Phil Gramm Steps Down

Say goodbye to Phil Gramm. The man was always good for a laugh. He'll be missed.

Former Sen. Phil Gramm stepped down today as co-chairman of his friend John McCain’s campaign, eight days after he went seriously off message to say that the nation is in a “mental recession.”

Gramm's departure avoids further missteps by a guy who can be counted on for embarrassment, but it doesn't make John McCain any the wiser on economic policy. Advantage Obama:

“The question for John McCain isn’t whether Phil Gramm will continue as chairman of his campaign, but whether he will continue to keep the economic plan that Gramm authored and that represents a continuation of the polices that have failed American families for the last eight years,” said Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan.

Nailed it.

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    Did Mr. Savugan then move to (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:22:40 PM EST
    the talking points of Sen. Obama's economic recovery plans?

    Hard to step down. . . (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:33:07 PM EST
    with your foot in your mouth.

    Weird -- they let the campaign bleed over this for a week and then drop the guy in a Friday night massacre?

    When Obama dissing Max Cleland (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:38:55 PM EST
    could have captured the attention of those following politics.

    I'm sorry oculus, (none / 0) (#8)
    by weltec2 on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:53:59 PM EST
    I missed that. Do you have a link or at least a brief explanation.

    See below. (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:56:00 PM EST
    Cleland said (none / 0) (#54)
    by CCinNC on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 08:28:50 AM EST
    he doesn't feel "dissed."  Why are you bringing this up?

    Well, what would you say? (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by zfran on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 08:48:07 AM EST
    Anything else and it would show disloyalty to the dem candidate.

    I would say the same thing (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by CCinNC on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 08:53:55 AM EST
    The question was, Why is Obama in this thread?

    Obama dissed Cleland? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by sallywally on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:51:01 PM EST
    Is there a link or other information as to when and how?

    Good riddance to Phil Gramm! I love it that he showed himslf out in the open as he really is and was seen for what a totally evil and stupid man he is.

    Lobbyist. Invitation revoked. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:55:28 PM EST
    Considering what he is lobbying for, I wish him (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Teresa on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:03:59 PM EST
    much success.

    Me too. I hadn't heard of the (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:05:41 PM EST
    organization before.

    Obama has gone way overboard (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by talex26 on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:15:04 PM EST
    with this lobbyist thing.

    Mr. Cleland lobbies for Tissue Regeneration Technologies, which develops and makes medical devices intended to help treat wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.



    Everyone on MyDD (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:18:49 PM EST
    agrees that it would be wholly illegitimate to distinguish between "good" lobbyists and "bad" lobbyists, and Obama had to adhere to the strict letter of his pledge or McCain would surely have cut a devastating ad about how horrible it was to invite Max Cleland to a fundraiser.  Because, you know, some pledges can never ever be broken, while others...

    This is the kind of thinking that leads to labelling unions as "special interest groups," and praising Democrats who ignore them.  Can't play favorites in politics, it seems!


    To be fair. . . (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:30:39 PM EST
    if you're going to have a policy you might as well stick to it.  Cleland is a corporate lobbyist, they have a policy against corporate lobbyists at fund raisers, etc, etc.

    I wonder what they do about Linda Daschle?


    I'd just as soon the policy stuck to was (5.00 / 6) (#23)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:32:02 PM EST
    to support filibuster of FISA.

    Gotta start somewhere. . . (none / 0) (#25)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:35:46 PM EST
    Once you've invited the guy (5.00 / 7) (#26)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:37:44 PM EST
    the smart decision is to just let it go.  Come on, it's Max Cleland.  Considering who he is and who he lobbies for, I'm not too worried about the political fallout.

    The amusing part is the Obama supporters who believe that he must remain absolutely consistent, except when he doesn't.


    Although, I agree. . . (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:44:51 PM EST
    that having invited him it's embarrassing to uninvite him (although maybe they see it as a chance to show how very un-lobbied they are).

    Except - (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by DYBO on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:14:28 PM EST
    - he's fairly consistent.  The meme that has him inconsistent is a contrivance.  Compared to McCain, he's a paragon of consistency.

    To be fair. . . (none / 0) (#30)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:42:22 PM EST
    I don't think it's that they believe that he must remain consistent except when he doesn't.

    They simply believe that anything he does is right, by definition.

    I'm not sure what difference it makes what company Cleland lobbies for.  It's not like he's lobbying on behalf of vets or something.  He's trying to sell medical devices -- ones that, from the name of the company, could possibly be of dubious efficacy.

    I don't particularly want to let Obama get away with anything, but I also don't want to redefine lobbying as a good thing just because an otherwise good guy is doing it.


    Well (none / 0) (#32)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:45:03 PM EST
    By all accounts, he's actually not doing it.

    At any rate, I see absolutely no daylight between your first and second paragraphs.


    My point was meant to be. . . (none / 0) (#33)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:46:19 PM EST
    that their thinking does not extend past "Obama.  Good!  Clinton.  Bad!"

    Is this Clinton's fault? (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:49:28 PM EST
    Well. . . (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:54:09 PM EST
    Clinton.  Cleland.  Just sayin'

    You "anti-cultist"! (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:00:59 PM EST
    On The Payroll (none / 0) (#36)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:54:56 PM EST
    Tissue Regeneration Technologies (TRT) will announce Monday that Former United States Senator Max Cleland has joined the firm as its Senior Policy Advisor.

    Better focus in the future (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by waldenpond on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:39:13 PM EST
    Someone dropped the ball on this one.  I imagine this won't happen again.

    [many Democrats have also quietly questioned whether it goes too far when prominent party figures like Cleland, who an associate said has never actually lobbied in Washington, are left out in the cold on a technicality.]  ["Sen. Cleland is definitely not doing lobbying work. He gives speeches and campaigns for a few friends, but mostly he's spending his time taking care of his father,"]

    The campaign is probably combing through their lists now, contacting people and letting them know they need to do paperwork to unregister.


    Judgement? (none / 0) (#29)
    by zfran on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:40:53 PM EST
    I guess we all remember when (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by hairspray on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:19:36 AM EST
    the O supporters went ballistic over Hillary's comment that she would continue to take money from lobbyists because most of them represented teachers, nurses, fire and police, etc. The more simple minded see lobbyists as all one shade, black.

    The thing (none / 0) (#48)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 06:58:12 AM EST
    is Obama has given McCain an ad by dumping on Cleland. I think an effective ad could be made that Obama "hates veterans" w/r/t Cleland's organization without even mentioning the word "lobbyist".

    Well, at least he stuck to his (none / 0) (#19)
    by zfran on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:21:42 PM EST
    guns this time. Now he has to stick to his guns with other dems turned lobbyists or this could be a problem for him.

    He (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 06:58:51 AM EST
    needs to dump Daschle off his campaign if he's so darn concerned about this issue.

    You've got to be kidding. (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:27:42 PM EST
    If you truly believe he has (none / 0) (#24)
    by zfran on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:32:08 PM EST
    taken no lobbyist monies, and he has told us he does not take it, you have to believe he turned Sen. Cleland down as he must all lobbyists. If you do not truly believe that he has not taken lobbyist monies from others, then he cannot be trusted to keep his word (HA)and turning down this hero who was dissed by the repubs was a huge mistake.

    Money from federal, as opposed to (none / 0) (#27)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:38:05 PM EST
    state lobbyists.  O.K. to take money from law firm members that also lobby the federal government.  seems like a distinction w/o a difference to me.

    In the last several weeks several (none / 0) (#59)
    by hairspray on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:35:53 PM EST
    good govt organizations like the League of Women Voters have called on the two campaigns to open the books on their contributors and all that bundling stuff.  So far only McCain has been willing to comply.  Do the Obama people want to use this Clelland thing as a shield against their unwillingness so far to also open the books?

    good gravy... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by kredwyn on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:09:24 PM EST
    must a seen the morphing advert. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:59:21 PM EST
    Thanks (none / 0) (#37)
    by weltec2 on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:55:01 PM EST
    Much appreciated.

    oops... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by weltec2 on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:56:37 PM EST
    Sorry for the repetition. I should have scrolled down.

    Seeing Phil Gramm disgraced (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:16:34 PM EST
    is very satisfying to all of us who are not quite done fighting the battles of the 90's.

    Tell me about it. (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Maria Garcia on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:31:14 PM EST
    These are actually the battles (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by BernieO on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 04:26:51 AM EST
    of the 80's. All this pie-in-the-sky "free markets will cure what ails you" garbage started with Reagan, the advertising guy, selling us supply-side, deregulation, "there is no oil shortage for the foreseeable future" hooey.

    This is one of my biggest complaints about Obama. He rightly said that leaders need to be bold and persuade people to follow their ideas, then he turned around and hailed Reagan while dissing Clinton's legacy. Clinton's administration was sandwiched between the free marketeer debacles of Reagan/Bush I and Bush II and proved conclusively that those policies flat-out do not work. They drive up debt and worsen conditions for all but the very affluent. Yet Obama had the gall - and stupidity - to accuse Clinton of leaving the poor and working class behind when in fact he was the most successful at helping them with things like expanded job training, access to health care and child care, etc. During his administration a record 6 million people moved out of poverty. That gain has almost been erased by Bush.

    Clinton gave Democrats the ammunition we need to drive a stake through the hearth of supply-side hooey and the repeated economic meltdowns caused by the deregulation so dearly loved by Reagan, Phil Gramm, et al. is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that markets need reasonable rules that are strictly enforced. I would love to see the total cost to that average citizen from the bailouts of the S&L, LTCM, the dot-com bust, the mortgage collapse, Enron, and now the bank and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout.

    Jon Stewart did a great segment about Bush's response to our faltering economy and the gas crisis earlier this week. I would give the link but I don't have time to find it right now.


    not only did Clinton work to clean up (none / 0) (#60)
    by hairspray on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:45:20 PM EST
    so many of the egregious policies of the Bush/Reagan years he also did one hell of a job on the economic side:  From Ron Brownstein of the LA Times (no fan of Clinton, I might add):
    "Clinton years produced the most extraordinary gains in the communities that needed it most....because Clinton encouraged and rewarded work for those on the economy's bottom rungs....the MEDIAN incomes for American families increased by 15% (adj/inflation) and especially for African Americans (33%) Latinos (24%). Families in the bottom 5th of the range saw their incomes rise twenty percent faster than the top 5%. Poverty fell (25%) faster than at any time since 1960's particularly in communities of color. Under the Reagan 8 years poverty of children fell by 50,000 and under Clnton by 4.1 million." He did this by increasing EIT, minimum wages and creating SCHIP among other system wide strategies. So ending welfare might have infuriated many people, but other factors helped to change the paradign for poor families and more than compensated.  
     No wonder Bill has been furious that Obama has gone around dissing and lying about Bill's record.  Shameless!!

    Phil Gramm probably indirectly if not directly (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by hairspray on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:33:40 AM EST
    contributed to the 9/11 attacks when as the chair of the Senate Banking committee he stymied the Clinton administration's attempts to 'follow the money".  In Truthout (July 2008) author Pitt writes:
    , Clinton wanted to attack the financial underpinnings of the al-Qaeda network by banning American companies and individuals from dealing with foreign banks and financial institutions that al-Qaeda was using for its money-laundering operations. Texas Senator Phil Gramm, chairman of the Banking Committee, gutted the portions of Clinton's bill dealing with this matter, calling them "totalitarian."
        In fact, Gramm was compelled to kill the bill because his most devoted patrons, the Enron Corporation and its criminal executives in Houston, were using those same terrorist financial networks to launder their own dirty money and rip off the Enron stockholders. It should also be noted that Gramm's wife, Wendy, sat on the Enron Board of Directors.
     Senator McCain should be ashamed of himself using a man of this quality to participate in his campaign.

    McCain's Mental Recession (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by john horse on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 07:56:55 AM EST
    In South Carolina GOP debate McCain said:
    "I don't believe we're headed into a recession," he said, "I believe the fundamentals of this economy are strong and I believe they will remain strong."

    In April McCain said "a lot of our problems today, as you know, are psychological."

    So how is this different than what Gramm said.  

    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.

    The reason that Gramm had to step down was because he was saying what McCain actually believed.  The Straight Talk Express should now be called the Double Talk Express.

    I thought he already had!! (none / 0) (#2)
    by kenosharick on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:26:23 PM EST

    The Times article. . . (none / 0) (#5)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:41:05 PM EST
    on the subject makes it sound as if McCain is really losing it.

    I just don't remember this much (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:53:46 PM EST
    "stepping down" in past campaigns:

    To end this distraction and get on with the real debate, I hereby step down as co-chair of the McCain Campaign and join the growing number of rank-and-file McCain supporters."

    waldenpond, i wouldn't go betting (none / 0) (#40)
    by cpinva on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:37:57 PM EST
    the rent money on it.

    I imagine this won't happen again.

    given sen. obama's recent bouncing around, like a pinball on crack, i anticipate something very much like it will happen again.

    at this point, i'd appreciate seeing the hobgoblin of a boring consistency from sen. obama. if he's going to change his position on something, fine, at least have the smarts to state that he's done so after receipt of new/additional information, or a more careful re-analysis of existing data.

    apparently, no one on his team has figured out this very basic approach yet.

    John McCain on Conan: (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:38:19 PM EST

    McCain's line about managing to get shot down is pretty good.

    I Hope (none / 0) (#46)
    by bob h on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 04:38:05 AM EST
    Phil Gramm didn't also step down from the one run on the evolutionary ladder he had managed to get up on.

    If Gramm had been on (none / 0) (#47)
    by lilburro on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 06:33:54 AM EST
    a Dem campaign, he'd have been the downfall of the campaign right now.  Obama must be trying to run a pretty positive show, because I didn't hear them tearing into Gramm or dancing on his grave (and they so, so could have).  A nation of whiners?  Obama could've buried McCain here I think.

    I mean, this is the response from Obama's mouth?  "Well, you know, America already has one Dr. Phil. When it comes to the economy, we don't need another."

    The campaign has to stop being so cute.  Burton is a major cuteness culprit IMO.

    Considering (2.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 07:04:11 AM EST
    the fact that Michelle Obama has called us a "nation of sloths" or something else it might be better if Obama didn't wander into this one.

    Umm (none / 0) (#52)
    by rdandrea on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 08:08:32 AM EST
    I just scrolled back up to the top of this thread and it was about Phil Gramm.

    When I read the title... (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by CCinNC on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 08:28:11 AM EST
    ...I wondered how many posts would be written before the Obama hatred reflexively kicked in.  It didn't take long.

    Prior comment deleted. (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by TChris on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 09:18:17 AM EST
    The comment to which comment 52 responded has been deleted for name calling.  It is tempting to delete the many comments that ignore Phil Gramm, the topic of the post, in favor of rehashing the Hillary-Barack wars, but it would take too much time.  People, can we PLEASE try to stay on topic?  There are open threads for those who want to continue that tired discussion.

    Hear about the recent UBS (none / 0) (#55)
    by magisterludi on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 08:45:04 AM EST
    scandal? A big bunch of Rich American Tax Scofflaws (RATS) sheltering their booty in a Swiss arm of UBS have been revealed. Gramm is a UBS veep. I hope they tie old Free-Market Phil in knots to this story.