|Interesting Mother Jones profile of Gravel.|
Where was it on here that someone was asking what a left-libertarian would look like?
Yet to progressives of a certain vintage, myself included, Gravel is hardly an unknown. During the 1960s, he was somewhat notorious for making public the Pentagon Papers, fighting nuclear testing and nuclear power as well as the Vietnam War, and cutting legislative deals that helped stop the draft.
Born into a working-class French Canadian family in central Massachusetts and educated in Catholic schools, Gravel moved to Alaska after serving a stint in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps in the 1950s. He worked as a brakeman on the Alaska Railroad and made some money as a property developer on the Kenai Peninsula before winning a seat in the state legislature and then the U.S. Senate. He lost that seat in 1980—the election that would send Republican Frank Murkowski to Washington— and has been largely absent from the political stage for a quarter century. When I met with him last week, he wasted no time before getting down to a few admittedly radical bits of business, chief among them his proposal to eliminate the income tax and the IRS and replacing them with a national sales tax.
Along with getting rid of the income tax, Gravel wants to "bring control of government into hands of the people," by which he means setting up a national initiative system allowing citizens to bring proposals to a popular vote. He insists, somewhat optimistically, that the American people would back gay marriage, if given the chance in a national initiative vote. Ditto on the war on drugs
Such proposals might be familiar fringe-candidate fare, but it is on the issue of the Iraq war that Gravel could prove embarrassing to the Democratic mainstream by relentlessly pointing out that Democrats could stop the war—if they choose to exercise their legislative power.