The President went to a Rotary Club meeting at Yak-A-Doo's in the Holiday Inn in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and gave a speech boosting the economy.
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - President Bush worked to reassure Americans on Monday about the economy but said "there's definitely some storm clouds and concern" because of the nation's credit crunch and mortgage problems.
"But the underpinning is good," Bush told business and community leaders at a gathering of Rotary Club members.
Never been to Fredericksburg and don't know who belongs to the Rotary there, but if it's like the Rotary Clubs in most places, Bush was speaking to an audience made up of insurance agents, realtors, officers of the local banks, owners of car dealerships and local businesses, with maybe a few lawyers and doctors thrown into the mix.
What they are then are people who are having to deal right now with the very economic problems Bush was there to wave away:
"We've had a pretty good economic run," the president said in a speech intended to show he is aware of the public's edgy mood these days. Consumer confidence has eroded as turmoil in the housing and credit market have battered the economy.
Bush tried to position himself as an advocate for working families by taking aim at his favorite target: the Democratic Congress.
"The Congress cannot take economic vitality for granted," Bush said.
"The most negative thing Congress can do in the face of economic uncertainty is to raise taxes on the American people," Bush said.
The Rotarians weren't impressed.
The audience of roughly 80 people listened to Bush with respectful silence. Yet a line that normally gets him applause — "I'll veto any tax increase" — drew no reaction at all.
If the Rotarians are who I think they are, some are succeeding, more are struggling; plenty of them might be well enough off---"comfortable"---for now, and a few of them are probably rich, but not Rich rich. They're the high end of the middle class and they know they are up there and know they will only stay there as long as all the lower levels of the middle class are doing ok enough to afford their services and shop at their stores and come to their offices for help and advice. And they know this. They aren't among the American people Bush was talking about, the people Bush wants to protect from any tax increases.
To Bush and his base, his real base, the American people are the Rich. The rich Rich. The multi-millionaires and the billionaires and their parasitical offspring who'd be ruined, just ruined, by any taxes on their princely inheritances. The American royals. They are the true Americans. This is their country.
The rest of us just work here.