Tony Blankley

Many of the media are following the convention of assessing President Barack Obama's first 100 days in office. The term first was applied to new American presidents during Franklin Roosevelt's spring of 1933, when, between March and June, he proposed and Congress passed unprecedented federal programs: the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the National Industrial Recovery Act, the Securities Act, the Banking Act and others.

But Obama may wish to note that the term "100 days" derives from Napoleon's escape from Elba in March 1815, his brilliant reforming of an army, his march through France, and his final defeat by the British and the Prussians at Waterloo. It's up in the air which precedent will apply to Obama.

After 50 days on the job, the average of his job approval polls, according to RealClearPoltics, is 60.3 percent -- almost precisely average for such data on presidents since Richard Nixon. (It would be a little below average if Kennedy and Eisenhower were included.) His negatives in most polls are a little higher than average, which means that initially undecided members of the public are forming opinions a little faster.

Ronald Reagan's and Bill Clinton's numbers generally went up from this point in their presidencies; Nixon's and Carter's went down. So the polls don't tell us much.

But these polls do not yet reflect the effect on public opinion of his budget announcements. There are two likely effects, one obvious and predictable and the other subtler and more delayed.

The first is that those who are to be more highly taxed begin to know who they are. By proposing limiting charitable donations and mortgage interest deductions -- along with higher marginal and capital gains rates -- for the upper-middle class (and, in effect, most of small business), he not only threatens already-hard-pressed charities and churches but also pulls another support out from under real estate valuations.

By going straight at the nation's investors with tax increases, he risks undermining already-flagging investor confidence. All this Obama presumably already knew was the political and economic price for getting his hands on more taxpayer dollars to spend.

But vastly more dangerous to the Obama presidency (and the nation) was his decision to go full steam ahead to immediately start to transform health care; fight carbon dioxide energy sources with new taxations that will increase the cost of all energy, goods and services; and increase new expensive education entitlements as part of a federalization of American education.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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