Santa was pretty good to me this week.
He brought me lots of good reading that will occupy my time probably up until opening day of the 2018 baseball season.
Among the presents was Joe Biden's "Promise Me, Dad," David Goldfield's "The Gifted Generation: When Government Was Good" and Ta-Nehisi Coates' "We Were Eight Years in Power," three books that lend some perspective to our country's recent history.
The Monona-Grove Business Association, apparently worried that my recent hip and back problems were causing me misery, sent along Ron Chernow's latest historical magnum opus, "Grant." Chernow, of course, is the historian who wrote "Hamilton," which was turned into the insanely successful Broadway play of the same name.
I've had time to read 200 pages of "Grant" this week. Only 800 to go.
Yet another book came from my sister Judy who shelled out 50 bucks to buy me New York Times' chief White House correspondent Peter Baker's "Obama: The Call of History." It's one of those high-quality "coffee table" books, filled with stunning color photographs to go along with Baker's description of the many trials and tribulations of Obama's eight years as president.
I was paging through it Christmas Day and realized again just how much I miss this man in the White House. If nothing else, he made us proud, unlike the childish and insulting person that occupies it today.
Baker doesn't gloss over Obama's missteps -- there are several, as there always are in every administration -- but you can't escape the basic human decency that always was at the core of this man. And you can't escape the truth of just how difficult the Republicans in Congress made it for him, if for nothing else than to just be opposed, principles be damned. It all makes Paul Ryan's and Mitch McConnell's complaints about the Democrats today laughable.
I've got a hunch historians will some day look back at Obama's years in office and contrast them with what followed under the tutelage of Donald Trump.
Those will be books worth reading after some future Christmas and I'm afraid Trump's "Make America Great Again" won't be an appealing title.
And to my readers at the closing of another year, best wishes for a great 2018.
Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. email@example.com and on Twitter @DaveZweifel
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