Biden’s First 100: President Joe Biden crossed the 100 days in office milestone this week. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: Biden’s First 100
As noted in yesterday’s email, there seems to be some disagreement as to which exact date marks Joe Biden’s 100th day in office. Regardless, the moral of the story is that the president crossed that milestone this week. In reality, it’s an arbitrary date. Former Obama adviser David Axelrod once referred to it as a “Hallmark holiday,” meaning it gets a lot of attention but isn’t super important. From a historical standpoint, the 100-day tradition dates back to the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who passed 76 laws in that timeframe aimed at combating the Great Depression. By comparison, only seven laws have been enacted in the current Congress, Jeanine Santucci of USA Today notes. With that said, “Biden has signed more reversals of a previous administration’s actions in the first 100 days than any president in history. He has also signed the largest number of executive actions, which don’t require passage through Congress, but are tenuous because they can be withdrawn by a future president.” Heading into May and the next chapter of the Biden presidency, here is what both sides are saying about the president’s first 100 days.
On The Left
Democrats are celebrating both style and substance as it relates to President Biden’s first 100 days. While some are hopefully optimistic that his presidency is on track to be as transformational as FDR’s, others are more cautious in regards to the road ahead.
Jonathan Chait outlines Biden’s subdued style in New York Magazine. He says “It has dawned on Republicans that the man their standard-bearer once mocked as ‘Sleepy Joe’ is a formidable adversary” who is “relentlessly enacting an ambitious domestic agenda…while arousing hardly any controversy.” As Chait sees it, by “boring them to death,” Biden gives little for “his critics to hook on to.” Furthermore, “His proposals may be transformational, but they won’t feel transformational to Republicans,” Chait says. This is because Biden’s media strategy is central to his politics, and “In his public communication, he has put forth the most minimal effort that the news media will tolerate without staging a revolt.” This silent approach, which Chait calls “actively sedative,” is in stark contrast to former President Trump, who “right-wing Republicans came to adore…because of his lust for political combat.”
Meanwhile, Julian Zelizer focuses on the substance of Biden’s first 100 days in CNN. He contends that Biden has “made a compelling case for the vital role of government in American life, offering a rebuttal to Reagan, who famously said, ‘Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.’” He credits Biden for passing the American Rescue Plan, handling the vaccine rollout, and applying executive power on behalf of climate change, gender equity, and migrant families. However, Zelizer also acknowledges the first 100 days have not been “problem-free,” citing the border crisis and COVID resurgence in Michigan. Nevertheless, Zelizer believes “Biden’s presidency thus far has energized Democrats, many of whom have been pleasantly surprised by his willingness to push forward…on big promises.” He states Democrats are optimistic that their strengthened coalition could “launch a new era in American liberalism.”
Finally, Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus is far more tempered in his analysis. He writes, “For all Biden’s unexpected boldness, his record doesn’t reach Rooseveltian standards.” Unlike FDR’s New Deal laws, McManus believes Biden’s big promises “won’t last a single generation unless the president persuades Congress to extend them.” McManus also mentions the “frustration among progressives who hoped for more help.” Similarly, “Those who hoped Biden would produce a renaissance of bipartisanship have been disappointed too.” After all, he says, the president has “made a hard-nosed choice that passing bills comes first; bipartisanship comes second.” Considering “trouble on the horizon” with “a surge of underage migrants on the southern border” and economist anxiety “that Biden’s huge spending bills could increase inflation,” McManus concludes “he has a long way to go.”
Simply put, most Democrats are pumped about Biden’s first 100 days. Some on the far left are making a lot of noise that he needs to go bigger and some closer to the center would be more satisfied if he reached across the aisle a bit more. At the end of the day, however, they feel good about Biden’s first stint while acknowledging the uphill road ahead.
On The Right
Republicans, on the other hand, see the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency as a cynical power grab enabled by left-aligned media outlets. They sound the alarm that contrary to the popular narrative, Biden is operating as a radical rather than a moderate.
Liz Peek asserts in Fox News that “Democrats want unlimited power and are mobilizing all possible means to get it.” She states they have already “threatened to pack the Supreme Court, eliminate the filibuster, abolish the Electoral College, grant statehood to Washington, DC, federalize voting laws, and enact a labor bill that would overturn right-to-work statutes in 27 states.” Biden, Peek continues, has “reversed President Trump’s immigration measures, setting up a humanitarian and security nightmare at our southern border” and “worsened race relations by frequently denouncing the United States as “‘systemically racist.’” On COVID, she says, “Both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris foolishly sowed doubts about Trump’s vaccines early on” and now present a very “muddled” message. Peek thinks Republicans should address “more pressing matters like restoring law and order and reopening the economy…[which would open] the door for the GOP to regain power and stop the Biden blitz.”
Over in The American Spectator, George Neumayr zeros in on the Media and Constitutional matters, painting Biden as a puppet for the “far Left.” First, he lambastes journalists, saying they disingenuously “sold Biden as a moderate” and yet now “thoroughly [approve] of his ambition to be the ‘most progressive president’ ever.” He opines, “The more the Biden administration wallows in wokeness, the more the media celebrates it.” Turning to the Constitution, Neumayr says when Biden officials describe it “as a document of white supremacy,” they are justifying their own “infidelity to it.” Consequently, he states Democrats plan to “pack the Supreme Court” and “expand the power of the judiciary” in their “pursuit of a ‘living Constitution’ that trumps the real one.” Ultimately, Neumayr believes “today’s progressives” like Biden harbor Karl Marx’s hope that “the ‘opiate’ of religion would dissipate as government grew.”
Lastly, Miranda Devine also scolds the media and calls their “Biden-friendly” spin on his first 100 days “embarrassing.” In the New York Post, she accuses Biden of “ratcheting up racial tension, opening the floodgates to illegal migration, [and] spending trillions of dollars we don’t have on things we don’t need,” all while “launching job-killing new taxes to pretend to pay for it.” Devine says he “even managed to botch the messaging on” the “roll out the vaccine he was gifted.” She contrasts “sycophantic media coverage” of Biden with “the relentless character assassination of Trump, his family, and everyone in his administration.” Nonetheless, despite flattering media attention, checks in American mailboxes, and the promise of trillions of dollars earmarked for “various boondoggles,” Biden “still managed to get one of the worst job-approval ratings of any US president since World War II.”
As enthusiastic as Democrats are with respect to Biden’s first 100 days, Republicans are in fact repulsed by what they consider an authoritarian power grab from the left.
Flag This: Biden’s First 100
Multiple outlets conducted polls over the past week to monitor public sentiment surrounding Biden’s first 100 days. RealClearPolitics aggregated the results, showing 53.1% of the country gave Biden a thumbs up for his efforts so far. Now, left-leaning outlets tout how Biden’s approval, quite literally, trumps Trump’s. A POLITICO headline reads: “Biden beats Trump in poll of first 100 days by 12 points.” Right-leaning outlets, on the other hand, focus on how this approval compares to other modern presidents. “The average approval rating for the past 14 presidents polled at this point in their terms is 66%,” Sophie Mann of Just The News notes. So what’s next? No one knows, but Anita Kumar of POLITICO warns of a potential “summer curse” wherein “a White House’s carefully laid plans [can potentially] go to die.” For example, “George W. Bush was on vacation when one of the worst natural disasters in US history hit. Donald Trump faced back-to-back shootings in Texas and Ohio…and for Barack Obama, the pitfalls of the summer became a running gag inside the West Wing.” There were hostile town halls in 2009, a lingering oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, a debt ceiling crisis in 2011, a confrontation with Syria over chemical weapons use in 2013, and riots in Ferguson, Mo. in 2014. What’s next for Biden is anyone’s guess but the timer on the next 100 days has already started ticking.
Flag Poll: Biden’s First 100
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