100 Days Don't Matter

This is not the first post about whether the first 100 days of Obama's administration tell us anything. There was a lot of discussion in the first week of the administration about whether the paradigm applied to a President who had done more in his transition, directly lobbying Congress and deflecting international overtures, than many are called upon to do in their first three months. There was also a sense that the 24 hour media cycle had rendered the 100 days obsolete. To the contrary, for lack of anything better to fill the time (except swine flu), the 100 days offer a time-honored "tradition" of media navel contemplation.

Of course, what the administration has worked on so far hasn't helped answer the question either - though perhaps that, in itself, is the answer. Obama didn't have a 100 day agenda. He didn't have milestones to hit by now, at least none to which anyone inside gave any voice. The projects are all bigger than that. Can we talk cogently about 100 days Obama stimulus, or do you have to back to his encouraging Congress to pass the second half of the stimulus before he took office? How about economic recovery, led by a man who was involved in the bailout while Barack was still stumping? How about healthcare, stymied initially by the Debaschle but now on track again? Or international relations, with an ongoing stream of meetings with EU leaders, the G20, the Summit of the Americas, etc., none of which run on Washington's schedule? Jobs and homes? Those programs are just in the first stages of being implemented.

What emerges instead of a 100 day picture is a sense of, "My gosh, he's really pushing all of these items as part of an ambitious agenda. He'll continue to work the agenda, and, perhaps most importantly, he isn't thinking 100 days at a time." Give it a year, maybe two, and we'll know how this presidency is really shaping up. Of course, by then, it'll be time to start running for re-election.

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