Phil Gramm, John McCain’s best friend and one of his closest advisers, told the Washington Times that the current economic circumstances constitute a “mental recession” and that we’ve become a “nation of whiners.” Barack Obama, wittily, just said this country doesn’t need another “Dr. Phil.” Quickly following him, John McCain spoke with quiet fury about Gramm’s remarks, and then attemped a harsh joke by saying that the only job Gramm is now up for in his administration is ambassador to Belarus. He then managed a very strong ad-lib using Obama’s words against him by declaring Obama “Dr. No” when it comes to any effort to boost energy production inside the United States.
McCain acted quickly, but Gramm’s remarks constitute exactly the kind of unforced error that seems to characterize political campaigns in trouble — just as Jesse Jackson’s sneering, nasty, vicious words against Barack Obama are a gift to a Democratic nominee for whom everything seems to be falling into place.