NAPLES — Here I am in Naples, Florida, ending the year in the sun 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 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 1,074-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 not encountered one page that was tedious. Much to 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 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 a Lincoln memorial in Chicago. Frederick Douglass, another great man from our past, said that no man aside from Lincoln did more for his 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 Ku Klux Klan?
When not thrilling to the life of 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. But the excellent Rep. Mark Meadows of the House 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. Remember what happened to the Republicans' ill-fated plans for Obamcare months ago?
Well, Mr. President, you did it. You got a comprehensive tax reform and the repeal of the noxious individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, and you opened up Arctic drilling. Along with that, in your first year you got a man appointed to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, who is going to prove to be a giant, along with numerous other federal court appointments. In fact, you got 12 federal appeals court judges appointed, the most ever appointed in the first year of a presidency since the appeals courts were established in 1891. 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 with Russia has been reported, and the president looks to be completely clean. Yet last week it was reported that thousands of emails originating from the Trump 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 before 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 testify 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 on senior adviser Jared Kushner. The year 2018 should be a happy one for Donald Trump, but there are reasons to be apprehensive.