McCain, Conservatives and the Economy

First off, it’s fascinating that McCain’s top economic advisor doesn’t speak for McCain on economic issues. If a candidates top advisors can’t represent the candidates position on a given issue, then what does that say about McCains campaign? Phil Graham is not a mere “surrogate” here. He was speaking with a newspaper editorial board representing McCain’s campaign. That can’t be equated with Obama’s pastor or Jesse Jackson.

Aside from that, what Phil Graham said reminds of the long-held conservative impulse on the economy. This is a very good example of the tendency for conservatives to do all they can to diminish the idea that there are circumstances outside a given citizens control that create obstacles that prevent them from gaining a sense of financial security and independence. To put it simply, we are all personally responsible for making our own way, regardless of our economic background or social setting. And if you are struggling and ask for help during hard times, then you are just a “whiner”. Those obstacles in your way are really just a (mental) figment of your imagination.

Do we have whiners in this country? Yes, no doubt. Is there an element of our current economic downturn that might be psychological? Sure, but what conservatives might want to do is to asses their own incomplete view of what’s going on. What’s happening to our economy is not purely phycological and we have many who are doing all they can, but still not getting by. The conservative position here, just like one of the commentators noted, is completely out of touch with what’s really going on in our country. Maybe that’s the issue. After all, this kind of economic worldview is usually touted by rich white guys who are out of touch with what it means to live day to day as a regular citizen.

Good luck to John McCain for the search for his new top economic advisor. Hopefully the next advisor will be able to actually represent the McCain campaigns economic policy. Unreal.

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