Diary

The First 100 Days: What's the Big Deal?

This is not about the alleged accomplishments or shortcomings of Trump’s first 100 days in office.  Others have done the subject better justice on the subject.  Instead, one should rightfully be asking who cares, OR alternately, why the emphasis on any president’s first 100 days?  Wikipedia informs us that the phrase was first used in FDR’s first term but that it referred more correctly to the 100 day Congressional session.  Since then, the first 100 days is supposed to be some important benchmark of presidential success.

Here is a mathematical fact:  assuming a president serves a full four year term, that is 1,460 days.  One hundred days represents a mere 6.8% of a presidential term.  This is a mythical time frame that keeps the pundit class happy and employed.

Of course, the reason the first 100 days is considered so important is because the winner of the election is coming off the ultimate victory in politics and has momentum entering office.  But, this was perhaps one of the most contentious elections in recent history featuring two unpalatable candidates.  Trump entered office with no momentum with which to build upon or take advantage of.  He entered office with some of the lowest approval ratings ever for an incoming president.  Even George W. Bush had an approval rating of about 60% when he took the oath of office in 2001.  Trump hovered in the low to middle 40’s.

Some of the low approval rating is self-inflicted and his low approval ratings are deservedly so.  Conversely, some is attributable to an organized effort by the coalition of crybaby sore losers on the Left.  Not all of his decisions have been “bad” in the political sense.  For example, James Mattis at the Defense Depertment was confirmed 98-1.  Yet for every success there seems to be a setback or two.  For example, although laudable and probably legal, the ham-handed way his travel ban from certain countries was rolled out left a lot to be desired.

Not all of his low approval ratings are attributable to #TheResistance or, according to some commenters here, the leftovers of the #NeverTrump movement {Disclaimer: I consider myself part of that movement}.  Most of that latter group has moved on and accepts Trump as the President of the United States since he duly won the Electoral vote count.  But we will certainly hold his feet to the fire.

Additionally, there is some truth to the statement that the press is clearly more critical of Trump in his first 100 days than they ever were towards Obama in his entire eight years.  Given all these factors, it all boils down to who cares what he accomplished in 100 days?

For any true American, we want our leaders to “succeed” despite the letter after their name.  We may disagree with them and their policy prescriptions, but this level of disapproval, obstruction and hatred was never seen against Obama, Bush or Clinton upon entering office.  A lot of it is resistance simply “because…”

Given the fact that his approval rating was so low entering office and the obvious resistance, hopes should not have been high anyway for his first 100 days.  In addition to the fact that the 100 day benchmark is just some figment of the imagination of the pundit class, who cares at this point?

Instead, whether I eventually evolve into a Trump supporter depends on the totality of his term, not 6% of it.  I am clearly not there yet using the 9/11 test.

God forbid there is another 9/11 type attack on the United States.  One wonders how Trump would handle it.  Would he have a George W. Bush moment and experience astronomical approval ratings?  Or would he Tweet “I told you so?”  At this point, one has to believe the latter and as long as one believes that and until he proves me wrong, one has to view his presidency warily.