Thursday, July 17, 2008

GOP spins new fantasy that U.S. economic problems are all "psychological"

I've been watching a strange new spin coming out of the Republican Party on how to address the economic problems the U.S. is currently facing under this Bush administration. Now I know that the Republican Party's political spin regarding the economy has been to say everything is hunky-dory, however the American people are not buying this GOP argument. According to, Americans have consistently trusted Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain on the issues of the economy since February 2008. An overwhelming majority of Americans have also expressed their views that the country is on the wrong track since 2005. And finally, this latest poll by Quinnipiac University is reporting that 53 percent of Americans ranked the U.S. economy as their top concern coming into this presidential election, while only 16 percent of Americans rank the U.S. war in Iraq as their top concern. So the U.S. economy is on every Americans mind. And how are the Republicans responding to this big worry?

By claiming that Americans are going psychological.

In a press conference last Monday, July 14th, President Bush stated that if Congress passes legislation lifting the ban against offshore oil drilling, it will "change the psychology that demand will constantly outstrip supply." Bush continued referencing this "psychology" of the oil markets to reinforce his argument for continued drilling off the coasts of the U.S. You can view both of these videos through YouTube:

President Bush's first "psychology" quote:

Transcript from the press conference:

They can pass energy legislation. I readily concede that, you know, it's not going to produce a barrel of oil tomorrow, but it is going to change the psychology that demand will constantly outstrip supply. As I said in my remarks, it's going to take a while to get these reserves on line. But it won't take a while to send a signal to the world that we're willing to use new technologies to find oil reserves here at home.

President Bush's second "psychology" quote:

And the transcript from the press conference:

First of all, there is a psychology in the oil market that basically says, supplies are going to stay stagnant while demand rises. And that's reflected somewhat in the price of crude oil. Gasoline prices are reflected -- the amount of a gasoline price at the pump is reflected in the price of crude oil. And therefore, it seems like it makes sense to me to say to the world that we're going to use new technologies to explore for oil and gas in the United States -- offshore oil, ANWR, oil shale projects -- to help change the psychology, to send a clear message that the supplies of oil will increase.

Secondly, obviously good conservation measures matter. I've been reading a lot about how the automobile companies are beginning to adjust -- people -- consumers are beginning to say, wait a minute, I don't want a gas guzzler anymore, I want a smaller car. So the two need to go hand in hand. There is no immediate fix. This took us a while to get in this problem; there is no short-term solution. I think it was in the Rose Garden where I issued this brilliant statement: If I had a magic wand -- but the President doesn't have a magic wand. You just can't say, low gas. It took us a while to get here and we need to have a good strategy to get out of it.

So there is a "psychology" in the oil markets where "demand will constantly outstrip supply," creating these high gas prices that Americans are facing at the pump. So in order to stop this "psychology," President Bush advocates even more oil drilling off the U.S. coasts, which will reduce gas prices, and allow Americans to continue buying up their gas-guzzling SUVs. Is Tinkerbell one of the advisers in the Bush White House?

This is just one part of the "psychology" spin that I'm seeing coming from the Republican Party. Now let us go to Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain's economic adviser, Senator Phil Gramm and how he talks about Americans' "mental recession." From YouTube:

You can read about Gramm's "mental recession" in The Washington Times.

And finally, let us go to Republican presidential candidate John McCain--yes, he's talking about "psychological" in regards to economics. At first, McCain started pushing his happy talk, back in January 23, 2008, that he believed the "fundamental underpinnings of our economy are strong." One day later, McCain then claims that the recession fears are "psychological," saying that the U.S. economic fundamentals are "still strong." From YouTube:

McCain continues his psychological argument in April, 2008, when McCain tells Fox News Neil Cavuto that "a lot of our problems today, as you know, are psychological...." Again, you can watch this on YouTube:

McCain continues his psychological happy talk in July, when he tells a townhall event in Fresno California that offshore oil drilling will not provide any "immediate relief," but rather there will be some "psychological" benefits. From YouTube:

What about Phil Gramm's mental recession? After all, Gramm is McCain's economic adviser. Turns out that McCain initially backed Gramm's "mental recession" statement, but once the political fallout began, the McCain campaign disavowed Gramm's statement. McCain even went out of his way to publish a YouTube video saying that he disagreed with Gramm. McCain again shows himself to be a complete hypocrite, considering all the "psychological" talk he has been pushing for the past seven months.

So what is with the Republicans' "psychological" talk? I think that the "psychological" spin is a spin of desperation for the GOP, as U.S. economic conditions continue to sour during this election year. Remember what the big issue on voters minds were back in January, 2007? It wasn't the economy, although the economy did take second place. The big issue was the U.S. war in Iraq, and specifically about President Bush's 20,000 troop surge into Iraq. So right as the presidential candidates were considering and posturing for their big run to the White House, the top issue on voters' minds was the Iraq war. And even though a clear majority of Americans opposed the war in 2007, the Republicans probably felt that they could pull the terrorism fear pages from the 2006 and 2004 play books, and use the same strategies for the 2008 election--Democrats are weak and will surrender to the terrorists, Democrats support the terrorists, and the terrorists will attack the U.S. if Democrats are elected.

But a huge monkey wrench has slowly ground down the GOP's terrorism play book for this election--and that monkey wrench has been the deteriorating U.S. economy under this Bush administration. At first, the Republicans continued to deny that there were any problems with the U.S. economy. But as energy and gas prices have increased, food prices have increased, worries about job losses, worries about the increasing lack of health care among Americans, inflation spiking, consumer confidence dropping, and U.S. economic output slowing, the home mortgage crisis, the financial crisis--all of these economic problems have rolled into a snowball effect of slamming directly into the GOP's happy talk, completely discrediting President Bush, John McCain, and the Republican Party. This economy was created by King George, The Deciderer, and now it is crashing down on his administration. John McCain is running for a third Bush term, especially on the economic issues. With Americans looking now at their pocketbooks as the main political issue for this election, John McCain is not in a good position as he has been touting those same Bush economic policies that have gotten us into this economic mess in the first place. So we're seeing this desperate spin coming out of the Republican camp, saying that all the economic problems and woes that Americans are facing are not real--they are just psychological. It is like the Republicans have reverted back to a spoiled child-like state, placing their hands over their ears screaming, "No! No! No! No! No!" in denial, as they are being told that they can no longer have their magic pony.

I don't know how long this psychological state of denial can continue within the Republican Party, even as more bad economic news may be released over the course of this election year. The more that President Bush and John McCain continue spinning these psychological messages, the more they discredit themselves among the American people who are hurting in this economy--there is nothing "psychological" about losing your house, or your job, or your health care. And when the GOP finally realizes that the "psychological" message has never worked, then what are they going to say?

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