Gramm and McCain Still Close Pals? That’s Good News for Dems

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Robert Novak reports–and his reporting is not always spot-on–that John McCain has forgiven Phil Gramm after Gramm called America a “nation of whiners” and dismissed current economic troubles as nothing more than a “mental recession.” According to Novak, “Gramm will continue as an adviser and surrogate” for McCain. Gramm is still cochairman of McCain’s presidential campaign.

This reporting counters recent news stories that Gramm has been nudged aside within McCainland. If it is true, Democrats can only respond this way: good! Gramm is a wonderful–and deserving–target for Dems and the Obama campaign. But not only because his out-of-touch remarks seemed to reflect the inner thinking of McCain and his advisers. Gramm represents much of what has gone wrong with the economy. As chairman of the Senate banking committee, he championed relentless deregulation that led in part to the subprime mess and to the Enron debacle. After leaving the Senate, he then became a lobbyist and executive for Swiss bank giant UBS. (Remember when McCain used to blast lobbyists?) These days UBS is in the news for allowing wealthy American clients to park money off-shore (perhaps illegally) to avoid taxes.

So McCain was happy to recruit Gramm for his campaign–despite his past record, ideas, policies, and lobbying activity–and look to him for economic advice. He saw nothing wrong with Grammonomics. That’s the issue, more so than Gramm’s impolitic comments. And if Novak is right–and that may be a nice-sized if–the Gramm issue remains, for Phil Gramm remains within the warm embrace of John McCain.

UPDATE: On Friday, Gramm quit as cochairman of the McCain campaign. Maybe Novak got it wrong. But Gramm did not say he would no longer be advising McCain.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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