The Eclectic Quill

July 10, 2008

Gramm Crackers…and Nuts!

Filed under: Politics — Kelly @ 5:08 pm

Phil Gramm is crackers and Jesse Jackosn is nuts:

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–Phil Gramm

"See, Barack’s been talking down to black people on this faith-based—I want to cut his nuts out."–Jesse Jackson

By now you’ve probably heard, Gramm thinks you’re a whiner living in a nation of whiners. Somehow, in watching CNN this afternoon, I saw this being compared to Jesse Jackson wanting to cut off Obama’s "nuts". I can see the similarities, both are affiliated with the campaigns they embarrassed, at least that’s what they told me on the TV . Which would all be well and good were it true. Gramm is indeed quite involved with the McCain campaign, and is in all probability the architect of McCain’s economic policy; but Jackson’s ties to the Obama campaign are loose, and at for the most part at least once removed. And oh yes, Gramm did indeed embarrass McCain but Jackson embarrassed no one but himself, and maybe his son. Furthermore, looking at the content of their statements and subjects of their attacks we see further differentiation. While Jackson attacked Obama, Gramm lashed out at the entire nation, blaming us for the economic woes.

[amazonify]B000EXRSVM[/amazonify]Perhaps it’s just someone trying to be clever, as though these two things were somehow choreographed to have symmetry, seeing what is not there. Perhaps it’s the media’s self imposed need to try and "balance" negative with negative to avoid appearance of bias. Perhaps it’s just raw stupidity, but the bottom line is that these are two entirely different stories. Jackson is a trite, confused, faded political figure with little to no meaning any more. What weight he had was lost when he started talking about castration (a comment I might add if it were made by a white man would have Jackson calling a press conference). The comment has as much relevance to the Obama campaign as Jackson, which is none whatsoever.

However Gramm’s comments on the other are quite significant. His statement is obtuse and ignorant. Compare McCains statement with   Martin Feldstein, a member of the Nantional Bureau of Economic Recession, the government group which actually determines whether we are in a recession or not, "I believe the U.S. economy is now in recession. Could this become the worst recession we have seen in the postwar period? I think the answer is yes. I would emphasize the word could." So we are in a recession now and we could be in the worst one since WWII, i.e. since the Great Depression. That’s not good folks. That’s not whining. That’s legitimate concern shared by a majority of economists that we are either in or headed for a recession .

Whether the architecht of McCains ecnomic policies wants to admit the reality of a recession is only moderately disconcerting though. Of greater concern is the the exposure of the underlying faulty paradigm of the entire Repbulican party’s platform–that the economy is not about policy but about perception. They want to convince us that the President has no control over  the eoconomy, not a bad strategy when you consider the reltaive acheivements of the two party’s respective Executives. Put another way the chief problem with Gramm’s statement is not in what he said, but in what he believes. Phil Gramm actually thinks the only problem with the economy is that we just don’t believe in it. In designing McCain’s policies are we to suspect that that eronious ideology was divorced from him? I doubt it. In essence what that statement tells us is that the same sort of thinking that thought that credit card spending would solve everything is the thining that McCain would put forth for another four years.

Obama recalled McCain’s recent "phsychological" statement in reference to the economy. On the surface I thought it specious. However as I explored as to why it was I had the realization that in actuality it was dead on. McCain, deep down, whatever jokes he might want to make about ambassadorships as he throws Gramm under the proverbial bus, believes that the problems of the economy are going to  be solved by a good cup of feel good. It seems the person who once asked the  upper class to sacrifice for thier country too has forgotten the lessons he once taught.

You quite simply can’t keep taking more from the middle class to prop up the upper class under the pretense of free enterprise. It’s time to stop using "regulation" like a dirty word. Regulation is why we don’t support child labor. Regulation is good for the economy because by and large it is good for the middle class, and what’s good for the middle class is good for the economy. Regulation is good bladgummit! What this country needs is not a good cup of feel good but a good dose of regulation, and probably in some cases that needs to come with a pinch pf prosecution! The problems that caused the recession are real. The solutions are equally real. Today’s events show us that McCain doesn’t have substance to his policy because he doesn’t believe the problems are  substantive. That’s  what the media should be focussing on instead of bizarre coincidence.



  1. George H. W. Bush said something similar about the “nation of whiners,” which apparently only comes up when people are whining about the economy in a Republican administration. People are encouraged too take umbrage and complain about other things at other times, like immigrants and loose morals and those damned hippies.

    There’s an old word game where you try to construct a sentence with three similar words, one pejorative, one neutral, one positive, e.g., He wines, she complains, I protest.

    Comment by Kurtis — July 10, 2008 @ 5:55 pm | Reply

  2. Nice post backell, this is my first-time visit…thanks for telling us of it over on I love the site!!

    Comment by 2012wph — July 10, 2008 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

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