In the wake of yesterday’s congressional meltdown over the bailout bill, President Bush gave a speech this morning, meant to reassure the public and the volatile financial markets. Just four minutes long, the address expressed disappointment in Congress and warned that “the consequences will grow worse each day if we do not act.”
Bush’s speech is unlikely to have much of an effect. 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. There is the sense that he is watching it saying we need to do something, as opposed to we will do something.” Watch Bush’s speech, followed by MSNBC’s commentary (view YouTube version here):
As the Washington Post writes today, yesterday’s failed bailout vote “marked the biggest legislative defeat of Bush’s tenure and underscored the vanishing influence of a president who could once bend a pliant Congress to his will on wars, taxes, surveillance and a host of other high-profile initiatives.”
Coinciding with these developments, Gallup has released a new poll today showing that Bush’s approval rating has dropped to the lowest point in his tenure: