First, we learned that his campaign was simply infested with the K-Street lobbyists, many who were continuing their lobbying ways while ostensibly employed as staffers and advisors to the Mac. Several have lobbied for fairly repulsive regimes in the past too boot.
We learned that he actively courted and won the imprimatur of such folks as Ron Parsley and John Hagee, both serious racists (Arab and Jewish). Now he seems to be sniffing around the prosperity guru Joel Osteen, known not for his sound theology but for his ability to attract folks who want to be told it’s okay to be rich.
His willingness to take on the likes of Karl Rove, well known evil genius of dirty politics also says volumes, no?
This of course suggests that there is something fairly wrong with Mr. McCain’s radar when it comes to judging character. But of course, it also suggests that McCain is more interested in winning an election than he is in having responsible and ethical people around him. Perhaps this is his methodology. He’s the self-defining principled person who constantly puts his “job on the line” for the things he believes in, all the while having his surrogates do the dirty work for him in their endlessly unprincipled ways.
Phil Gramm is just another in the long long list. Some may excuse the poor maverickinnameonly, by claiming that well, insofar as Gramm is concerned, McCain has willingly stated that he knows next to nothing about the economy. This is assuredly true, since when asked questions about his proposed economic plan, he is unable to discuss any particular aspect in any detail. He in fact doesn’t have a clue what any of it means much at all, as he stumbles and fumbles, turning on camera to off camera aids for instruction. One hears “I’m not sure how I voted on that, _____do you have my votes on that issue?” This is usually followed later by some lame explanation by some lowly staffer trying to do damage control.
But the thing with Gramm is not quite this simple. As you recall, Gramm remarked that the economy was essentially fine, recession was only a mind thing, and the American people were just a bunch of “whiners.” Of course this does cut rather dramatically against McCain’s campaign ads which refer to the economy as “being in shambles.” Worse yet, it is without doubt the most thoughtless kind of remark, dismissing real pain that MILLIONS of Americans are now facing.
Of course it would be one thing if McCain could claim that Mr. Gramm was just a hanger on and not speaking for the campaign. That won’t fly of course, since he is and has been referred to as a “principal economic advisor” and potential Secretary of the Treasury. Worse yet, McCain is reputed to have said of Mr. Gramm, “There is no one in America that is more respected on the issue of economics than Senator Phil Gramm.”
Of course it would also be acceptable to say that Gramm has come highly recommended but that he was not well known to the candidate. Oops, sorry but that won’t work either. The fact is the two have been friends for years and Johnny stumped hard for Gramms bid for the White House in 1996.
The fact is, that John McCain actually agrees with Gramm’s take on the economy. Gramm is a Republican elitist when it comes to free markets and allowing big business free rein to do as they please. The vast majority of “us” don’t count. McCain may not know enough about the economy to fill a thimble, but he undoubtedly has some basic philosophy as the American Prospect article suggests (linked to above). Thus Gramm must reflect that basic philosophy. Thus McCain has rotten judgment.
I guess what shocked me most, is that not only did Mr. McCain distance himself from the remarks in no uncertain terms, but he chose to do so in the most personally demeaning and mean spirited manner possible. One might have heard something like, “Mr. Gramm is a respected expert on economic matters. I think his remarks were insensitive, not taking into account, that while according to financial indices, the economy may not appear so bad, it is still having real and painful effects on average Americans.” Instead he made fun of Mr. Gramm and made it clear that any hopes he had of a place in McCain’s future were over. That did not need to be said publicly or in such a nasty way.
This also speaks volumes about Mr. McCain’s lack of control. McCain is just a mean old man when you get right down to it. He seems ready to lop off the head of anyone and I do mean anyone who gets in his way. Is this what you desire in a President? It’s sure not what I want.