Drying out is a subject on which President George Bush has personal insights. And when he used the metaphor of a drunk sobering up after a bender to describe America's economic travails, people sat up and listened.
"Wall Street got drunk," Mr Bush told a private gathering in Texas as he sought to explain why the world's biggest and most complex economy was teetering on the brink of recession.
When speaking in public, the President, a Harvard MBA, usually prefers euphemisms to refer to the millions of people who are hurting and losing their homes. "Challenges in the housing and financial markets," is a favourite one. But speaking to a closed-door Republican fund-raiser in Houston last week his explanation was much blunter.
"There's no question about it," Mr Bush said. "Wall Street got drunk, that's one of the reasons I asked you to turn off the TV cameras. It got drunk and now it's got a hangover. The question is how long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies