McCain adviser: We’re “a nation of whiners”

To some extent, he’s just speaking the truth. However, as we all know, the truth can’t often be spoken during a presidential campaign since it never gets digested well by the media or the voters.

Video report from CBS News:

In the interest of full disclosure and fairness, here is Gramm’s full statement from the Washington Times:

With the economy on the top of voters’ minds, Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s top economic adviser said the Arizona senator will lay down a detailed program to revive dynamic growth with dramatic tax and spending reforms.

In an interview with the Washington Times, Phil Gramm, a former Texas senator who is now vice chairman of UBS, the giant Swiss bank, said he expects Mr. McCain to inherit a sluggish economy if he wins the presidency, weighed down above all by the conviction of many Americans that economic conditions are the worst in two or three decades and that America is in decline.

“You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,” he said, noting that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. “We may have a recession; we haven’t had one yet.”

“We have sort of become a nation of whiners,” he said. “You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline” despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.

“We’ve never been more dominant; we’ve never had more natural advantages than we have today,” he said. “We have benefited greatly” from the globalization of the economy in the last 30 years.

Mr. Gramm said the constant drubbing of the media on the economy’s problems is one reason people have lost confidence. Various surveys show that consumer confidence has fallen precipitously this year to the lowest levels in two to three decades, with most analysts attributing that to record high gasoline prices over $4 a gallon and big drops in the value of homes, which are consumers’ biggest assets.

In truth, he attempted to provide evidence to his claims, which were not reported by the media it seems. Still, the sound bite alone is enough to get him tossed under the bus with the Rev. Wright’s of the world. The last thing any candidate wants is to be perceived as unfeeling or insensitive.

  • Grey

    Once again a non issue.

  • Christopher Schwinger

    I interpreted it differently, as though the McCain campaign was chiding Americans for being concerned about the economy. McCain’s camp is basically saying, “There’s not a major issue; your attitudes are wrong.” It’s just another example of the McCain camp’s arrogance. I adamently disagree that the interdependence of economies has helped our country. Switzerland is the banking HQ of the world, and a lot of that money comes from the drug trade. It’s just like McCain to surround himself with rich snobs!

  • Basically, Phil Graham is right for most of the nation. There are a few states that are having a real problem with job loss, and falling prices in home sales, etc. However, the majority of the country has not seen job losses, the rest of the nation housing is holding its own. The majority of new foreclosures are justified. They are from lenders loaning money to purchasers who should have been turned down in the first place or should have been approved for a lower amount that they could afford. The “teaser” interest rates were given to lure purchasers into buying more then the could afford. Who is at fault for that? Of course, the lenders who did not disclose enough of what could happen in the future to the monthly payments on those loans. But also, the Buyers, who asked only, “How much will it cost me a month?” and did not consider what they could really afford. Most buried their heads in the sand of lala land and thought they were getting something for nothing. The old addage, “if it sounds to good to be true then it is” is a commonsence plan that should be followed and not laughed out.

    Of course, the sluggishness in the economy some are filling could be easily solved by one easy step and not cost taxpayers a penney. Matter of fact, it would save us money. All we have to get this great nation to do is enforce the immigration laws on the books. Businesses hiring illegal workers should be fined to the full extent of the laws. The border fence should be finished. The only people allowed to receive government entitlements should be citizens as it is in every other nation on earth. Then we would see illegals flock OUT of this nation instead of in. No work and no free money equals no illegals.

    Then all seniors, college students and teens can get the part time jobs they used to have back from the illegals now filling them. The citizens who are construction workers can get the jobs back that illegals have taken from them. The factory workers would all be citizens and on and on the list goes. Unemployment rates would be at an all time low instead of all time high.

    Now the money that is sent out of the country every Friday back to the homelands of these illegals would be spent by citizens here in our nation. Talk about a stimulus package!

    Now the hospitals, schools, prisons and emergency rooms will not be overloaded to the breaking point with people using but not contributing to the system.

    Matter of fact, many of the newer foreclosures were loans made to illegals.

    Let’s fix the economy Barak Obama and John McCain. Here is the way to do it!

  • Stalin

    We are a nation of whiners. We live in the most litigious nation in the world. Everyone is a victim. Like a good friend of mine likes to say, “suck it up”. Words of wisdom for us all.

  • IndiMinded

    I remember when the “‘Blame America First’ crowd” was the venomous nickname republicans spewed at democrats. My how times have changed.


    Christopher you have some nice views about this. I agree with Stalin on this one.

    Just to let everyone know by definition we are not yet in a recession. The GDP has been a plus under every cycle of Bush Presidency.

  • Josh

    This came from the mouth of one of McCain’s advisors, so I’m not so sure that it should reflect on him all that much, not to mention the fact that it’s true in a lot of cases.

    However, it’s what McCain actually says that worries me. Check out this video, straight from the horse’s mouth:
    That’s straight talk, my friends!

  • Josh

    BTW, Stalin, I have to say I’d agree with that analysis.

  • Mike11

    Gotta wonder why when Obama said the “clinging comment” people were outraged and calling him out-of-touch, but when McCain’s camp mocks the people’s excercise of free speech and differing opinions, then they’re right but should be more careful.

    Well, everybody knows they’re Right.

    Gret video Josh. Straight talk indeed. That’s the guy we want talking to foreign leaders and handling (or provoking) a crisis. That’s right.


    Well Mike11 I would rather have John Sidney McCain talknig to foreign leaders than Barack Hussein Obama because McCain will not meet without preconditions like Obama will, and he will not appease either. McCain i believe is more trustworthy and would be better in a crisis situation.

    Do not try to act like McCain gets a free pass, Obama gets a free pass from everyone except fox basically. Mostly all media outlets are in the tank for Obama, so dont try to swing that McCain gets a free pass.

  • Rayven

    OK O_S ,I know you think that fox is fair and balanced news so I dug this up for you.

    yep thats fair and balanced.

  • Babs

    I agree, O_S, the clinging comment came directly from Obama, the whining comment from a surrogate, and McCain disagreed with it. You can’t compare the two.

    Stalin, you’re right. Daddy always said a good man would dig a ditch to support his family. I always answered, they might but they would whine about it. Seems now they just whine about the thoughts of it, they’re certainly not going to do it. Nobody seems to believe in paying their dues anymore.


    Yeah Rayven I am not a big fan of BraveNewFilms, for I have seen their videos on and you can tell who they swing for so dont give me some fair and balanced crap when your going to show me one of their videos.

  • Christopher Schwinger

    I liked BraveNewFilms’s videos showing the double-talk of John McCain, but I had enough when it was defending Obama. I emailed BraveNewFilms about the hypocrisy.

  • Rayven

    That was shown to prove that you may not be getting all the facts. to hear the fox news story and the AP news story . There are plenty of examples bias and simple not getting the facts right,and making a big deal about nothing.not other media outlet are better.
    It is not just Brave new films that notice.

  • Jeremy

    Wow, I can’t believe that McCain would make a joke like that while around the media. That is just ridiculous, a president/presidential candidate should know better then to talk like that.

    He lost a little credibility with me once I heard that.

  • Babs

    Cyber Alert also addressed the hypocricy of the media on this subject, and I thought they did it well. Basically, we ARE a nation of whiners whether we want to hear it or not. And the media never forgets to put some of them on the tube:

    “ABC’s World News has delighted in highlighting silly whining from hapless Americans. Two examples:

    The May 20 CyberAlert item, “ABC’s Latest Gas Price Victim Can ‘No Longer Take Joy Rides,'” recounted:

    Six days after ABC’s World News fretted over a New Jersey woman who said she must skip breakfast to put $4 a day toward gas, Monday’s newscast featured an even more hapless woman, a Massachusetts resident who to afford gas sacrifices a “much needed” $45 prescription, says she can “no longer take joy rides on my days off” and, horror of horrors, has been forced into “buying store brands instead of name brands.” Rosaria Giamei complained in a soundbite: “I don’t get out and enjoy things anymore. I just kind of sit at home and only go to and from work and, like, grocery shopping and that’s it.” How about taking a walk or riding a bike?…


    The May 14 CyberAlert posting, “ABC Showcases Hapless Woman Who Skips Breakfast to Afford Gas,” reported:

    A week after ABC focused a story on two pitiable Minnesota families living in the dark because higher energy and food prices mean they “can no longer afford to pay for electricity,” Tuesday’s World News highlighted the replies from sad case stories solicited on, starting with a woman who says she must skip breakfast to put $4 a day toward gas. ABC displayed “FEELING THE PAIN” on screen as Charles Gibson set up the story that David Muir started by fretting about “the price of a gallon of gas jumping more than a dime in just the last week” — which is a piddling $2 more to fill a 20-gallon tank. Nonetheless, he asserted “the e-mails we’ve received show the pain is being felt far and wide. Single mother Caroline Saunders wrote to us from New Jersey.” He read aloud from her e-mail with her quote on screen: “I now skip breakfast to save the extra $4 per day. That gives me an extra $20 added to my gas budget.”…


    And ABC’s Good Morning America has repeatedly made up “recession” news. The June 26 CyberAlert item, “ABC Talks Up Non-Existent ‘Recession’ Eight Times in Three Days,” began:

    The U.S. is not in a recession, but viewers wouldn’t know it from watching Good Morning America. In the span of three days, the ABC program has eight times proposed cures in its “Recession Rescue” segment. On June 24 alone, GMA fretted about the “recession” five times. This is despite the fact that America hasn’t had one quarter of negative growth, let alone the two necessary for there to be a recession… ”

    Well, duh, and we don’t whine, huh?

  • IndiMinded

    So if America is a nation of whiners, which nation is it that people don’t whine? That magical place where people don’t complain? You find that place for me, and let me know, huh? I think you’re just dumping on America without cause

    Whining is part of the human condition. Look, I know people who whine about just about anything they can think of. People love whining, and that isn’t an American thing, no matter what you guys say. We’re a world of whiners, we love it. Hell, I love it myself. Whining’s awesome, like chicken soup for the soul!

    And if you think that this means that gas prices aren’t sky rocketing, and that food prices aren’t rapidly getting steeper, well I don’t think it’s worth it to argue. Sure the housing market is tanked, the value of the dollar is awful, and people are scared to death that the companies owning half the mortgages in the country may go under (unless you and I take on their trillion dollars of debt) – but I think if we’d all just man-up, things would be fine. Right?

    Remember when you were little, and you thought that if you closed your eyes and couldn’t see something, then it wasn’t really there? Well that’s cute, but it’s not real. If we stop talking about them, these problems won’t just go away. Whining isn’t the biggest problem we’re facing here folks. I think you’re mistaking cause for effect.

  • Babs

    Yes, Indiminded, I agree with you totally. We certainly are a nation of whiners. So why all the uproar over someone telling the truth? You can’t have it both ways, you can either defend the whining, or defend the outcry over the statement that we’re whining. Not both.

  • IndiMinded

    There, you said it again! What nation ISN’T a nation of whiners, Babs? Can you name one? Because if EVERY nation is a nation of whiners, then anyone who singles us out is just being a jerk and dumping on our country for being filled with humans. People whine the whole world round, especially when times are tough.

    In fact, what are you doing right now but whining about all the whining going on? And what am I doing but whining about your whining about America’s whining? And most importantly: who cares and how is this relevant to anything? Times aren’t tough just because the people are complaining about them – whining is a well established tradition, it didn’t pop up last year to chase bees away from their hives.

  • Babs

    And we agree again. 😉 Which is why nary a cross word should have been said about Gramm’s statement. It was right on.

  • IndiMinded

    I’m just saying, Babs, I don’t go around calling Peru a nation of farters – because that’s insulting to Peruvians, even though I have no doubt that everyone in the country passes gas on a regular basis (as in America, North Korea, and everywhere else). I’m not disputing the truth of Gramm’s statement, I’m just saying he was insulting our nation without cause – and attempting to use that insult to invalidate the economic concerns that have been voiced by some.

    And if we agree on that Babs, sorry for being so long winded, that just wasn’t the point I thought you were trying to make.

  • Babs

    Indi, the point I was trying to make was only that the media has fed us “whining” to the max and then crys foul when someone names it. Gramm shouldn’t have said what he did the WAY he did, but the media can’t play both sides of this for the sake of ratings.

    We do agree on this, really.

  • nzpudding

    America is percieved as a nation of whiners by how it’s portrayed in the media. But the ironic thing here is, people are whining about being called a nation of whiners, how funny is that?

  • Todd

    How bout this,

    Whiners made this nation ! people whined about taxation without representation so we became an independent country, we whined about having to sail around the tip of South America to get to California so we built a railroad, we whined about womens rights so we amended the constitution, we whined about dirt roads so we paved them, etc…..

    Whining is productive in the end, it’s just that listening to it gets old until those listening respond

    think about that

  • Babs

    I don’t know, Todd, that might be a misuse of the word. Doesn’t “whining” mean complaining about something without feeling obligated to DO anything about it? You could be right, but I’m not so sure. We got really MAD about those things and changed them, but whining, I think, is more a nonactive emotion of self pity, isn’t it?

  • nzpudding

    A definition of Whining is to complain or protest in a childish fashion. Whiners didn’t make America at all.

  • Rayven

    Hey I found something interesting tell me what you think.

    so what do you think.

  • nzpudding

    I think with those figures Americans really have something to whine about…LOL

  • Billy

    Each generation of Americans become weaker and less willing to suffer for the greater good of all mankind. When this country was founded people were cutting bullets out of themselves, women would sometimes have a baby and be back in the field working the same day. My generation was weaker than the WWII vets and the new one is weaker than we are, both physically and mentally. We need to learn once again to stand on our own two feet and not to rely on or even trust the government so much. It is like with the police, we use to police our own community. Then came organized police forces and people came to rely on them until now it is illegal to defend yourself or your property in many communities. We have allowed ourselves to become weak by relying on someone else to do what we should be doing; and it has lead us to the point that we are only a few steps away from a police state. Read Roman history, it is fascinating.

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