President Bush today channeled Franklin Roosevelt in his Rose Garden speech today.

Roosevelt’s fireside chats often talked about the “fear” he railed against in his inaugural speech. But he also took on the dangers of “cut-throat competition,” a complaint we don’t hear much about these days.

Here’s some more FDR to consider:

Seven months passed between the time Roosevelt delivered his first inaugural address (“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”), and the third Fireside Chat I’ve posted above, one in which he renews a call for patience and optimism.

The current economic crisis, it’s worth remembering, only exploded out in the open in a fashion that seems to affect all Americans less than a month ago. And yet, here was President Bush already trying to explain today why the bailout hasn’t worked yet, and things haven’t been fixed.

Meanwhile, The Atlantic’s James Fallows critiques Bush’s “crisis statements,” and says a president should only make them if they have something new to say.

  • He would make a speech that would captivate us all. Plenty of strategic pauses.

  • FDR taught us that humility brings strength.

    Bush taught us that strength brings humility.

    There is a Tao of leadership, after all.