The historian Alvin Felzenberg also pointed out that:
Political pundits — and incoming Presidents themselves — have tended to
hold new administrations to the standard of legislative achievement Franklin
Roosevelt set in his first "100 days." Presidents can overcome their early
mistakes, however, as they learn the legislative ropes and adjust to changing
[Reflecting the fact that, at the time, incoming Presidents were inaugurated in
March, the famous first “100 days” of FDR’s presidency lasted from March 9 to
June 16, 1933, during which Congress passed 15 major pieces of legislation
affecting banking, industry, agriculture, labor, and unemployment relief.]
That said, the historian acknowledged that:
The history of the presidency shows that the most successful Presidents
made clear the direction they intended their administrations to follow prior to
their election. Those who campaigned with a mixed or muddled message, or
who ran with broad, general themes, had difficulty finding their stride once
in office [italics added].
Felzenberg quoted a Professor of Public Policy as saying:
I think Carter would change his mind between breakfast and lunch, lunch to
dinner. It wasn't that he wasn't very smart. It is just that he was thinking all
the time, and he might have genuinely changed his mind, which is fine…But
this is such a large and unwieldy and confusing country that it is much
better politically for a President to have a simple message, to do it, than for a
President to do seat-of-the-pants policy development, which we have seen
really with Carter and Clinton versus Reagan.
Commenting on the blizzard of initiatives in Clinton’s first 100 days, Time
stated15 in 1993 that:
The way from here to a successful term is clear. The President needs to
recall and display the skills that won him the prize. He needs to open up,
reach out, and calm down [italics added].
Of particular relevance to the Obama presidency is the fact that first-termer
Clinton — like Carter and JFK before him — had problems getting programs
through Congress, even though his own party was in the majority.