I know who I am voting for.
Mike Gravel -- the man who ended the draft (and therefore the Vietnam War) and entered the Pentagon papers into the public record -- joined a small group of UCLA law students for dinner Friday night.
Gravel is the first candidate I've heard come out in support of the Wiener platform, my proposal to eliminate our country's stupidest policies. (I did not ask him not know how he feels about the penny). He has a plan to end the war (stop fighting it), and has both the best environmental record of any on candidate (he cosponsored much of our key environmental legislation in the 70's) and the best plan for new solutions (a carbon tax).
But Gravel is thinking even bigger than that. He wants to change the way we write laws and the way we tax ourselves. His real motivation for running is to draw attention to his National Initiative for Democracy, a popularly ratified constitutional amendment that would institute a version of California's initiative process at the national level. The plan eliminates the worst feature of California's system by making it a crime to spend any corporate dollars in campaigns. Of course, it still has some drawbacks, as Gravel admitted. For one, people are kind of stupid. However, unlike legislatures, they have no need to raise massive amounts of money and have more freedom to fix their mistakes.
Gravel has been shut out of recent Democratic debates, because he hasn't met the arbitrary and disturbing standard of needing a million dollars, clearly designed to keep him out. (This is a perverse reversal of spending limits that other jurisdictions employ). As he is unlikely to solve that particular problem if he keeps spending 2.5 hours with a handful of students, look for him next at a Dec. 10 afternoon rally outside NBC studios.