Tue, 20 Jan 2009 11:18:00 +0000 – By Andrea TantarosRepublican Political Commentator/FOXNews.com Contributor
The first 100 days of a presidency is a critical time for any commander in chief and will be no different for Barack Obama.
In the first 100 days, perception -- not policy -- is everything.
- Lower expectations.Obama's honeymoon will last longer than 100 days, and it will take much longer to accomplish what he needs to do, particularly on the economy, so the new president must be sure to fuse 'hope' with a measured, realistic approach. Americans are tired of quick fix solutions that don't work, but they do want to see progress. That will come in smaller doses than Obama may want to dispense, so he must prepare Americans.
- Embrace Republicans. I didn't say embrace their policies, just them. Folks want partisanship gone, at least for now. While some hammer Obama for his centrism, and while it is true that many centrists politicians make me gag because they have no principles and they will change their mind at the drop of a poll, I think the presidency is different. After a partisan political campaign, it is not unimportant symbolism for the president-elect to demonstrate that he considers himself president of the entire nation. This presidential symbolism designed to unite the nation (which every president has vowed to do) is quite different than a finger-in-the-wind, centrist congressman. If Obama makes a play to fold Republicans into the discussion he will rise above the binary political games and make a good first step toward helping heal the country after a bitter election battle. This would also fulfill one of his campaign promises to be everyone's president not just the left who helped elect him.
- Play small ball.Obama should pick between 3 and 5 items that he is reasonably sure he can implement in his first 100 days and go after them. Even if it's part of a larger campaign, he and his team just need to make sure there's an end in sight. -- Remember, if you name it, you own it. For example, Obama should promise to meticulously manage congressional oversight when it comes to the final portion of TARP funds. If he can account for every dollar and credit markets begin to thaw, he can take credit. This kind of small, early victory builds momentum.