In-The-Books: The First 100

It’s time to Break It Down!

“Today, the police will kill three people. And tomorrow, the police will kill three people. And the day after that, the police will kill three people. Because on average, the police in America every day kill three people. Which amounts to about 1,000 people a year. And those people happen to disproportionately be Black people.

James Baldwin once said, ‘The most despicable thing that anyone can be is indifferent to other people’s pain.’ And so, I just ask that you please not be indifferent. Please don’t be indifferent to our pain.” –Travon Free Oscar Speech (4/25/21)

Just so we’re clear, that preamble has absolutely nothing to do with, and has no association to today’s post. It is simply one inescapable factoid that in my humble view, warrants inclusion in every conversation, every day, until or unless we re-invent that untenable narrative. But I digress.

Tomorrow will mark Joseph Robinette Biden’s 100th day in office, as our nation’s 46th President. Media outlets across the spectrum will invest in highlighting that point, in the days immediately preceding and following Thursday’s milestone. But why? How did this manufactured news item come to be a thing?

Ironically, it is an ode to the incomparable accomplishments of FDR in his first 100 days in office. Since then, the media has often framed the early tenure of U.S. Presidents in that light. To be sure, Mr. Biden came into office with an array of challenges, and on the wings of a host of promises. The list is longer than I will enumerate, but includes, the pandemic, vaccines, the economy, the border, Russia, China, climate change, and restoring America’s global stature.

In this era of hyper-partisanship amid our country’s political landscape, anyone who assumes the presidency with start with a large favorable constituency, but also a hefty opposition. Probably one of Biden’s most notable positive characteristics is, he is not Donald Trump. That alone, may have made the difference between winning and losing the election. Despite Trump’s hollow ringing assertion that he did not lose; the election was stolen, my own analysis leads me to conclude, many Republicans abandoned him. In several of six states Trump and his team contested after the election, Republicans were successful in other parts of the ballot, but not for President.

Joe Biden the candidate committed to attack the coronavirus by following the lead of scientists. He promised 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days. When the nation met that goal in 58 days, Biden doubled down, and promised 200 million shots; a goal that was also exceeded. In February, the U.S., under his direction, rejoined the Paris Climate Accord. Yesterday, the CDC announced new guidelines that stated those who have been fully vaccinated can congregate outside in small groups without masks. Biden and the CDC did clarify that masks are still required in crowds.

In an instance of political derring-do; also the source of GOP chagrin, Biden and the Democrats pushed through a $1.9 stimulus package, aimed at boosting the economy, and stemming the pandemic. As a follow-up to the collective results of Biden’s initiatives, and his non-argumentative relationship with the media writ large, he recently polled a 54% approval rating. That number, while modest, in comparison to several recent presidents, was higher than his immediate predecessor attained at any time during his tenure.

But, let’s face it, now is when the real tests begin. The President has a $2.1 trillion infrastructure package on deck. Just as with the aforementioned stimulus plan, Republicans are in lockstep opposition to the bill. However, in this case, it’s likely passage of the bill will require 60 votes, rather than a simple majority of 51 votes. In addition, Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, of West Virginia, and Arizona, respectively, may also opt to not support the bill. Moreover, both have already expressed opposition to killing the filibuster…which, if executed, would negate the need for the 60-vote supermajority.       

And there’s more. Biden has stood up to Putin, calling him a killer, and his administration has implemented more sanctions on Russia. Allegedly, a potential summit between the U.S. and Russia may be in the offing. Any day now, campaigns for the midterm elections will begin. Republicans have designs on retaking House, and increasing their numbers in the Senate, where they need to net only one additional seat to reclaim the majority. It remains to be seen how the future will unfold. What we know is”In-The-Books: The First 100!”

I’m done; holla back!

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