Reactions fell into two camps. One side focused on what they didn't hear: Promises to help the economy. The other side focused on what they did hear: Vague, ambiguous ("Fed-ish") promises to not rule out further assistance.So Barack Obama knows that he can't get what he needs out of Congress, and he knows that the Fed is his best hope for getting the economy moving and avoiding all sorts of misery (and, incidentally, improving his re-election chances), and he knows that the Fed is going to have extended discussion of it four weeks from now.
The key clue worth highlighting in your memory is this, from near the end of the address. "The Federal Reserve has a range of tools that could be used to provide additional monetary stimulus," Bernanke said. "We will continue to consider those and other pertinent issues, at our meeting in September, which has been scheduled for two days (the 20th and the 21st) instead of one to allow a fuller discussion." (Thompson's emphasis.)
And yet there are two empty seats at the table, and Obama has currently nominated absolutely no one for those seats, at least since his nominee for one of them withdrew after a filibuster.
There is no possibility of Obama getting two people confirmed by the Senate by September 20th. However, he still has time to grant two recess appointments, notwithstanding House attempts to block that presidential power.
Really, I can't think of any good reason for Obama to not act on this. Accounts of the internal functioning of the Fed are murky at best, and it's certainly possible that two new voices pushing for the Fed to do whatever is needed to boost the economy short-term wouldn't make any difference, but it's hard to see how it could hurt, and frankly I'm pressed to think of any downside in trying.
Recess appointments now -- beginning with two new appointments for the Fed Board of Governors.