Forget parties and sides, should the president just be more positive?

I don’t want to get into Republican versus Democrat here.

I really think a lot of what is going on with our economy has to do with mind-set; there seems to be this expectation of failing.

I really think our economy has as much to do expectations as it does with any sort of science.

I wish our President would make a point each time before speaking to just say how great the USA is. I really think that that, beyond policy, would actually cause a change.

America isn’t great, saying it’s great is such a cliche I doubt it would even be noticed, and nationalistic speeches won’t solve our problems.

I don’t think that is coming from he President, and I don’t think adopting a Pollyanna attitude will do anything to stop it.

I think perception is as much as reality.

I really think that our economic downturn has ended, but now we need a kick to our self image. We now need to know that we are great (if we are or not, that’s another thread).

I really think our perception is off in this country.

Well there are a lot of people who think that the wealthy are systematically looting the country, specifically the middle class, which is the source of our economic problems, since it is the middle class and not the wealthy who are responsible for economic progress. The wealthy are not going to stop looting the US because the President says America is a great country. They’re economic psychopaths, it’ll take some hard action to defeat them. Sorry.

Problem is, the President doesn’t believe any of that personally, so it’s irrelevant. He’s not going to fight the wealthy, nor does he believe they are looting the country. And he certainly doesn’t believe they are psychopaths.

If you believe that, you need a different candidate.

I agree, but my point is that since this is the situation, more positivity from ANY President or candidate cannot help.

He wears a flag lapel pin, and makes a point of blessing the country every time he speaks. What, specifically, do you expect the POTUS to achieve with additional pointless jingoism?

First, before there’s any substantive discussion on the rest of your points, what’s your evidence for this?

Your entire argument seems to be based around the idea that expectations, positive or negative, among Joe Q Public will make a difference. Further, you seem to think that it’s independent of the general public’s political affiliation.

I don’t buy it. And unless you can provide proof that it happens (not just that it’s plausible), I don’t see the merits in debating the rest of your points.

Economic placebo worked for Reagan. You really think he fixed anything?

Well, he did fire the air traffic controllers, which fixed… a bunch of Air Force and Marine ATCs having nothing to do?

It also let government unions know who they were dealing with. Air Traffic Controllers are among the mostly highly paid and coveted jobs as whole in the U.S. to this day. He just didn’t let their union hold the nation hostage to their whims and pettiness. It is a side point but I support Reagan’s move on that one.

I don’t think the OP’s overall point is without merit. Lots of presidents were better at it than the most recent string during even worse circumstances. Kennedy was a master at it for example despite presiding over a lackluster presdiency with lots of serious problems brewing. Lincoln was good at it even during the Civil War and Clinton was good at PR even during his own personal crises.

A lot of economics is based on consumer confidence and that can be influenced by the right leader. It won’t fix everything however. You still have to take careful look at long-term economic policies especially in terms of programs like Social Security, Medicare, and military spending to make sure we aren’t on track to pull a Greece or Spain in a few years ourselves. A good leader can frame that in the most palatable way however and that makes a lot of difference.

The thesis is dubious. The capacity of the presidential bully-pulpit to shape the public’s psyche is contingent and large structural demand shortfalls can’t be plastered over with any amount of messaging anyway.

There is scope for oratory optimism to have an political effect but that scope was much larger in bygone eras when media channels were limited compared to today’s high levels of media fragmentation and self-selected polarisation. You’ll never have the same penetration and raw contact as FDR’s fireside chats. Nor will you have audiences that are as ripe for Reagan’s morning in America message as then.

It’s naïve to think that that the 30-44% core of solid Republicans are ever going to be receptive to anything Obama says, when there’s such a large kernel of them that think he’s a Muslim Manchurian candidate. He is at best grasping at a small group of undecided voters and trying to re-energise his 2008 base.

Why should he say it, when it’s not true ? The only things America is still number one in are incarceration rates and military spending. Perhaps porn output, too. Everything else, some other country does it better - education, innovation, social freedom & mobility, civil rights, health care, quality of life, economy, productivity, ecology, crime & violence… in any of these fields, America is not “great”. It’s anywhere from “a’ight” to “meh” to “downright crappy”, at least within the context of developed nations. I don’t think moar self-satisfied back slapping will help with any of these things.

We’re number one in gun ownership!

It had nothing to do with the union or pay. Federal civilian pay is solely governed by Congress. The Air Traffic Controllers were fired because they broke the law in that it is illegal for federal employees to strike.

Arguably, it killed a fair number of people in crashes when the union’s demands for better flight control computers so forth went unmet for many years after.

The rational expectations model, which posits that the public’s expectations about the economy do influence how the economy behaves, is a standard topic in a sophomore/junior macroeconomics course. There is some debate as to whether rational expectations gets the details right, but to the best of my knowledge, there’s no serious disagreement that something like this is happening. Of course, the public’s expectations regarding the economy do involve a bit more than what the president says…

The president should be using all possible mechanical advantage to lift America from the depths of lies and fabrications.
He must use the pulley bull-pit!