Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Sen. Mike Gravel Headshot

Russert's UFO and other Debate Mysteries

Posted: Updated:

A few thoughts on last night's debate:

* "Where's Mike?" Isn't it amazing that GE and NBC could suddenly drop me from the debates and none of my opponents would even comment on it? It's like Stalin's Russia when someone would just stop showing up for work but no one in the office dared to ask; "Hey, what ever happened to Ivan?" What does it say about the state of American politics and the Democratic Party when our presidential candidates don't have the guts to question a TV network?

* Sticks and Carrots? Great to see Edwards and Obama finally challenge Clinton for supporting the march toward war with Iran. For months I've been educating the public about this phony crisis. My many Huffington posts and my "I'm ashamed of you, Hillary" moment in the last debate got me in big trouble with the power elite. But last night's Hillary-bashing rang false. Was it based on genuine disagreement or just political calculation? Obama, after all, refused to vote on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment. And last night I still heard a lot of tough talk from almost all the candidates about never allowing Iran to go nuclear, keeping all options on the table and "sticks and carrots." Sticks and carrots? Maybe a good way to start diplomacy would be to show the Iranians some respect and stop referring to them as donkeys that must be bribed or beaten into compliance.

* Tim Russert's UFO. Once again Russert assumed his role as the establishment's Hatchetman. Last debate, he sandbagged me with the bankruptcy question. This time he clocked Dennis with the UFO. When is Russert going to ask Hillary about the billing records or the cattle futures during a debate? Russert is America's most overrated journalist (Wolf Blitzer's a close second). Russert failed to challenge administration flacks in the lead up to Iraq (remember, he was one of Scooter Libby's go-to journalists) and now he's joined the drum beat for war with Iran. Last night he repeatedly pestered the candidates: "Will you pledge that when you're president, Iran will not develop nukes?" Was that a question? A twisted mantra? Or was it a demand for a profession of faith that we need to bomb Iran? Talk about trying to undermine diplomacy. Enough of Tim Russert!

Last night's debate showed that my campaign has reshaped the national debate about Iran. This is exactly what the warmongers and profiteers feared -- an aggressive opposition with a national platform. And this is why I wasn't invited last night.

But I'm still the race and I've been invited to other debates. I hope that if another network suddenly decides to exclude me, maybe I'll get some support from the candidates who are now following my lead.