There's a cute political quip which holds that a gaffe is when you accidently tell the truth. That's often true, but often not. McCain is rather gaffe prone, particularly when he's pretending to know what he's talking about (See "Policy, Foreign") but the gaffe du jour is McCain's most senior economic advisor telling the country that the economy is a-ok and that everyone should stop whining. That's just a gaffe. Economists will be pinning down if/when a recession officially begins, but to argue that the economy is fundamentally strong seems a bit wrong headed.
Arguing that corporate profits are strong or that the GDP has not declined for two consecutive quarters misses entirely the growing inequity in this country, and the squeeze people are feeling. Even without pointing out that seasonally adjusted unemployment has risen by more than 12% since January, or that gas has risen to nearly $4.50 a gallon, there are reasons to be worried. The tangled web spun by the housing bubble and the abundance of cheap credit has yet to be unspun.
Gramm's comments weren't just politically boneheaded, they were also substantively wrong. One may try to hide behind a narrow technical defense of his statements, or just smile and make it all go away, but the economic problems we're facing are impervious to a sunny disposition.
This all reminds me of 2004, when FOX News was a 24/7 "Why don't people realize how good the econmy is?"