Obama's Happy Talk On The Economy

By Marc Ambinder

I'm not one to traffic in arguments that Republicans would get excoriated for saying things that Democrats are allowed to say and vice-versa, but there are times when playing the language game can be illuminating.  Isn't it true that, if there was such a thing as a prominent Republican these days, said Republican pronounced as sound the fundamentals of the economy and commented that things didn't seem to be as bad as they appeared... isn't it true that that Republican would be pilloried?  (Maybe even by the Republican's own party-mates?)

Maybe there's some truth to the New Administration Happy Talk (NAHT), but it's a little jarring. To be fair, the NAHT is always accompanied by caveats -- the recovery hasn't begun, there are still major problems, things might get worse before they get better.  Or -- maybe the administration really believes that the six-month Bush-Obama monetary and fiscal policy interventions haven't just kept things from getting worse... they've made things demonstratively, empirically, better.   In fact, in order for their rosy economic growth projections to kick on, they'd better ratchet up the NAHT talk...

When is happy talk cosmetic? When is it useful? When is it dubious?

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/03/obamas-happy-talk-on-the-economy/1508/