Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law
We can blame the irrelevant obsession by the pundits and “mainstream media” on President Trump’s first 100 days in office on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. During his campaign, FDR promised “bold persistent experimentation”, and he delivered. He was sworn into office on March 4, 1933*; on March 5th, he closed all the banks. By March 15th, banks holding 90% of the nation’s banking resources were re-opened. Between the 5th and the 15th, Congress passed the Emergency Banking Relief Act that permitted sound banks to re-open and provided managers for those banks still in trouble.Between March 9 and June 16, Congress passed more than a dozen of Roosevelt’s major proposals. Not all of them were successful, or constitutional, but the benchmark was set for successive presidents.
Does a new president’s performance in his first 100 days in office provide a meaningful indication of the success or failure of his administration. In a word, NO. As an example, President John F. Kennedy’s administration began with the Bay of Pigs debacle. Yet, most historians rank his presidency as one of the best. So why all the focus on this meaningless evaluation?
Easy. It gives the pundits, media and political junkies something to obsess about. They can make irrelevant lists, angst over who’s up and who’s down, create unrealistic scenarios out of whole cloth, and generally run around crying “the sky is falling”. All of which changes nothing.
Admittedly, President Trump’s first 100 days have not rivaled FDR’s for accomplishments. However, he has 1,360 more days to make his mark as President. Let’s all step back and measure the President when appropriate on his entire body of work.
However, one accomplishment definitely deserves historical mention – the nomination and confirmation of Judge Neal Gorsuch as the next US Supreme Court Justice. President Trump made the nomination and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell provided the confirmation. Since he is only 49 years old, Judge Gorsuch is expected to be a conservative vote and voice on the Supreme Court for years to come.
Things are just now really getting interesting.
- Originally the Constitution provided for Congressional terms to begin on March 4 of the year following the election. That date also became the starting date for Presidential and Vice-Presidential terms. The delay was due to the difficulty in communication and travel in 1789. The 20th Amendment ratified and effective in 1933 after FDR’s first inauguration changed the date for the beginning of congressional terms to noon on January 3rd and the start of Presidential terms to noon on January 20th.