Remember the First Hundred Days of Barack Obama? Remember the 100-day tour of Dutch society that the fourth Balkenende coalition made at its inception? Franklin Roosevelt is the originator of that cultural and political tradition to mark off the First Hundred Days at the honeymoon period of a new executive government. Of course FDR wasn’t the first to introduce Hundred Days as a special period. I believe that is attributed to Napoleon, between whose escape from Elba and his defeat at Waterloo lay exactly 100 Days – check Jonathan Alter’s The Defining Moment, FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope (2006) to be sure. But the period from March 4th 1933 (the date of Roosevelt’s inauguration) and June 16th 1933 (the end of the first Special Session of the 73rd Congress called by Roosevelt to enact crisis measures against the Depression), has become the paradigmatic First Hundred Days, and the beginning of a new convention, which no American president has since been able to escape.
Watch this clip of Obama traditionally ‘roasting’ himself at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (starting at 5:20 until the end, so less than a minute)
Obama refers not only to his achievements in his First Hundred Days; his ambitions for the Second Hundred Days include another reference to a Rooseveltian concept: the Presidential Library. But that’s for next time.