If you watched the CNN/YouTube Democratic Presidential Debate, you remember the grizzly voiced and emphatic “follow-the-money” accusations from one sprightly 77-year-old, former-Alaskan senator, Mike Gravel. He was the guy leaning on Congressman Dennis Kucinich all the way over on the far left that you wished was your batshit crazy uncle that livened up Thanksgiving dinners, not your president.
That may have been one of the last times you turned on your TV to see Gravel running in the same esteemed circles as Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. Like the equally “unelectable” Kucinich, the unconventional politico wasn’t invited to future debates and party functions. Mainstream media outlets and Democratic Party Chair, Howard Dean Machine didn’t deem the presidential hopeful a legitimate candidate.
So, what’s one to do when he’s lost access to old media and his own party doesn’t given him an opportunity for free speech? Easy. Make some sweet, sweet YouTube videos and become a Libertarian.
Before he lost the favor with the Dems, Gravel wasn’t a stranger to quaint online video propaganda. Rock features the former senator in uncharacteristic silence chucking a sizable stone into a Southern California lake (it makes ripples, get it?), and in power to the people vs. give peace a chance (above) he honestly addresses his broadcast media and party-imposed silence in front of School House Rock style cartoons.
Cool, I know, but it wasn’t until Gravel became a card-carrying Libertarian that his videos ascended into awesome.
Uploaded by elusive YouTuber rx2008 (who mashed up a great George Bush rendition of Sunday, Bloody Sunday) and the theme song for an equally elusive The Party Party, Helter Skelter is the best online video I’ve seen associated with any presidential nominee.
Choosing to cover a Beatles song associated with the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, accented with images from the War in Iraq isn’t exactly a subtle metaphor, but it gets the point across. And most importantly, Gravel delivers a Shatnerific performance that would make even the young thespian jealous.
It’s loud, it’s loony, and it’s just as effective as any traditional campaign video that uses a lot of platitudes and clichés to say a lot but mean nothing. Maybe having that crazy uncle in the Oval Office isn’t such a bad idea. In the least, he’d be entertaining.