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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The straight talk about the economy McCain should have delivered

By Dennis Byrne
Chicago Tribune

John McCain's speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination was awful. Yes, it yanked the "change" flag out of Barack Obama's hands and planted it on the GOP's ramparts, and yes, McCain admirably ripped his own party, and yes, there were touching moments of personal revelation.

But the speech was disorganized, overly vetted, sometimes banal, sometimes self-centered and devoid of forthright and realistic discussion of what bothers most voters: a sagging economy. What was needed was some straight talk, which I have provided here: "We've been hearing for years now that we're in or approaching a recession. Gentlepeople, by any measure, we are not in a recession, but if we keep talking like down-in-the-mouth Democrats do, we'll certainly sink into one.

"Yes, we're in an economic 'slowdown,' or whatever you call it. I needn't go over the particulars; Democrats will gladly list them. They've assigned themselves to remind you how miserable you are, even if you're not. Yes, some Americans are hurting, others are uncertain and worried. But I'll tell you a truth: We've talked ourselves into this slowdown, and we can talk ourselves out of it.

"Trace the source of many of today's economic problems, and you'll find yourself at the same starting point: housing. The problems with banks, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the collapse of the mortgage market, all stem from the crumbling of the housing market. And why did the housing market crumble? During the preceding exuberant housing market, we were constantly told that it would collapse, and so, like any self-fulfilling prophecy, it did. Sure, higher energy costs also have taken their toll, but when it comes right down to it, the constant battering of our economic condition by Democrats and the media for partisan purposes has pulled us down.

"We know how much we can trust their analysis, don't we. They are the sages who from the beginning of the Iraq War predicted that we were plunging Iraq into a civil war. Week after week, month after month, we were told that a civil war was raging or about to rage. Well, we know how much baloney that turned out to be.

"So, too, with their drumbeat announcing approaching economic disaster. Say it often enough, and you'll make it so. Predict it long enough, and it will happen. Never mind that the economy is cyclical and that sooner or later, the economy will go down, just as surely as it will go up, if we let it. They are bound to be right, like a stopped clock, twice. We are inundated with cries of 'We must do something. We must do more!'

"Truth is, friends, not even an American president, with all his powers, can significantly change the course of a $14 trillion economy. I know these are hard words to hear, but any candidate who says he can is lying. Yes, we can work around the edges of the economy, softening its impact when things are bad, and do what we can to help those—as we certainly should—who are struggling. We can fiddle around with monetary policy, reduce our national debt and lower taxes. I'm not suggesting that we're powerless. But to blame or credit a single man, whether it be George W. Bush or Bill Clinton for a bad—or good—economy is simple-minded demagoguery. Or to expect one man to 'fix' it is preposterous.

"The Democratic Party is the Dismal Party. We never know how bad we have it until Democrats inform us. Their words of 'hope' ring hollow in the face of their perpetual warnings and their ever-present belittlement of the present. Democrats see calamity, we sense opportunity.

"Someone once said, 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.' You see, prosperity is not just an economic condition; it also is a state of mind. Without a positive, prosperous state of mind, we're done.

"My friends, from this moment, when we speak of 'hope,' we need to understand that hope arises from inside ourselves, not from some government program or intervention that arrives on our doorstep. Hope is a reflection of ourselves, our mind's health, our confidence, vigor and inventiveness. Americans never have been in short supply of such qualities, and we need to rekindle them. We will not buy the Democratic woe-is-us line. We are Americans, owners of the world's greatest economy. Woe is not us."

Now that would be real straight talk.


Michael Carr said...

Mr. Byrne -

So let me get this straight — anything bad that happens to the economy when Republicans are in power is the fault of Democrats complaining too much?

In other words, Bush administration incompetency is of no concern — but relentless criticism of Bush administration incompetency has created problems with housing, energy, jobs and the stock market.

You're either kidding or this is a new low in shameless partisan spin.

If this is satire, you've missed the mark. Seems more like a version of Phil Gramm's, "Americans are whiners" explanation for our current economic conditions. Both positions feature conclusions borne of convenience, not evidence.

I wonder, would you make anything resembling this claim if poor economic conditions could reliably be blamed on an incumbent Democrat?

Anonymous said...

I have ranted at my wife and my local newspaper about the media's intent
to sink our economy. Every night, I watch the NBC Nightly News
(please don't ask why). Since October of 2007,
they have been harping on a coming recession
even though we did not have two consecutive quarters of economic decline.
As you said, enough fear mongering will cause an economic slowdown.
Phil Gramm was absolutely correct in observing that the "whinners" are ruling
the day with the help of the media. He was immediately attacked by the Dems as being "out of touch" with the common folk. Though there is an economic slow down,
brought about by greedy investors, most Americans have a very high standard of living.

Anonymous said...

McCain campaign planners should snap up this winning strategy right away. Brit Hume floated a trial balloon for this during the Democratic Convention, when he observed that, "If you listen to Democrats, you'd think we were living in Belarus." The idea is that anyone who identifies a problem is the cause of the problem, and therefore it is anti-patriotic and anti-American to mention problems at all. Look at the proof: When Bush talked and talked about Weapons of Mass Destruction, they could be found everywhere. When he stopped talking about them, they disappeared!
Here are some slogans to try out:
"Better Than Belarus: Vote Republican!"
"Iraq: The Republican Idea of Success!"

Stephen Schade said...

Mr. Byrne:

You have really shown your ignorance of economics. If a bad economy is only a state of mind, then all those Nobel laureates at the University of Chicago are wasting their time.

In reality, all of the last 6 major recessions have occurred during GOP administrations. Please don't give me this crap about how Democrats caused them. Four of the recessions -- Hoover, Nixon, Ford, and Bush 1 -- occurred so deep into Republican control of the White House that they cannot plausibly be blamed on Democrats. The downturn early in Bush 2's term was caused by a Republican Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan, who raised interest rates even though no inflation was in sight. Finally, it is not realistic to blame the Reagan recession on Carter, since job growth under Carter was better than it was in either of Reagan's terms.

On the basis of history, it is clear that Democratic policies are better for the economy. And if Americans really own the world's greatest economy, why are all the currency traders betting against us?

GeraldD said...


If you agree, then PLEASE pass it along To All Your Readers. Someone Needs TO GO TO Jail For This !!

And Here Is Another Shocking Fannie Mae Video

As Soon As Those Corrupt Democrats Are Exposed, The Remaining Democrats Will Stop Playing Politics And Run For Cover. Everyone tries to blame the Republicans. Its A Few Democrats Who Are To Blame. The Sooner Your Readers Are Given The Opportunity To See These Videos and Realize What Actually Happened, The Sooner You'll See Those Handful Of Corrupt Democrats Cease To Control The Democratic party. The Bail Out Bill Will Pass As Soon As The Corrupt Democrats Don’t Have The Cover of “IT’S THE REPUBLICANS FAULT” to hide under anymore.