April 29, 2017 National Review Online
It’s already clear the race Mr. Trump is running is no mere sprint.
We’re all playing the 100-day game, and it’s kind of silly. What’s Trump done since January 20 last? But that’s like asking who won the first 100 yards in a marathon.
The only game that really matters is the 1,285 game. That’s the number of days till the 2020 election.
But then the mind does tend to focus on round numbers, and so let’s ask what’s happened since Trump was inaugurated.
And the answer is a lot in some ways, less in others. But in one respect, there’s been a huge change, and that is our sense that there’s a new sheriff in town, there’s a new guy in charge, and things we could never have imagined had Hillary won are now possible. More than possible. On the cards, more likely than not to happen.
In great measure, that’s because of actions Trump has taken. The tomahawk missile attack on a Syrian base. The MOAB bomb in Afghanistan. What is vastly more important still, though hardly noticed, the successful courting of President XI and the possible rapprochement with China. In 100 days, Trump has reinvented American foreign policy and shown himself a master of diplomacy.
But it’s more than what he’s done, even as FDR’s first 100 days was about more than the flurry of legislation passed in the spring of 1933. That’s the benchmark, when people talk about the first 100 days of an administration. Roosevelt had inherited an economic crisis and had a compliant Congress that rubber-stamped anything the White House sent its way.
When it comes to what was actually passed in FDR’s first 100 days, however, not too many people could tell you offhand. The list included some benign welfare laws, such as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration; some useful infrastructure projects that put people back to work; and the semi-fascist National Recovery Act (the Blue Eagle) that was happily shut down by the Supreme Court.
The point is that what changed, with FDR’s inauguration, was more than a new set of laws. There was also the sense that, after a cruel depression, things were finally going to get better. America had lost its step and would now rebound. And in the end, that mattered more than anything else, in the 1930s.
FDR’s New Deal programs came from some of the smartest minds of the time. With the benefit of hindsight, a lot of those ideas seem nutty today. With the benefit of hindsight, a lot of things from back when seem nutty. But that doesn’t begin to describe the sense of relief that people in the 1930s felt about America, with a new president in office. Go back and listen to his fireside chats, and see if you don’t feel the same way.
That’s why, in looking at the first 100 days of a new administration, you have to go beyond objective yardsticks — what was passed, what was done — and ask whether there’s something new in the air. READ it HERE
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