I have a theory there’s some projection going on inside the Beltway. The hot talk at the moment is that Trump is pushing hard for the House to pass ObamaCare repeal/replace by the end of next week so he can claim a major legislative victory in his first 100 days in office.
In which case, the “first 100 days” thing is hardly the point so much as the realization that you’re going to have to deal with yet another round of media he-hasn’t-been-productive blather, regardless of what prompts them to say it.
Trump himself has noticed how ridiculous both ends of the phenomenon are:
No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2017
Trump is correct, of course, that the “first 100 days” standard is absurd. It’s an arbitrary round number that means not a thing. If you pass good legislation or make a good decision that helps the country, it doesn’t matter if you make it on Day 1, Day 99, Day 150 or day 1,000. As long as you make it. There are things such as budget cycles and election cycles that affect when it’s plausible to do such things, but that doesn’t make the 100-day thing legitimate.
Historically, the 100-day obsession appears to date back to FDR and the New Deal. Given massive Democratic majorities in the midst of the Great Depression, FDR chose to use the first 100 days as a timetable for passing major legislation. It made for a narrative of decisive action at a time when the nation was desperate for something to change the status quo. Of course, the things FDR did in his first 100 days are largely responsible for establishing the big-government apparatus and welfare state we’re still grappling with to this day, but in 1933 all anyone cared about was that the president was moving aggressively and getting things done.
Why that means every president since then should be assessed by the 100-day threshold . . . beats me. It’s just one of those dopey media narratives that is now established and won’t go away as long as they want to keep it alive.
Then again, Trump didn’t mind the 100-day thing back in October.
Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by CainTV, which can be found at caintv.com
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