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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Tricky Canes, Major and Minor

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President Donald Trump is clearly enjoying his 100th day in office, though his wide-ranging record of accomplishments has achieved an under-reported status, a fact acknowledged this week by the White House.

Mr. Trump is an admirer of similarly short-lived presidents, like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. And his election, Mr. Trump has made clear, is part of some larger historic context.

Nowhere is that heightened sense of history more apparent than on the campaign trail, where the presidential push is often premised on the idea that the triumphs and challenges of a single term are just as significant as the tradition of four terms, more than 60 years apart.

“This is a great, great movement, and, by the way, now we’re being thrown into the great super-muster that really very few presidents have ever made or have experienced, and it’s going to take care of you, and it’s going to take care of our great country,” Mr. Trump told a half-filled gymnasium at a post-election rally on Election Day 2016.

At such rallies, former and current campaign aides have brought up the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt, Jack Kennedy and Barack Obama, each of whom was lionized by historians.

But perhaps no one is a better symbolic foil to the far-more accomplished Obama than Mr. Trump, the populist braggart and middle-aged ostentatious plutocrat who does not enter presidential office with the credentials of any of his predecessors.

By a stroke of bad luck and a little luck of circumstance, Mr. Trump’s administration is playing at least some of its 100-day hits — particularly “Fortunate Son,” which critics say is a rip-off of the blues song by Bob Dylan, who sang it in 1965 while on trial for tax evasion — while the president is still in office.

To see what the song may sound like when you add Mr. Trump to the mix, check out the 20th Century Fox Music site, where the music to “Fortunate Son” has been packaged with another Trump campaign song, “Make America Great Again.”

“My tax plan’s simple — Give tax cuts to the middle class and cut taxes across the board — lower taxes, lower taxes!” Mr. Trump told a crowd of supporters at the El Paso Convention Center on Oct. 16.

At a rally in Pensacola, Fla., on Oct. 12, Mr. Trump did not stop to address that the song was actually made famous in 1964 by the doo-wop group Sister Sledge.

But he did hint at the kinship between the two songs, telling the crowd, “A man like us wrote this song. That’s true. An honest man like me wrote this song. That’s true.”

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