by Jordan Zakarin
Former Democratic Senator and long-shot Presidential candidate Mike Gravel announced today that he would seek the Bull Moose Party’s nomination for President after his initial shoe-string campaign failed to create much of a ripple in the Democratic primary.
Seeking to raise his platform, the Alaskan is now vying for the nomination of a party that has been inactive since 1916; it served as the vehicle for Theodore Roosevelt’s independent run for the White House in 1912. In a sparsely attended news conference at a local lake, Gravel promised to “walk softly and carry a big stick” and turn back the clock to “an old era of progressive change.”
Admittedly “exasperated” with a lack of media attention during his campaign for the Democratic nod, Gravel lashed out at both the party’s establishment and the news media, saying the two were “in cahoots” in conspiring to keep his Weetabix-fueled message from reaching the public. Professing a longtime distaste for “that tub-clogging manatee” President William Taft, Gravel shifted his focus from the party he caucused with in his 1970’s Senate career and towards a new, if dormant, political party.
Gravel’s speech was filled with what he called “square deal” solutions to tackle the real problems of the early 20th century, saying the Bull Moose Party platform most closely mirrored his own beliefs.
“For far too long, both of our parties have been controlled by big, corporate special interests, like big coal and the railroads. I intend on making robber barons like the Vanderbilt’s and Rockefeller’s pay their fair share, and I will personally see to it that this new canal in Panama allows our world class Navy to fulfill our imperialist dreams.”
Whether Gravel will convince enough Bull Moose voters that he will adequately represent them in November is still in question, however. Having earned 402 total votes, all in the New Hampshire primary, during his run for the Democratic nomination, mathematically he would seem to have the Bull Moose nomination locked up. However, with the party’s last delegate having passed away in 1942, it may be an uphill climb for Gravel to actually earn the right to represent the Bull Moose brand in 2008.
“There are few scenarios that could see him seal the nomination,” NBC Political Director Chuck Todd commented. “One of which involves him making seance-like contact with a majority of late Bull Moose superdelegates — which may or may not be that unusual of a task for Gravel.”
Late reports speculated, however, that the Alaskan may have competition for the nomination; presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, looking to bolster his image as a Republican hated by Republicans, may make a late play for the party endorsement. Late Wednesday, an aide to McCain noted his boss’s recent public warnings about what he saw as German leader Kaiser Wilhelm’s dishonest intentions, and important issue to some 1912-era voters.