Photo: Jay Godwin for LBJ Library viaFlickr
Thaddeus G. McCotter
Often during spring training, the Hall of Fame baseball manager of the Reds and Tigers, Sparky Anderson, was asked about how his team would fare in the upcoming season. To put off the question without appearing rude, the skipper would say, “we’ll know after the first 40 games.” Interestingly, the jury is still out on whether Sparky actually believed this, because after the first 40 games he slyly put off the question for more and more games until his team had patently proven its competitive mettle (or lack thereof) to reporters and fans.
In politics, Sparky’s 40-game “rule” is the “first hundred days.” The phrase and, indeed, the concept of its alleged importance was unknown in presidential history until 1933, when it was spawned by that marketing genius, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Entering office during the depths of the Great Depression and armed with only a haphazard amalgam of ad hoc, pragmatic policy proposals (the merits of which are still being debated today), FDR devised the “first hundred days” standard to show the new president was acting with urgency to solve the crisis. Consequently, the first hundred days was not a matter of economic policy; it was a piece of political propaganda.
Today, Joe Biden is spending his “presidency-elect” (or whatever the spoon-fed press calls it) pretending to be relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic. Granted, Biden got off to a bad start by opposing the barring of Chinese nationals’ travel to America; promising to “defeat the virus” with a secret plan that turned out to be establishing a commission; and supporting—then denying—continued lockdowns.
Now, like FDR, Biden is under political pressure to show he is acting with alacrity; and to portray himself as the leader responsible for solving the pandemic that got him elected.
Yet, unlike FDR, who took office when the economic crisis was at its height, for Biden the COVID-19 pandemic’s end is in sight. Yes, the aforementioned spoon-fed press is doing its best to pimp pandemic porn to set the scene for Biden. Nonetheless, the public sees the light at the end of the crisis, due to the vaccine made possible by the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed. What to do?
Cue the “first hundred days” and “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
Biden has proposed two measures to show he is on top of the pandemic, both of which are coincidentally already happening.
The first? “On the first day I’m inaugurated, I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask—not forever, just 100 days. And I think we’ll see a significant reduction [in the virus].”
The second? “I know it’s going to be controversial for some of you—but I’m going to ask that we’re going to be able to open schools at the end of 100 days.”
Biden offers no real science to support why 100 days is the requisite span for these public health measures to succeed. He can’t, because it doesn’t exist. No, these “first hundred days” spans are based not upon medical science but upon political science.
This isn’t public health; it’s propaganda. It is why Biden refuses to credit President Trump and his administration with facilitating the necessary “miracle” development of a COVID-19 vaccine. It is why Biden has proposed these two “first hundred days” measures—the masks, which are already in use across the vast majority of the country to varying degrees of utility; and closed classrooms, which is not supported by the scientific community, but rather demanded by the teachers’ unions. (Guess which is more important to Biden?) The goal is to convince Americans that Biden solved the pandemic.
Amid the political science that will drive Biden’s first hundred daze, did anyone truly expect a known plagiarist wouldn’t claim to have authored the pandemic’s ending?