The habit of assessing a president’s accomplishments after his first 100 days in office goes back to the first administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his first 100 days, Roosevelt laid the foundations for the New Deal. It’s an impossible standard to meet, says former Federal Reserve vice chairman Alan Blinder.
“I often say that Roosevelt cursed future presidents with the 100 days concept. … It’s just too short,” Blinder says.
In normal times, new presidents can’t hope to match Roosevelt’s accomplishments. In that regard, Obama has an advantage. These aren’t normal times. In fact, they’re the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression. So challenging, says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, John McCain’s former top economic adviser, that Obama began to influence economic policy even before he was inaugurated.
“This is the longest first hundred days, at least in my lifetime,” Holtz-Eakin says. “President Obama actually became the leader right after his election.”