John McCain spent Monday claiming as he had countless times before — that the economy was fundamentally sound. Had he missed the collapse of Lehman Brothers or the sale of Merrill Lynch, which were announced the day before? Did he not notice the agonies of the American Insurance Group? Was he unaware of the impending layoffs of tens of thousands of Wall Street employees on top of the growing numbers of unemployed workers throughout the United States?
On Tuesday, he clarified his remarks. The clarification was far more worrisome than his initial comments.
He said that by calling the economy fundamentally sound, what he really meant was that American workers are the best in the world. In the best Karl Rovian fashion, he implied that if you dispute his statement about the economy's firm foundation, you are, in effect, insulting American workers. "I believe in American workers, and someone who disagrees with that — it's fine," he told NBC's Matt Lauer.
Let's get a few things straight. First, no one who is currently running for president does not "believe in American workers."
More to the point, the economy is stressed to the breaking point by fundamental problems — in housing, finance, credit, employment, health care and the federal budget — that have been at best neglected, at worst exacerbated during the Bush years. And as a result, American workers have taken a beating.