Phil Gramm is “dead-on right,” said Yael T. Abouhalkah in the Kansas City Star. America has become "a nation of whiners." The top adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain got in trouble with his boss for saying it, but it’s undeniable that we’re complaining about gas prices after ignoring years of warnings to buy more fuel-efficient cars, and that despite our gripes about high food prices our groceries are the cheapest in the civilized world.
It's true that America's economic fundamentals remain strong, said Ross Douthat in his blog at TheAtlantic.com. But Gramm’s insistence that we’re in a “mental recession” fueled by media hype about bad economic news is just another example of how Republicans always insist that “everything’s fine,” while Democrats “tend to go way overboard exaggerating how dire things are.”
Maybe, said Stephanie Kirchgaessnerin the Financial Times, but Gramm's words threaten to undermine McCain’s attempt to “burnish his economic credentials this week in some of the hardest-hit states in the U.S., including Ohio and Michigan.”
That makes Gramm’s comments a gift for Barack Obama, said Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post’s The Fix blog. “Political campaigns—especially at the presidential level—are all about the construction of a narrative for voters,” and this could help Obama’s campaign paint McCain as “clueless” on the economy and “out of touch with the worries and hopes of the average American.”
And imagine how Gramm will look if the foreclosure crisis gets worse, said Barb Arrigo in a Detroit Free Press blog. People are hoping for more government help as the number of adjustable-rate mortgages re-setting at higher rates nears its peak. The last thing they want to hear is that their troubles are all in their heads.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Why America won't have enough money to battle ISIS
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
Subscribe to the Week