The Corner

Leading Roles

In today’s Impromptus, I begin with an item that gives Donald Trump credit: for being a leader. Leading in the wrong direction, as I see it, but leading nonetheless. Consider this headline from the news: “Amid Trump’s rise, GOP voters turn sharply away from free trade.”

Who did that? Trump did. You will be hard pressed to find a Republican who will speak up for trade — because that Republican is cowed. He doesn’t lead. Trump is doing the leading. And people are following, including politicians.

Last week, I did a podcast with Thomas Sowell. Here. I brought up the issue of trade. In my opinion, there is scarcely an issue more vulnerable to demagoguery.

Sowell said, “It’s an issue on which it’s easy to take cheap shots, because so few people understand it. And this year those cheap shots are bipartisan.”

Further down in Impromptus, I mention Falcon Crest — the nighttime soap from the 1980s. (It comes up in the context of a visit to Napa Valley, which is where the show was set.) Starring in Falcon Crest was Jane Wyman, who was the ex-wife of the president. Which was interesting.

I remember something that WFB told me about RR — his friend, the president. Someone once said to Reagan, when the topic of conversation was divorce, “Well, you got a divorce.” To which Reagan shot back, “I didn’t divorce anyone. She divorced me.” Reagan was always adamant on that point, said Bill.

Oh, how I pumped Bill for Reagan stories — and Van Galbraith and others in that cohort! They were patient with me. I loved to hear them. I think they liked telling them.

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