‘I Like Mike’: Direct Democracy Meets ‘Reality’ TV

Joe Mathews reports:

Former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), the leading proponent of a national initiative process, wrote recently to supporters about his new enterprise: a TV show called “I Like Mike” in which Gravel is president. From Gravel’s missive:

“Earlier this fall Eliot Fisher, a creative young writer from New Mexico,
asked if I was interested in doing a TV comedy series, a sharp satire on
the political establishment, via the fantasy of a Mike Gravel
presidential administration, a cross between the political drama of The
West Wing (in fact we will be using all of the West Wing sets) and the
melancholy comic realism of The Office (with an occasional hint of the
absurdity of Dr. Strangelove and Bulworth). The documentary style of the
show (see The Office) is achieved by embedding as part of the show
itself a French Canadian documentary film crew.

“The documentary or rather “mocumentary” style of the show is ideal to
enlarge the knowledge of viewers on political issues beyond the
slapstick, throw-away lines and celebrity interviews of existing
political comedies and is considerably less expensive to produce since
there is no audience involved. The show will lampoon the Administration,
the Congress, the political parties, the military, the media, the wars,
foreign governments and the cultural foibles of the public. It will
serve as an antidote to the corporate-controlled mainstream media babble
that passes for civic debate in our country.

“I Like Mike, the title of the show, will appear initially in a weekly
half-hour format distributed by cable or standard network and digitally
via CDNs (content delivery networks) on the Internet, e.g. via Hulu,
YouTube, Netflix, iTunes, and video podcasts from our own website. I
will play myself and act no differently than I did during the
presidential debates. My presidential staff (chief-of-staff, press
secretary, etc.), permanent characters on the show, will be improv
comedy actors who will play off of and react to my positions and antics
on the issues.”

24 thoughts on “‘I Like Mike’: Direct Democracy Meets ‘Reality’ TV

  1. Robert Milnes

    If Gravel had won the LP nomination-& how did an ex u.s. Representative trump an ex U.S. Senator anyway?- & pure sweet Mary accepted vp, that ticket would have been a fusion ticket with enough ballot access to win. & very well might have if campaigned properly. Barr should have been a true gentleman & withdrawn. A lot of irony & tragedy in real life to offset the show comedy.

  2. Troll Police

    Milnes, why do you refer to Dr. Ruwart by her first name, but refer to two male candidates by their last name? If you don’t have a good reason for it, then it can be considered patronizing.

  3. Robert Milnes

    Mr. Troll Fuzz, I do not particularly care what you consider about my comments. Patronizing? No. Ruwart has been called the libertarian sweetheart or some such. I’ve had contact with her & was not favorably impressed. Obstinate is the word I would apply to her. I’ve not had contact with Gravel. I tried but was intercepted & patronized by his then campaign manager Skyler. I’ve not had contact with Barr either but my views on him are well publicized in IPR comments. About the same contemp as for Ron Paul. If Gravel, Barr & Paul have nicknames/references such as Ruwart’s, I’ll be glad to give them equal & appropriate consideration in comments.

  4. Troll Police

    That Dr. Ruwart has a history of being patronized is not a valid reason to patronize her. This should be obvious to any authentic “progressive”.

  5. Jay

    I agree with R. Cooper. There was nothing that was libertarian about Gravel’s campaign. Barr may have an anti-libertarian past but at least he campaigned on mostly libertarian principles.

  6. Vaughn

    Any chance of actual politicians being guest stars? Like cabinet members. I’m sure that if Gravel was elected he would have chose Kucinich for something.

  7. Brian Holtz

    It’s possible to spin Gravel’s positions as libertarian, but he wasn’t much interested in doing so. When he announced, I wrote to his campaign:

    I originally thought you had no chance in the LP race when you announced your switch, as I had assumed you advocate socialized health care and socialized public schools. Then I saw your videos on health care and education. Delegates will want to hear you emphasize competition, markets, and consumer choice. A lot of us moderates favor vouchers as an improvement over the status quo, but LP radicals consider vouchers to be socialism. Radicals also oppose pollution/carbon taxes, but we moderates are fighting to make the LP tolerant of such market-based policies. Radicals oppose the FairTax, but many LP members and delegates are fans of it. Most delegates will be skeptical of the National Initiative. The best spin would be to claim that it can be used to repeal old laws and not just write new laws.

  8. Austin Battenberg

    I’d argue that Gravel is more libertarian then Barr. Gravel is better on personal issues, but worse on economic issues then Barr, but on foreign policy is is much more of a non-interventionist then Barr. Also, he seems better able to run a campaign on a shoe string budget, and spend the money more wisely then his right leaning counterpart.

    Just because Gravel has some liberal instincts, doesn’t mean that he is a liberal. I would argue that he is certainly more libertarian then Kucinich, who I also liked during the 2008 election. Anyone who is for peace and civil liberties can obtain my vote.

    No candidate will ever be perfect.

  9. LibertarianGirl

    Gravel may not be the purest Libertarian , but he did something I didnt hear Barr or any other candidate do , he swore if he was nominated he would campaign on our platform and stick to it stringently.

    I believed him when he promised that . Also , he has an actual history of standing up against the government and calling our corruption where he sees it . Plus he would have been a strong pull from the left , whereas the LP has almost exclusively drawn from the right for some time now. these are the reasons Necvada voted for him at convention.

    having said that , there is NO WAY Barr is more Libertarian. Barr has actually denied people freedom and put them in cages for crimes that should never be crimes. Gravel has not. Sometimes you gotta step away from what people say and look at what they do .

    Gravel would have made an excellent candidate and I hope he tries again.

  10. Austin Battenberg

    @12 Well, I agree that he was one of the better Senators during his day, and he is one of the few to truly fight against corruption, however, as a candidate I thought he was rather weak. I like Gravel, and would vote for him, but realistically, he did have a personality that would turn off some voters. I’m sorry, but he isn’t presidential. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t important to the cause, or shouldn’t have a voice, but just like Root or Barr, or many other well known libertarians, perhaps it would be better to run in a election that is more local. He could run for senate again, or run for the House of Representatives. Much easier to campaign in a smaller locale.

  11. Ross Levin Post author

    Gravel has said he’s pretty sure he’s not running for office again. He’s working on projects like “I Like Mike” now.

  12. Brian Holtz

    I heard Barr stand up for the platform on TV after the nomination, but I never heard Gravel mention the platform ever. I do remember him getty quite testy under questioning from some Libertarians. As soon as he was eliminated by the fourth ballot in Denver, Gravel seemed to disengage from the LP. He did later sign up for at least one LPCA fundraising dinner, but his daughter went in his place, saying he wasn’t feeling well.

    Gravel wasn’t going to win the White House for the LP, but he could have been an effective spokesman for libertarianism — if he wanted to. However, he seemed more interested in being a spokesman for his National Initiative.

  13. Robert Milnes

    Troll fuzz @5, references to Ruwart as the LP’s sweetheart are from libertarians as veneration not patronization. My criticism of her is not patronization. Do you see patronization everywhere?

  14. Jake

    Funny thing is I think Gravel’s best shot of getting his views out there (NI4D) was being Nader’s running mate.

    I believe a Nader/Gravel ticket would have done a lot better than the ticket of Nader/Gonzalez for a few reasons.

    1) Gravel has some sort of personality compared to the very dry Ralph Nader, I have heard he isn’t as dry as the mass media makes him sound.

    2) The Gravel team already, with little to no Demoncratic backing, was able to raise up to 500k.

    3) Gravel already had a team of people in a few states and at the national level.

    4) Gravel had previously debated Clinton and Obama which would have gained him some serious coverage during the end of the primaries and during October.

    5) Gravel was a former Senator which would make the argument for a more fair three way debate easier.

    Of course this all speculation, but if we are going to discuss how Gravel could have ran in 2008 that, to me , was the best option given.

  15. Steven R Linnabary

    Clearly a Gravel/Barr ticket would have been ultimate for the LP. But that’s just a far off memory of a dream.

    Personally, I am excited for the show. I hope it does well.

    Now that “My President is Bartlett” bumperstickers are mostly gone, will we soon see “My President is Gravel” bumperstickers in the future?


  16. Melty

    Yes, nothing interests Gravel more than being a spokesman for National Initiative. I think “I Like Mike” may be the best way he’s come up with yet for doing that.

  17. Seán

    So many dickheads more concerned about the definition of libertarian than about what’s going on. Any fucking idiot who complains about socialized medicine is in fact a retard. Just ignore their insane horseshit and forget about their irrelevant stupid idiocy.

  18. tiradefaction

    As one of the few people who voted for Mike Gravel in my state’s democratic primary, it’s nice to see him back with something. I missed my regular Gravel fix.

    On the whole LP nomination run, it was pretty clear he wasn’t a libertarian (not that I mind, neither am I really) in the LP sense, and simply was running in an chance to get on the ballot, and continue to run his campaign to spread word on the N4ID (also heard he was trying to raise more money to get out of debt from his democratic primary run, but that’s unconfirmed). Honestly, I thought that the run was a mistake, I knew the libertarians would not be accepting of his platform, given the extreme anti tax/any government regulation/social program views of the right wing libertarian movement. He’s also when asked, said he no longer associates himself with any party.

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