‘Impotent’ Bush’s feeble speech on the economic meltdown and bailout

By pams
Tuesday, September 30, 2008 17:06 EDT
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Dear Leader, who looked like he wishes January 20, 2009 was here and he could be helicoptered to safety out of DC, stepped before the podium from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House and spoke for a mere four minutes about the devastation going on in the markets and the legislation on the Hill. It was a feeble, inadequate, robotic speech in a time of financial crisis that required real information to be delivered to the average person out there. (Via Think Progress):

He was immediately scorched. (Think Progress):

Immediately following the address, MSNBC turned to New York Magazine’s John Heilemann, who commented:

I don’t think that comforts anybody. I don’t think that moves a single vote. With due respect and sympathy for the man, that was the picture of a beaten dog. That was the picture of presidential impotence right there. He looked terrible like his bell had been rung. He looked drawn to me.

The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan added, “It strikes me lately, when the President talks about the economic crisis, that he seems like a commentator upon the crisis as opposed to the leader in the crisis.

You can’t give a speech on this topic in 4 minutes at the beginning of a workday. This should have been a primetime address, or even better, a press conference. This isn’t leadership. Bush has no juice, no real influence, all the air is out of his sails as he and his buddies ran the economy aground in an orgy of unregulated greed. You can tell he knows his legacy has gone down the crapper.

Regardless of his political position on the matter, at the very least he should have:
1) Explained what happened on the Hill;
2) Reassured the markets that an agreement of some kind will be reached;
3) Describe in detail the impact on the average person who has a bank account, stocks, 401Ks etc.;
4) Outline the effect on small and large businesses and availability of credit.

There are probably dozens of very basic questions that many Americans have that a hands-on President would feel obligated to address. After all, this is part of the job – keeping morale up, outlining the difficulties, show that moves are being made to get factions to work together to craft a solution. He really did look like he felt zero ownership. He phoned this one in.

It was easy for him to stand up on the rubble of the WTC back in 2001 and puff up his chest with tough talk – there was someone else to blame for the horror. In this case, there’s nowhere else to credibly point the finger — this is the Bush/McCain economy. That self-confident, smirking Bush was nowhere to be found today.

More below the fold, including Bush’s approval rating downward spiral, and the latest Obama ad on his fix for the economy. Think Progress also had a chart from the latest Gallup Poll showing the freefall of Bush’s approval rating.

Look at what John “Mighty Mouse” McCain, who only a week and a half ago said the fundamentals of the economy are strong, declared about the bailout:

“The first thing I would do is say, ‘Let’s not call it a bailout. Let’s call it a rescue,” McCain said in a CNN interview. The Arizona Republican said that “Americans are frightened right now” and it is the job of political leaders to give them both an immediate solution and a longer-term approach to the problem.

New Obama/Biden ad – taking charge of the economy

This is called “Same Path.” It outlines the clear differences between his and John McCain’s approach to the economy. It’s pretty boilerplate stuff if you’ve been following the campaign, but at this stage candidates are reaching out to the low-info voters who are just tuning in and seriously looking at them.

BO, direct to camera: For eight years, we’ve been told that the way to a stronger economy was to give huge tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and somehow prosperity would trickle down. Well now we know the truth. It didn’t work.

Instead of prosperity trickling down, pain has trickled up. Working family incomes have fallen by two thousand dollars a year. We’re losing jobs. Deficits are exploding. Our economy’s in turmoil. I know that that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis. But not by driving down the very same path. And that’s what this election’s all about.

On taxes, John McCain and I have very different ideas. Instead of giving hundreds of billions in new tax breaks to big corporations and oil companies, I’ll cut taxes for small and startup businesses that are the backbone of our economy. Instead of more tax breaks for corporations that outsource American jobs, I’ll give them to companies who create jobs here. Instead of extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest — I’ll focus on you.

My plan offers three times as much tax relief to the middle class as Senator McCain’s. If you make less than a quarter million a year, you won’t see your taxes raised one penny under my plan. And seniors making less than fifty thousand, who are struggling with the rising costs of food and drugs on fixed incomes, won’t pay income taxes at all. The tax code we have today is over 10,000 pages long. Almost every bit of it was shaped by some lobbyist taking care of some special interest. Well, it’s time we had a President who puts you first.

I hope you’ll log on to BarackObama.com and read my full plan. It will help jump-start our economy, create millions of jobs, and bring back our Main Streets all across America. The old trickle-down theory has failed us.

We can’t afford four more years like the last eight. I’m Barack Obama, and I approved this message because I know that with a new direction, and new policies focused on jobs and the middle class, we can lift our economy and our country.

Obama also released a statement on how to move forward on the bailout legislation; that’s below the fold.

From Bill Burton of the Obama camp:

“Yesterday, within the course of a few hours, the failure to pass the economic rescue plan in Washington led to the single largest decline of the stock market in two decades.

“While I, like others, am outraged that the reign of irresponsibility on Wall Street and in Washington has created the current crisis, I also know that continued inaction in the face of the gathering storm in our financial markets would be catastrophic for our economy and our families.

“At this moment, when the jobs, retirement savings, and economic security of all Americans hang in the balance, it is imperative that all of us – Democrats and Republicans alike – come together to meet this crisis.

“The bill rejected yesterday was a marked improvement over the original blank check proposed by the Bush Administration. It included restraints on CEO pay, protections for homeowners, strict oversight as to how the money is spent, and an assurance that taxpayers will recover their money once the economy recovers. Given the progress we have made, I believe we are unlikely to succeed if we start from scratch or reopen negotiations about the core elements of the agreement. But in order to pass this plan, we must do more.

“One step we could take to potentially broaden support for the legislation and shore up our economy would be to expand federal deposit insurance for families and small businesses across America who have invested their money in our banks.

“The majority of American families should rest assured that the deposits they have in our banks are safe. Thanks to measures put in place during the Great Depression, deposits of up to $100,000 are guaranteed by the federal government.

“While that guarantee is more than adequate for most families, it is insufficient for many small businesses that maintain bank accounts to meet their payroll, buy their supplies, and invest in expanding and creating jobs. The current insurance limit of $100,000 was set 28 years ago and has not been adjusted for inflation.

“That is why today, I am proposing that we also raise the FDIC limit to $250,000 as part of the economic rescue package – a step that would boost small businesses, make our banking system more secure, and help restore public confidence in our financial system.

“I will be talking to leaders and members of Congress later today to offer this idea and urge them to act without delay to pass a rescue plan,” said Barack Obama.

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