PHIL GRAMM REEMERGES…. We haven’t heard much from Phil Gramm lately, despite speculation that he, despite his record, might be considered to lead the Treasury department in a McCain administration. Apparently, calling the United States a “nation of whiners” makes one something of a political pariah, even in Republican circles.

And yet, he’s back, and he’s as off-message as ever.

Bloomberg News reports that at a Financial Services Roundtable event in Minneapolis today, former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, revisited the comments that got him into trouble in July.

“If you’re sitting here today, you’re not economically illiterate and you’re not a whiner, so I’m not worried about who you’re going to vote for,” Gramm said.

I see. So, the rest of the country is made up of “whiners,” but if you’re at the Republican National Convention, you’re exempt from the label. It’s not enough to Gramm to reemerge from political exile, he also feels compelled to return to the subject that gone him in trouble in the first place.

Barack Obama tends to use Phil Gramm’s line in his stump speech, so it wasn’t a surprise to see this statement this afternoon from a campaign spokesperson: “Today, the man who wrote John McCain’s economic plan further insulted struggling Americans by suggesting that if they are not attending the Republican Convention, they are not only whiners, but economically illiterate. From the campaign whose candidate has said that we’ve made ‘great progress’ economically under George Bush and believes that the fundamentals of our economy are ‘strong’, that’s pretty rich.”

Just as an aside, I’m curious about something else. Gramm spoke earlier today to the Financial Services Roundtable. Given that Gramm’s financial deregulation efforts were largely responsible for the recent market meltdown, couldn’t they have found a better speaker? Wouldn’t anyone else have more credibility on the issue?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.