Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Clueless John

The word is that if John McCain becomes president, Phil Gramm becomes Secretary of the Treasury. Considering that Gramm, when he was a U.S. senator representing Texas, wrote much of the deregulation that has reaped us this current financial whirlwind, that's certainly a rosy scenario to look forward to.

Watching Sen. McCain flounder about for the last two or three days is truly akin to watching a scuttled ship go down. The sinking has taken considerably longer to achieve:

1. November 2005: Sen. McCain told the Wall Street Journal, "I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated." His hoped-for "education" is complicated by the tension between his plans to continue many of the economic policies of the unpopular incumbent Republican president he hopes to succeed, and his pledges to improve the American economy and shake up Washington.

2. January 2008: at one of the early Republican debates: Sen. McCain argued that Americans were better off than they were eight years ago.

3. By summer 2008: Sen. McCain had released an advertisement that said "we're worse off than we were four years ago." (What happened to those other four years is a deep mystery, and already we've got the beginnings of a migraine!)

4. July 2008: Sen. McCain's top economic adviser, Phil Gramm, has a public tantrum, says that the United States is only in a "mental recession" and has become "a nation of whiners."

5. Monday morning, this week: Sen. McCain says, as he has many times before, that the fundamentals of the economy are "strong," even as Lehman Bros. was filing for bankruptcy, etc.

6. Monday afternoon: the McCain campaign, realizing that their candidate had just stepped off into very deep water, begins lunging for driftwood, tries to explain away McCain's remarks by saying he was referring to the American people as fundamentally strong.

7. By Tuesday a.m.: Sen. McCain appears on all the network & cable morning shows, treading water furiously. He begins calling the current economic situation "a total crisis," denounces "greed" on Wall Street and in Washington, and calls for a commission to study the problems. (Sorry: When Republicans want to study something, it means they intend to DO nothing. Our migraine is now blinding.)

8. By Tuesday p.m.: the McCain campaign has produced a new advertisement asserting that his experience and leadership were necessary in a "time of crisis." Part of the rationale for that claim is supposedly McCain's chairmanship (years ago) of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees telecommunications as well as aviation and trade but NOT banking, financial markets, housing, or insurance -- the prime sources of the current crisis.

9. Also Tuesday p.m.: in the increasingly frantic attempt to make McCain seem less clueless, one of his financial advisers loudly proclaims to reporters that McCain was responsible for the development of the Blackberry.

10. By Tuesday night: the McCain senior staff disavows the Blackberry claim -- "obviously a boneheaded joke."

Please, God, make it stop.

Top McCain-Palin official Carly Fiorina said yesterday that neither John McCain nor Sarah Palin is capable of running an American company. Today, McCain campaign officials say we won't be seeing Carly Fiorina on TV any more for awhile.

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