Steve's Blog

100

We like to measure things in hundreds. A dollar is made up of 100 cents. A football field has 100 yards. There are 100 Senators. We mark major passages of time in centuries, and there are 100 years in a century.

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I’ve been telling my mom, and my mother-in-law for years now that they’re going to live to be a hundred. They’re both wonderful people, and I love them dearly. My mom will be 93 soon, and my mother-in-law is 97. We’ll see.

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From 1337 to 1453, England and France were at war. It was actually an on again, off again, series of conflicts, which lasted for 116 years. But in history, it’s not referred to as the 116 Year Series of Conflicts, it’s called the Hundred Years’ War. It’s just easier.

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When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office on March 4th 1933, the United States was in the throes of a Great Depression. He promised to take immediate action to “make America great again” (he didn’t actually use those words), and the first hundred days of his Administration was so momentous, that it’s still called FDR’s First 100 Days. Among other things, he (along with the Congress of that era) closed the entire American banking system, and created the federal deposit insurance program; he began Social Security, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and a whole slew of other programs, which jointly became known as the New Deal.

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When I was first elected to Congress back in 1994, the Democrats had been in control of the House of Representatives for 40 years. Republicans running that year had signed the Contract with America – promising to have an open debate and vote on ten specific items if we were in the majority – in the first 100 days. We met that commitment, but unfortunately, since Republican Senators hadn’t signed the Contract, not everything that made it through the House made it through the Senate, and therefore into law.

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Well this week marks the end of the first hundred days of Donald Trump’s presidency. So how’s he doing? Depends on who you ask.

If you ask Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi or Elizabeth Warren or Michael Moore or Rosie O’Donnell or Whoopi Goldberg or Rachel Maddow or Bill Maher or Madonna or San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick or Alec Baldwin (although it’s re-energized his career impersonating Trump on Saturday Night Live), they’ll tell you he’s a lousy president. On the other hand, if you ask Sean Hannity, or Laura Ingraham, or Anne Coulter, or Bill Cunningham, or most cops in America, or most of our men and women in the military, you’d probably get an entirely different answer. (Now that’s not to say that there aren’t some in law enforcement or the military who would be more critical.)

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So what do I think of our president’s first hundred days? Thanks for asking. I’d say it’s mixed. The jury’s still out. Too early to tell. But I’m encouraged.

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First, the things I like. The Justice Gorsuch pick was a homerun. Highly qualified, impeccable credentials, a superb choice. And the fact that the liberal Democrat base pressured Senate Democrats to filibuster him, resulted in Republican leader McConnell having to use the so-called nuclear option to confirm him. That will allow the Republicans next time around to use the nuclear option to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg or some other lefty with a solid conservative, and take over the Court. The Dems really blew it on this one.

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Another thing I like is that Trump’s foreign policy is much more muscular than Obama’s ever was. “Leading from behind” has been replaced with a far more assertive America. For example Obama warned Syria’s Assad not to cross the red line of using chemical weapons against civilians; Assad ignored him and used them anyway; and Obama did – nothing. Assad used chemical weapons against civilians during the Trump Administration, and lost 20% of his total air force, in one night.

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Obama called ISIS the JV team, just before ISIS took over much of Iraq (and nearly took Bagdad itself), and Obama’s effort against ISIS was so feeble that it took years to make any progress. Trump, on the other hand, dropped the “mother of all bombs” on ISIS, killing scores of ISIS degenerates in a show of force, and promises to eradicate this scourge on humanity.

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The bottom line is, a message has been sent to the bad guys across the globe – America is back. You mess with us – and we’ll destroy you. It’s about time.

On the domestic front, our border laws are finally being enforced, and illegal immigration is down by 60% — and that’s before “the wall” has been built. The Keystone and Dakota pipelines are a go – after years of Obama Administration obstruction. Quite a few bad regulations from the Obama years have been eliminated by Trump executive orders, and President Trump has vowed to get rid of two old regulations for every new one added. And even though the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare thus far has been a flop, it may well happen in the very near future. That will clear the ground for dramatic tax cuts and reforms to follow. There’s more to be positive about, but I’ll stop there.

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In order to leave time for things that didn’t go so well in Trump’s first 100 days. For example, the restrictions on immigrants from seven Muslim countries was handled carelessly and incompetently. Keeping out folks from dangerous and unstable countries before they’ve been properly vetted is a worthy goal. But the rollout of the plan was rushed, and not properly thought out.

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Trump stopped the TPP trade deal from moving forward (as he’d promised to do), but I’m concerned that this could put China in the driver’s seat. That’s not good for us, or for our other trading partners.

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And I’m not a big fan of all President Trump’s unvetted tweeting. It gets him in trouble too often – such as claiming Obama was wiretapping him in Trump Tower. Yes, there was apparently some surveilling going on, and Obama’s people unfairly, and probably illegally, unmasked some Trump aids. But it’s my belief that the tweeting is a distraction that has too many people chasing their tails, when we ought to be devoting all of our time to improving the economy, getting people back to work, and protecting the American people from foreign and domestic threats.

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Anyway, that’s the way I see the first hundred days. Let me know what you think.

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