The Gravel Video Library, explained!

I just talked to Mike Gravel again a few minutes ago. The former U.S. Senator from Alaska, who spent Tuesday evening in Berkeley, got 6,606 votes Tuesday in California, finishing dead last – behind five candidates no longer in the race – with 0.16 percent of the vote. But the returns don’t interest him.

“I haven’t watched anything. That gives you an idea how much credence I put into the whole process,” he said.

I’d called him today to get an answer to a question I’d failed to ask when I saw him last night, a burning question I’m sure has haunted political wonks and YouTube junkies from coast to coast: What’s the deal with those bizarre campaign videos?

“The metaphor for the rock is very simple: You focus on something you want to do with your life, you go do it, you hope it has an effect on someone – that’s the ripples – and then you go off to your demise,” he told me. “Kids got this, young people got this metaphor in the heartbeat – it’s the super-duper big pundits who don’t understand it.”

OK, sorry.

Gravel said the metaphor for the campfire clip is that you go out into the world and collect wisdom (the firewood) and you kindle a fire with it to share light and heat with the rest of humanity.

And the bike-and-dog clip? “Don’t feel bad, I don’t think I get it still,” he admitted.

In fact, he said, he came up with the metaphors for the first two clips only after they’d been filmed by Matt and Gus, a pair of 24-year-olds from Los Angeles who’d convinced Gravel to take part in their film project.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.