How out-of-touch is the D.C. pundit class with the rest country? Look to John McLaughlin for the answer.
During part two of "The McLaughlin Group 2009 Year-End Awards," McLaughlin, who has hosted the program since 1982, declared the concept of freedom, at least from a political standpoint in the United States, is overrated.
"The most overrated is freedom," McLaughlin said. "When faced with economic uncertainty, people don't want freedom. When they can't see their economic future, they want the nanny state."
McLaughlin's troubling view doesn't necessarily square with polling data and other anecdotal indicators. Even back at the height of economic uncertainty, only 30 percent of Americans supported the TARP bailout to save the financial system, according to a September 2008 Associated Press poll.
And since then, the entire bailout culture introduced by former President George W. Bush and continued under the presidency of Barack Obama has faced the backlash of the tea party movement, inspired by CNBC's Rick Santelli voicing his opposition to a housing bailout.
Other members of "The McLaughlin Group" pointed to other "most overrated" factors that affect the economy. For MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, it was global warming overrated. Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, providing the left-of-center voice on the panel, said Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was overrated. Conservative talker Monica Crowley called the so-called "boy genius" Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner the most overrated. But U.S. News & World Report editor-in-chief Mort Zuckerman took a shot at the leaders in the business community.
"The leaders of most of our major financial institutions in this country," Zuckerman said of the "Most Overrated."