Like most historical analogies, the comparison of Joseph Robinette Biden Jr’s first hundred days in office with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first hundred days in office isn’t a perfect one. For one thing, Herbert Hoover, the man FDR replaced, was merely a bad president. He wasn’t a traitor, he never raped any women (as far as we know), he wasn’t a stochastic murderer, he didn’t tell 35,000 lies.
Biden took over a presidency that was dripping with toxicity, theft, betrayal, misogyny, racism, lies and corruption. FDR took over a presidency that was merely incompetent. Of the 44 ex-presidents thus far, Hoover is regarded by historians as only the 36th worst overall, and he was about the same percentage down the scale in Roosevelt’s day. Trump, on the other hand, is dead last.
So Biden came into office with something of an advantage, to be sure. But he also had a huge, counterbalancing disadvantage, too. A lot of Americans were hoping he’d fail, were counting on it that he would fail — and fail spectacularly. They held their collective bated breaths for the moment they could all shout in unison “I told you so!” They filled the sound of crickets that followed as best they could with petty complaints: Biden didn’t give a press conference (until he did), Biden was going to outlaw meat (he did no such thing), Biden wore his mask too long. And so on.
In assessing Joe Biden’s first hundred days one thing is clear. President Biden has been one gigantic disappointment. To Republicans. While they have sent reporters into the White House Briefing Room like so many saboteurs, quislings and fifth columnists, Biden has been keeping his head down, rolling up his sleeves and getting on with his job.
Suddenly, the things that Trump was given a pass for are urgencies for Republicans. Hurry! There’s a crisis at the border! Hurry! Americans have died of COVID-19! Hurry! Joblessness is too high! But no amount of distracting whataboutisms and hypocrisies over problems caused by Trump can change the facts. While Trump spent shocking amounts of his day hate-tweeting about his enemies, fomenting conspiracy theories on how the election was about to be stolen, then about how it had been stolen, and doing virtually nothing else, President Biden, by contrast, has rolled up his sleeves and gotten on with his job. Not only did Biden not respond to the ridiculous insults, slanders and lies, he didn’t even hear them. He was (and remains) too busy working. Working for the American people.
Nor should we forget another important difference between Roosevelt and Biden. Hardly anybody wanted Roosevelt to fail. Roosevelt’s landslide over Hoover was breathtaking, 472 electoral votes to 59. Americans wanted out of the Great Depression, and they didn’t care who got them out. Biden’s mandate was huge, but it was far from a landslide.
Yet instead of “Sleepy Joe” we’ve learned to expect sharpness, competence, and focus. Biden’s overall approval rating of 59% (something Trump seldom came 15 points close to) has been deserved. Biden has taken some giant steps forward. Economic inequality, Afghanistan, racial justice, climate change, nothing has escaped his radar. Not to mention an astonishing 200 million(!) vaccinations, well ahead of his promised schedule. If it’s important to America, Biden is either on top of it or it occupies a prominent place on his todo list.
Naturally he hasn’t solved every problem we have, but he’s already off to a rocketing start. His efforts are also plain to see in his rigorous Public Schedule, full of the very things Americans hired him to do, the actual work of the President of the United States. No hate-tweeting, no television watching, no time wasting embarrassingly covered up with the euphemism “Executive Time,” and only one single solitary golf game.
How amazing is it to have a President of the United States, once again, who actually does his job and has the best interest of the American people in mind? And how amazing is it that almost nothing is about him and almost everything is about you and me, our well being and the future of our country? How amazing is it that the President’s ego is no longer a matter of national security? Let’s all take a moment to remember just how lucky we are. President Joe Biden’s first hundred days has been a rip-roaring success. Truly, happy days are here again. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.