Phil Gramm, former Texas Senator and one-time Presidential candidate, said the following in an interview with the Washington Times:
"You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession. We may have a recession; we haven't had one yet. We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline. We've never been more dominant; we've never had more natural advantages than we have today. Misery sells newspapers. Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day."
Barack Obama was quick to respond, "America only has one Dr. Phil. When it comes to the economy, we don't need another one. It's not just a figment of your imagination, it's not all in your head."
Phil Gramm has been advising the McCain campaign, and they were also quick to distance themselves. John McCain has issued assurances that he is not considering Phill Gramm for any high level positions:
"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."
We'll give Phil Gramm the last word:
"When I spoke of whiners at my breakfast with the Washington Times on Wednesday, I was talking about American leaders who whine instead of lead. I was talking about leaders who blame speculators and oil companies for high oil prices and yet have no proposal to produce more energy here at home, leaders who think we can't compete with even Mexico and believe that we should build a wall around America and go hide under a rock somewhere. Certain too many members of Congress and the Barack Obama campaign fall into the category of whiners. We don't need whining. We need leadership."
A few comments (OK, we gave Phil the second to last word):
(1) We have become a nation of whiners. It's just not a good platform to campaign on. On the other hand, you can call Belarus a nation of whiners and not lose any votes.
(2) Misery isn't selling enough newspapers. The newspaper industry is under assault by the internet, and is losing. On the other hand, if the country elects Barack Obama, the newspapers are sure to start singing a happier tune.
(3) I'm reminded of a wonderful Phil Gramm quote from his 1984 Sentate campaign, "Has anyone ever noticed that we live in the only country in the world where all the poor people are fat?" I don't know if Phil has noticed that Americans are getting fatter. That must mean we are getting poorer.
(4) Barack Obama is no whiner. Neither is Hillary Clinton (OK, she has whined occassionally, but consider the provocations). John Edwards is a whiner. Ron Paul is a big whiner. John McCain is a little bit of a whiner.