IF PRESIDENT Bush could do to the national recession what, as commander in chief, he did to the Iraqi army in Kuwait -- i.e., wipe it out -- some people might want to launch a campaign to abolish the 22nd Amendment.
Forget about such a scenario, however: The recession is a more resourceful and powerful enemy than even one of the world's largest military forces. Everyone realizes that the age-old Keynesian remedies for jump-starting an economic engine are mostly unavailable when fiscal prudence -- and worldwide pressure -- requires Washington to address the huge budget deficit. So let's avoid cheap calls for instantaneous action to solve the recession overnight.
Certainly the president himself has very modest expectations for what he wants to achieve. To stimulate an economy that has been flatter than the Saudi desert, he has relied on the limited weaponry of monetary stimulus. White House pressure on the Federal Reserve no doubt was an important factor, but not the only one in driving down the bellwether federal discount rate. But otherwise the president has sought a low profile on economic policy.