White House photo by Eric Draper
The old cowpoke Bush had that glazed look in his eyes as he told the world the U.S. is on the brink of financial collapse in a television address to the nation Wednesday.
You know the story. Congress must authorize a massive bailout of Wall Street if the world's biggest economy is to survive, Bush says.
Bush managed to keep a straight face, but there was no hiding the hint of defeat.
The teflon Texan, who's usually so sure of himself that he thinks nothing of spending $10 billion a week on a senseless war in Iraq, seemed off. Maybe it was the makeup making him look a little grayer, more brittle.
Bush is hard to faze. Not even a $400 billion deficit, the largest in the country's history, exploding like so much bad K-D in the microwave can knock this old boy off stride. It's all part of his Alpha male obsessions.
But as frazzled as Bush looked at times during his address, it's hard not to shake the feeling that Bush is pulling one last bait and switch on the American people before he rides off into the sunset.
Just like the Iraq war has been a boon to Bush's friends at Halliburton - to say noting of his pals on the oil patch - this made-in-Washington economic collapse is looking more like the last great train robbery, one more payoff at taxpayer's expense, for Bush's rich buddies. Some legacy.
Blame hubris. Blame 9/11 and the dark decisions taken by Bush and Company in the hours after the Twin Towers went boom. Somewhere, bin Laden's smiling.