This week, President Joe Biden marked his first 100 days in the White House. Biden took office with an ambitious agenda that included getting ahead of the coronavirus, steering the massive economic recovery, and overhauling climate policy. All of this with a narrow Democratic majority in Congress and a deeply divided nation. So how did Joe Biden do in his first three months on the job?
Connecting Point’s Ray Hershel spoke with political consultants Ryan McCollum and Tony Cignoli to get their thoughts on what the President has accomplished in his first 100 days and what the outlook is moving forward.
Read the full transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: President Joe Biden is just finishing his first 100 days in the White House. He took office with an ambitious agenda that included getting ahead of the coronavirus, steering the massive economic recovery, and overhauling climate policy. All of this with a narrow Democratic majority in Congress and a deeply divided nation.
So, how did Joe Biden do in his first three months on the job?
Connecting Point’s Ray Hershel spoke with political consultants Ryan McCollum and Tony Cignoli to get their thoughts on what the president has accomplished in his first 100 days and what the outlook is moving forward.
Tony Cignoli, Political Consultant: It has been an extraordinary first 100 days by anyone’s account. Certainly, Republicans and others, contrarians, might look at this and try to pick apart some of what he’s done.
The eleven pieces of legislation he’s signed, forty-two executive orders. That’s a lot of accomplishment, a lot of work, but more important than anything else: making good on the promise — kind of like Babe Ruth pointing out to the corner and saying, “I’m going to hit this home run for you”– when it comes down to vaccinations on COVID, nothing else more important than that. And he can make the case for an aggressive first 100 days.
Ray Hershel, Connecting Point: Ryan wanted to get your thoughts as well. What are your takeaways from Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office?
Ryan McCollum, Political Consultant: I agree with Tony. He mentioned Babe Ruth, but I almost I almost see Biden as that guy that you look at the box score after the game and you go, “wow, I didn’t know he had 30 points,” right? Like, he’s kind of done it under the radar.
And coming off the heels of what people call a reality show president, he’s doing it differently than Trump, you know? Like, some days you wake up and you don’t — you’re not reminded the president. You can live a whole day without hearing about the president. And that’s what things used to be like.
And so, he’s more of the workhorse and not the show horse. And he’s been doing that for the last hundred days. And I think he in his congressional address last night, he kind of laid out at home. Some of the critiques have been that it was boring. And I had a friend that said that politics is supposed to be boring. This is — government’s boring. Like this is when things are getting done correctly, sometimes it’s not it’s not all crazy and lights and glamor like Trump had to have it.
Ray Hershel: Now, when the president spoke before Congress, he unveiled some very ambitious initiatives beyond what he’s already accomplished in his first 100 days in office.
The COVID-19 relief package, of course, was passed pretty much on a partisan vote. It was Democrats voting for it, Republicans voting against it.
As we move forward now, as these new initiatives are debated and brought before Congress, what do you see in terms of potential bipartisan agreement? Will there be any bipartisan agreement or is Joe Biden and the Democrats going to have to do it alone again?
Tony Cignoli: So much of what we see right now is the tip of the iceberg, the top 20 percent that we’re allowed to see and the machinations of government, what’s out there that the media is able to report back to us. There’s a lot of behind the scenes going on.
Joe Biden and his team, Kamala Harris, these are political statisticians. They’re sharp, the strategists. They know that the likelihood of any kind of a bipartisan deal coming together on all of these proposals is not going to be there.
There’s got to be a perception for Republicans that they’re going to get something out of this. And I don’t think it’s the members of the Republican House in Congress that are going to make the real movement here. I think it’s finding those Republican leaders around America, those city managers, those mayors who may be Republicans, those county commissioners where county government is still powerful, like in the South, and can those individuals, then move Republican members of the Congress.
Ray Hershel: Will Joe Biden be able to get his infrastructure bill passed? Will he be able to get his proposal for helping children, families and education passed? Or will they look a lot different than they are that he’s proposing?
Ryan McCollum: I think he’ll get something passed. You know, getting 10 senators, which is kind of what you need on the GOP side, is going to be tough, right? Like we saw what happened with, you know, a moderate Democrat, Joe Manchin,and he was he was trying to go back and forth and he still didn’t get any Republican senators.
But infrastructure, something that I think, you know, these folks’ constituents are going to want to have. How we pay for it is a different story, but getting 10 GOP senators to jump on board is going to be difficult. But, you know, it can still get passed.
Ray Hershel: All right. A lot of the pundits are already looking ahead to the midterm elections in 2022. Can we read anything from Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office in terms of how those midterms go?
Traditionally, of course, the sitting president’s party does not fair that well in midterm elections. What are we looking at in 2022 as far as the Democratic Party is concerned?
Ryan McCollum: Yeah, it’s I mean, it’s hard to read from the first 100 days. Joe Biden hasn’t done what you would call “spot” Congress much, he hasn’t had them take too many difficult votes at all yet. And depending on what comes up over the next year or so, we’ll see. And I don’t I don’t think he’s going to have taken too many difficult votes that would hurt them in certain certain districts, right?
So, Tony mentioned how he’s scoring low on immigration because they’ve kind of not touched it. It’s always been a third rail and it’s in a lot of reasons it’s third rail because it’s political.
And you don’t want folks taking votes that are that are going to hurt them in their districts. And so I think they need to be mindful of that, but at the same time, get things done that they need to get done. And I think that if, you know, as things happen, like if you look at Obamacare, it was very unpopular and people had to take a tough vote. But as things happened over over the course of time, it wasn’t a tough vote. It’s been something that’s great. And even folks on the other side agree with that.
So infrastructure, the rescue plan, making sure that the economy gets back on its feet. If he focuses on those things, it’s not going to hurt Democrats chances in the midterm as much as if he does focus on those wedge issues or those social issues too much.
Ray Hershel: Tony, we’ve seen what Joe Biden has done in his first 100 days in office.
As he moves forward now and tries to sell his other initiatives to the American public, what are your expectations for the next hundred days? In three months?
Tony Cignoli: I think you’ll see the same aggressiveness from the president and his cabinet. I think you’ll see a bit of what Ryan’s mentioned. There’s that quiet, get it done, let’s go do the work that comes along with Joe Biden. That’s just who he is and who he’s been for the four decades that he’s been in government.
But there’s another aspect of that with Joe Biden. It’s not just the way that he goes about getting things done. It’s the knowledge on his part that too much show, too much noise, too much telegraphing what’s next isn’t going to help you. Because before you can get to the House chamber, the Senate chamber to get the votes that you need, you don’t want to have this already legislated by your opposition.
So, don’t be surprised if we don’t see a lot of show in the next hundred days. Let’s be surprised if we don’t see a lot of the Joe Go, so to speak. Watch Buttigieg, watch some of those others who will be out there on the ground trying to get infrastructure and other things passed in the quiet back room bipartisan way that’s going to be a necessity to things done.