The job market, he said, is "steadily healing." An adverb fronting a gerund; talk doesn't get any weaker than that.Wait, aren't we all supposed to think that the passive voice is the wimpiest wording in the English language? But leave that aside. Ignore, as well, the fact that in a grammar that distinguishes between gerunds and participles -- the grammar Henninger and I learned in school -- Obama's "healing" is a participle.
No, what's interesting is the Henninger's idea that the grammatical combination itself -- adverb modifying participle -- results in a "weak" expression, regardless of content. Yes, there are writers who make a fetish of disdaining adverbs. But even Elmore Leonard probably wouldn't argue that "[is] steadily healing" is somehow weaker than "[is experiencing a] steady recovery" (adjective, noun).
And what if the economy happened to be “rapidly improving” or “audibly humming” or “still booming”? Are those adverb-participle combos examples of talk that "doesn't get any weaker than that"? "Steadily healing" may be an optimistic description of a limping economy, but there's nothing inherently "weak" about the grammatical structure of the phrase.