by terrorists on the same day?", were only asked of Obama, Clinton, and Edwards, as if they were the only ones capable of answering that question.
Still, even with the biased questioning process, the candidates did reveal themselves.
Our hero Dennis Kucinich ably presented the reality check of the debate. Though former Senator Gravel was energetic and refreshingly feisty and mostly there with the right points, none of the other candidates, even Gravel, would dare to support Kucinich's call for the impeachment of Vice-President Cheney. This showed that only Kucinich is in touch with the American people and the other candidates are still without the moral courage to do the right thing. By refusing to indicate that Cheney should be held accountable Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Biden, Dodd, Gravel, and Richardson all show their contempt for holding elected official responsible for lying to the American public to start an illegal war.
Clinton was asked if she agreed with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comment that the war is lost, and typical of Clinton, she dodged the question and didn't say whether she agreed or not, whether the war is lost or not. Gravel had the courage to say clearly and correctly, "This war was lost the day that George Bush invaded Iraq on a fraudulent basis."
Clinton said, again, that if she knew then what she knows now she would have voted differently, and Kucinich said that is no excuse because all the information was available then to everyone, and that is why he voted against the war. He said,
"If you made the wrong choice, we're here auditioning to be President of the United States, people have to see who had the judgement and the wisdom not to go to war in the first place. ... This isn't American Idol here, we're choosing a President and we have to look at the audition that occurred in 2003... and my colleagues here made the wrong decision."This is the point that makes the most sense in deciding my choice. Edwards is to be congratulated for saying he is sorry for his mistaken vote, but Clinton won't even say her vote was a mistake. Only Kucinich can say he has consistently voted against the war and funding it and had ability to correctly analyze the situation and vote accordingly.
Gravel, of course hasn't been in the Senate in the last 10 years or so, and he should get full credit for pointing to Clinton, Obama, Edwards, and Biden for saying that nukes are on the table against Iran. Gravel said that was an immoral position.
Edwards says he does live a "privileged and blessed lifestyle" but we should remember his humble roots because he remembers them. This highlights a problem with Edwards' in that he equates his privilege with being blessed. Being privileged does not mean one is blessed. To see wealth and privilege as signs of being blessed is a core problem with most religious belief systems.
Kucinich said he wants to remove war as an instrument of policy. This is the fundamental problem that the "front runners" won't address as a systemic problem arising from the military-industrial complex because they are beholding to that war-money-making machine.
The "debate" mostly was not an actual debate in the sense of addressing each other's positions except for a few brief exciting moments such as when Gravel pointed to the candidates who immorally threaten the use of nuclear weapons against Iran by using codes phrases like "no option is off the table". But still, there is a lot information provided in the forum provided by MSNBC. No one can be a responisible voter without doing the homework of comparing the candidates.
Kucinich alluded to the biggest problem in elections, which is that too many voters approach them like a vote for American Idol and actually pick a candidate based on how he or she dresses or how attractive the person is, or they vote for the one they think has "the best chance of winning." If people really voted for the candidate that they thought expressed the greatest convergence with their own views, then I think Kucinich would have a real chance.