Donald Lambro

"You've got a really hot economy, job creation is up, but people may not feel it until August or September," he told me.

If Bolten can implement a plan that goes over the heads of the news media (which turns anything good about the economy into a negative), there is a great story to tell about how the economy overcame terrorist attacks, corporate and accounting scandals, war, oil price hikes and one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history -- thanks to tax-cut policies that unlocked the investment capital needed to fuel its expansion.

We've seen some of the evidence of this resilience and strength in the last three months. Among them:

    -- The Conference Board's March Consumer Confidence Index rose to 107.2, its highest level in four years.

    -- Job growth has gathered momentum, hammering unemployment down in 39 states over the last 12 months, while employment has risen in the past year in 48 states. Jobless claims have been in a long decline. The unemployment rate has fallen below 5 percent.

    -- The consensus forecast for the economy overall is that it has grown perhaps by nearly 4 percent since January.

    -- While the housing market has cooled down from its frenetic pace, the building industry is still hot. The Commerce Department reports that construction spending grew by 0.8 percent in February, up by 0.4 percent the month before.

This is the optimistic, uplifting can-do story about the U.S. economy that deserves to be told and often. The economy has its share of problems, to be sure, from layoffs at GM to a sharp spike in oil and gas prices, but the majority of Americans have every right to feel confident about its continued growth and prosperity.

If Bolten can get this story told effectively and dramatically, Bush's polls should jump.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.