Conrad Black:

If Trump can pass his tax bill, most of the rest of his program will flow through after the tax log-jam is broken

Over many years, I have had occasional exchanges of friendly fire with Lawrence Martin of The Globe and Mail, who has been sent back to Washington to report on the Trump phenomenon. We first met when he was that newspaper’s Washington bureau chief in 1979, and reported to a large group of Globe and Mail dinner guests that Teddy Kennedy might wrest the Democratic nomination from incumbent president Jimmy Carter, but that either would easily defeat former California governor Ronald Reagan should the Republicans be so unwise as to nominate him for president.

Still, Lawrence is a competent journeyman reporter and is more thorough and writes better than most journalists. He is not pretentiously worldly nor a washed out cynic, like many in his craft. Nor does he consider every single assignment an opportunity to cause an upheaval, destroy a career, or lift the rock on an enormous and unsuspected infestation of official venality. All in all, as far as I know him, he is a pleasant and intelligent person who tries to do his job honestly.

But like most foreign journalists assigned to cover the U.S. capitol, he has very little grasp of the extent or potential force of U.S. public discontent. Very few people imagined that Donald Trump could succeed in taking the Republican nomination last year and then the election, campaigning as he was against the entire political class: all factions of both parties, the Bushes as much as the Clintons and Obama, against Hollywood, Wall Street, the national media, the lobbyists, all, he said, complicit in the inexcusable decline of America. All had been responsible for a slow response to the threat of terrorism, a decade of fruitless and costly war in the Middle East that had raised the strength of Iran and generated a huge humanitarian tragedy, the near-collapse of the world financial system, and explosion of debt, a flat-lined economy, increasing poverty and violence in the United States, and a foreign policy of retreat, bluster, apologies to Islam and vanishing “red lines.”

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