Starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, it became a tradition to take the measure of a new president by sizing up his first 100 days in office.
Today, perhaps reflecting our obsession with speed, the candidates for president are proposing a new timetable: one day. To hear the 2016 contenders talk about their plans for their first day in office, you have to wonder what'll be left for Day Two. You also have to wonder if they understand that Congress, and sometimes the courts, get to have a say.
Donald Trump, for example, says he would seal the borders to keep out illegal immigrants the minute he takes office. Trump also promises to declare China a currency manipulator. That, he says, would force China to the negotiating table. Perhaps, but it would also require the U.S. to begin the process of imposing duties on Chinese goods, a move that could provoke China to retaliate. Voila, a full-blown trade war might dominate Trump's first 100 days, or even his entire presidency.