Today marks 100 days since President Obama assumed office. While he has offered some refreshing and badly-needed departures from the Bush administration, it is still much too early to render a judgment on his presidency. As evidence of this fact, consider the New York Times’s assessment of the first 100 days of the Bush presidency.
On April 29, 2001 — eight years ago today — the New York Times wrote an editorial titled “Mr. Bush’s Beginning,” which assessed that “Mr. Bush has kept his promise to bring ‘honor and dignity’ back to the White House.” By contrast, today’s NYT editorial on Obama’s 100 days rightly notes Bush pursued a host of “outlaw policies” during his presidency which require “a full investigation.”
In 2001, the NYT was particularly gleeful about Bush’s foreign policy approach and his “sunny self-confidence”:
As for international relations, Mr. Bush passed his first major test through a combination of caution, luck and a commendable ability to take good advice from a sound foreign-policy team. In his unscripted public performances, Mr. Bush has seemed clumsy and amateurish by the standards of the four presidents mentioned above. But his sunny self-confidence, even his penchant for bankers’ hours and long weekends, seems to sit well with many Americans. It is a relief, they seem to be saying, to have a president who is not so tiring and omnipresent as Mr. Clinton.
Today, the Times acknowledges the “list of failed policies and urgent threats bequeathed to [Obama] by former President George W. Bush.” The Times’ contrasting op-eds are a reminder that there’s indeed a long way yet to go and still much to be accomplished.
President Obama will hold a prime-time press conference tonight at 8 pm. ThinkProgress editor Faiz Shakir will be attending the event.