Back in the olden days, when GOP presidential candidate John McCain admitted he knew nada about economics, he brought in failed presidential candidate and former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) to burnish his cred. Gramm's main contribution to date? Either fearlessly telling the truth or being a headline-grabbing, poll-killing idjit. You decide:
McCain was already running into a stiff headwind because of an ailing economy, and his task only became tougher after former senator Phil Gramm…suggested that the United States has "become a nation of whiners."
Gramm, who has helped shape McCain's presidential campaign and is a close friend of the candidate, expressed no regret on Thursday for the comments he made in an interview with the Washington Times, saying: "I'm not going to retract any of it. Every word I said was true."
McCain's official response?
Gramm "does not speak for me. I speak for me. I strongly disagree," McCain said during a press availability here, which took place at the same time Gramm was wrapping up a discussion with the Wall Street Journal editorial board about the candidate's economic program.
"The person here in Michigan who just lost his job isn't suffering from a mental recession," McCain added. Asked whether Gramm would play a significant role in shaping economic policy in a McCain administration, the senator joked: "I think Senator Gramm would be in serious consideration for ambassador to Belarus, although I'm not sure the citizens of Minsk would welcome that."…
For the first time since August 2002, the Labor Department said, every metropolitan area registered unemployment rate increases over the previous year, with Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn leading the way with a 2.1-percentage-point leap. The region lost 47,400 payroll jobs, nearly double the next highest job-loss total, in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area.
I almost think McCain should lose for the Belarus joke alone.
What say you, Hit & Run readers? Are we a nation of whiners? Or a nation of winners?
John McCain's eight greatest gag lines.
Bonus: In a 1978 reason article, Phil Gramm, then an economics professor at Texas A&M wrote:
"We might rely on collectivism to produce goods that we don't really need and goods we have a lot of substitutes for; but those things that we must have—that we cannot live without, at least in the manner in which we choose to live—those things have got to be reserved for private production, not government production."
Click here to see exactly what changed Gramm's mind in 1997. The answer may surprise you.