Advice to Obama: Emulate Reagan

Keep it optimistic at all times. As with FDR before him, Reagan arrived in Washington with an intuitive understanding that how Americans feel in their gut about the economy is more important than the cold numbers. “We’re in control here,” Reagan said in a televised speech on Feb. 18, 1981. “There’s nothing wrong with America that together we can’t fix.” The public, weary of Carter’s much-discussed “malaise,” responded — with a remarkable 77% in a poll that spring saying Reagan was “inspiring confidence in the White House.” Today, the best thing that Obama can do to sell his massive economic stimulus plan that could approach a cost of $850 billion or more is to exude an aura of certainty that it will work.

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