Economist Christina Romer defends the stimulus she helped devise and delivers a few laughs in the process. Among the lessons learned from the stimulus experience she notes the importance of salesmanship and public confidence (aka Krugman's "confidence fairy"):
Finally, there’s little question that policy makers — myself included — should have worked harder to earn the public’s support for the act. One frustrating anomaly is that many of its individual components routinely received favorable reactions in polls, while the overall act was viewed negatively.
That is more than a simple public relations problem. Recovery measures work better when they raise confidence — as Franklin D. Roosevelt understood. His fireside chats, and his inaugural address proclaiming he would fight the Great Depression with the same resolve he would muster against a foreign foe, were aimed at reassuring Americans. Recent research suggests that New Deal programs may actually have had their primary impacton the economy by influencing consumer and business expectations of future growth and inflation.
Partly because of fierce political opposition, and partly because of ineffective communication and imperfect design, the Recovery Act generated little such rebound in confidence. As a result, it didn’t have that extra, Rooseveltian kick.
Fierce political opposition? Surely she remembers that Roosevelt's New Deal aroused bitter opposition, and yet here we are.
Ms. Romer also lauds a couple of academic efforts to track the results of the stimulus:
TWO careful studies have looked at the relationship between this formulaic spending and employment. Both find that states that received more money fared substantially better. This is the strongest direct evidence that the Recovery Act contributed to employment growth. Based on the estimated size of the effect, the studies suggest that the act created more than three million jobs.
Well, well. Ms. Romer provides links to Chodorow-Reich, Feiveson et al  and Daniel J. Wilson of the FRB San Francisco . Both papers were noted in Ezra Klein's stimulus push a year ago and in our humble pushback. Mr. Klein had failed to note that the June 2011 draft of the Wilson paper rebutted the Chodorow et al result. The revised October 2011 version is less visibly contradictory.