Here I am in Naples, Florida ending the year in the sun and actually coterminous with a golf course. I, of course, will not indulge in the sport, for I find it too leisurely. Actually I do not even consider it a sport. I am in agreement with my old friend, the great basketball coach Bob Knight. A true sport demands conditioning, applied strength, speed, and, of course, art. Golf involves only art. In fact, when strength and conditioning are demanded most golfers take to their golf carts. Golf is as much a sport as bowling or billiards or canasta. So I shall continue to desist from golf here in sunny Florida and leave the pastime of golf to my friends Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, and Bill Clinton. Does Hillary Clinton golf? She looks more like a bowler to me.
I have brought along a book, a 1074-page elephant of a book. It is the biography of Ulysses S. Grant, by Ron Chernow. I have waded through 650 pages of it, and have not encountered one page that was tedious. Much the contrary, Grant is utterly absorbing. This is not the first Grant biography I have read, but it is, I believe, the best.
Grant was the man who won the Civil War for President Abraham Lincoln and I guess for us too. How would we have matched up to the Nazis in World War II and to the Soviets in the Cold War without the South and the North united under one flag? We can thank Grant for that, and I think President Lincoln would agree. As I recall, during our contemporary ignoramuses’ recent outburst of monument bashing they actually attacked Grant’s Tomb in New York and a Lincoln memorial in Chicago. Frederick Douglass, another great man from our past, said that aside from Lincoln no man did more for Douglass’s fellow African-Americans than General and later President Grant. Whose side were the ignoramuses on? Were they white bigots? Even better, were they stalwarts of the Klan?
When not thrilling to the life Grant down here in south Florida I am giving some thought to the achievements of President Trump. Until a week or so ago it looked like he was going to end the year with no tax reform and certainly no revision in the Affordable Care Act. Actually, that is not entirely true. The excellent Congressman Mark Meadows of the Freedom Caucus and the equally excellent Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform both were telling me as early as September that we would get tax relief before the year was out. I put my money on Meadows and Norquist, but still it did not look all that good for tax reform. Remember what happened to the Republicans’ ill-fated plans for Obamacare months ago?
Well, Mr. President, you did it. You got a comprehensive tax reform, the repeal of the noxious mandate in the Affordable Care Act, and you opened up Arctic drilling. Along with that for your first year you got a man appointed to the Supreme Court who is going to prove to be a giant on the Court, Neil Gorsuch, along with numerous other federal court appointments. In fact, you got more federal appeals court judges appointed than in any year since the appeals courts were established in 1891. You got 12 appointed. What is more, you got a vast number of regulations repealed through the Congressional Review Act. That is pretty good for one year’s work by a guy who was never elected for anything before he ran for the presidency. Only a Never Trumper could complain.
Next year is looking even better, and regarding the investigations of the Trump campaign no collusion has yet to be reported and the President looks to be completely clean. Yet, last week it was reported that thousands of emails originating from the Trump presidential transition team fell into the hands of the FBI. The sleuths are now going through those emails. Some members of the transition team now serve in the White House and have been testifying to the FBI or soon will be.
What this means is that the FBI has had their emails and if there is a discrepancy between what they have testified to and what their emails say these White House aides’ goose is cooked. Ask Scooter Libby.
Expect this investigation to go on for a long time and expect the FBI to show increased attention to Jared Kushner. The year 2018 should be a happy one for Donald Trump, but there are reasons to be apprehensive.