From The Dallas Morning News:
WASHINGTON – Texan Phil Gramm handed John McCain a huge headache Thursday by calling America a “nation of whiners” whose economic complaints are mostly “mental.”
“Phil Gramm does not speak for me. I strongly disagree,” Mr. McCain said, trying to tamp down the problem caused by his longtime friend, who holds a doctorate in economics and taught the subject at Texas A&M before moving to Congress.
In a campaign in which the economy is the top issue, Democrats pounced on the comment. They said Mr. McCain is ill-informed on economics and out of touch with the struggles of ordinary Americans.
“I guess what he meant was, it’s a figment of your imagination, these high gas prices,” Barack Obama told supporters in Fairfax, Va.
The former senator’s suggestion that much of Americans’ economic pain and uncertainty is psychosomatic came in an interview with the conservative Washington Times. “You’ve heard of mental depression. This is a mental recession,” he told the paper. “We have sort of become a nation of whiners. … You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline.”
Mr. Gramm, a budget hawk in Congress who’s known Mr. McCain for decades, played a key role in rescuing the campaign a year ago.
Asked if he still would consider Mr. Gramm for Treasury secretary or another top administration post, he said, “Senator Gramm would be in serious consideration for ambassador to Belarus, although I’m not sure the citizens of Minsk would welcome that.”
It was probably a joke, but he never cracked a smile.
Then Shecky McCain added, “I’ll be here the whole week. Tip your waitress. Try the veal.” He thinks that tipping a waitress will solve the economic crisis.
The fact that Mr. McCain’s headache came from Mr. Gramm was a bonus for Democrats, who have been pointing to recent news reports tying some of the Gramm legislative legacy, including banking deregulation, to the mortgage crisis, the Enron debacle and other problems.
Mr. Gramm didn’t respond to an interview request placed through aides at UBS, the Swiss banking firm where he is vice chairman. But he called the Washington Times on Thursday to clarify he wasn’t criticizing the public. Rather, he was faulting “American leaders who whine instead of lead. … Certainly too many members of Congress and the Barack Obama campaign fall into the category of whiners.”
Of course it’s the fault of members of Congress and the Obama campaign! It’s not like Chimpy and his war that costs $5,840 per household, $2,147 per person, and $341.4 million per day had anything to do with it! You know, that war that your buddy, Captain Underpants, wants to continue.