STRATEGIES

The New Economic Optimism

With job loss numbers better than expected and a general feeling that the country’s wounded economy is on the mend, President Obama is trying out a brand new strategy: optimism. While he acknowledges that the recovery will take months or years, Obama has been using more confident language, saying on Friday that “the gears of our economic engine do appear to be slowly turning once again.” Obama’s strategy, according to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, is to aim for openness and honesty, but avoid talking about the numbers. Says Robert Dallek, who has written extensively on LBJ, “There’s a kind of artistry to this, isn’t there? You don’t want to come out and say the recession is over. You want to do a version of Churchill’s line about how this isn’t the end, or the beginning of the end, but rather the end of the beginning.”