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Paging Dr. Phil: The US is a Nation of Bitter Whiners! Right?

Former Senator Phil Gramm, economic adviser to John McCain, has seemingly unleashed a "bitter" comment of his own. The damning Gramm economic quote alleged that the US was "a nation of whiners" in that the country is feeling a "mental recession." Though he quickly clarified that he had been referring to some of the nation's leaders, the bitter was already out of the box.

McCain immediately hopped on the repudiation express saying, "I strongly disagree [with Phil Gramm's remarks.] Phil Gramm does not speak for me. I speak for me." Adding that a person who just lost a job "isn't suffering from a mental recession."

Obama made hay with the comment saying, "America already has one Dr. Phil. We don't need another one when it comes to the economy. It's not just a figment of your imagination. Let's be clear. This economic downturn is not in your head." Adding, "it isn't whining to ask government to step in and give families some relief."

Ahem. It isn't? "Bitter" vs. "Whiners?" Who wins in that match up? Oh, there's a clear victor — to find out who,


The match up here is: should the government be held accountable and "give families some relief" or are citizens themselves responsible to figure their way out of this "mental recession." A possible answer is found in the McCain archive of famous quotes considered damning, which are really nothing but true: “I’ll look at you in the eye again and I’ll tell you that there are some jobs that won’t come back.”

The world has changed. The economy has changed. Like it or not, major changes are needed — the world is now whine- and relief-proof. We are not entering into a tough, temporary patch whereby the government can be expected to "give relief." And that could be the very definition of whining: I don't like what's happening to me, and I want you to fix it. Labeling tough love, "Dr. Phil"-esque, as Obama did, doesn't deal with the reality, and though I'm no Phil-fan, by saying that, Obama may have unwittingly pointed out the possible truth in Gramm's statement. If you don't like your life or your situation, sitting around and saying you don't like it, isn't going to change a lick of anything come morning.

Then, there's the fact that the bitter comment, was uttered by Obama himself, not a surrogate like Gramm. When he said that small-town voters, "get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations," it's a character indictment and a commentary on the complexity of their mental capacities — not an assessment of the realities of a situation and the work required to reverse it.

At the end of the day (or this post) calling citizens "whiners" or "bitter" doesn't change a thing (nor is it especially productive) but I'd rather be inspired to work harder and smarter so I don't have to whine than be told I'm not going to understand anyway, so here's a bible, a check, and good luck five years from now when we're in a worse boat sinking faster and now I'm desperate because I haven't been relying on myself for this "relief."

But that's just one interpretation. What do you think?


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