George Walker Bush is the first US President to graduate with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) — from Harvard Business School no less. As such, you would think that in the middle of this global banking crisis, he would be front and center helping to restore confidence in the marketplace. However, he is completely missing in action. In fact, on Monday when Wall Street and the rest of the financial markets were on their knees, he only provided a brief comment in the middle of a press conference with President Kufuor of Ghana. Yesterday, he made another brief statement. This is clearly a dereliction of duty.
Now I am not suggesting that the President should have pushed to the side Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke who are not only coordinating the government’s interventions but also playing key roles in negotiations between financial institutions. He has rightly delegated the day-to-day management of this crisis to people who are more technically capable when it comes to financial matters.
However, considering that this crisis has gone global and this isn’t just about a few bankers, as Commander in Chief/ Leader of the Free World/MBA in Chief, at some point during the week he should have been on TV during prime time addressing the American people and the world at large demonstrating that he understands the problems facing the financial markets and where possible, talking about what government will do to help restore confidence in the marketplace. Now that would have been real leadership. But as we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, leadership in the middle of a crisis is not something that President Bush does well.
So thank goodness his tenure comes to an end January 20th 2009. Now, if only it were sooner.