Michael Barone - Americans have little faith in government

The Republican Party certainly has its problems: a chaotic presidential race; a despised congressional party; unpopularity among the rapidly growing number of non-whites.

But the Democratic Party has its problems as well. One of them is the fact that the two signature policies of Barack Obama — the Affordable Care Act and the nuclear agreement with Iran — are unpopular with most voters.

You heard little from the president about Obamacare or his approach to Iran during his 2012 re-election campaign. You've heard little about them from Democratic candidates for Congress in 2010, 2012 and 2014 or those running for next year.

It's also not clear that these policies would have been pursued in the same form if Hillary Clinton had been elected president in 2008. Would she have taken a mono-partisan approach to health care and hewn to it after the election of a Republican as senator from Massachusetts? Would she have banked so heavily on the notion that concessions could make Iran a friendlier power in the Middle East?

Maybe, maybe not. But as the certain Democratic nominee and as Obama's former secretary of state, she is saddled with them.

Richard Nixon in 1960, George H. W. Bush in 1988 and Al Gore in 2000 sought third presidential terms for their parties when their incumbent presidents had job approval well above 50 percent. Bush, after turbulent primaries, won a solid victory. Nixon and Gore, nominated with only brief opposition, lost by a hair.

Barack Obama's job approval is currently 44 percent, and Clinton, like Nixon and Gore, seems unlikely to undergo serious testing in the primaries and caucuses.

There is a larger problem here, not just for Clinton but also for her party. Since the 1930s it has been dedicated to the proposition that expanding government will help ordinary citizens make their way through the perils of (then) an industrial-age and (now) an information-age society.

The problem is that these seven years of the Obama administration, quite contrary to the president's intention, have discredited government as an instrument to improve people's lives.

The most glaring failure has been Obamacare, from the implosion of the healthcare.gov website to the recent announcement of the nation's largest health insurer that it would no longer offer policies on Obamacare's exchanges.

Designing government policies that can produce positive results without negative unanticipated consequences is a tricky business. Social Security required government to collect taxes and send out checks on time — something a competent bureaucracy can do. Obamacare requires government to do many more things, some of which government is not very good at. Voters have noticed.
They have noticed, as well, that government is no longer very good at doing things almost everyone thinks it should do, such as providing health care for military veterans. Democrats can argue that the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital system's problems antedate 2008. But government is their baby, and they've been in charge for seven years.

Last week's mass murders in San Bernardino have underlined government's limits. Obama and Clinton have called for more gun control measures. But California already has the laws they want Congress to pass. Overall trends in Pew Research Center polling data in the last 20 years show an increase in the percent of Americans who support gun rights and a decrease in the percent of Americans who support gun control.

A third problem for Democrats is apparent in the fact that near the end of multiple Democratic presidential terms, sizable forces in the party turn left. A few examples are: Henry Wallace's Progressives in 1948; the anti-Vietnam war movement in 1968; Edward Kennedy's challenge of Jimmy Carter in 1980; and Ralph Nader's third-party candidacy in 2000.

Similar things are happening today — in the Bernie Sanders candidacy, the Black Lives Matter movement and rebellions on college campuses. When the public has soured on Democratic policies, party rebels double down and demand more.

Republicans have faced similar discontent on the right, from Barry Goldwater in 1960, Ronald Reagan in 1976, Pat Buchanan in the 1990s and the tea party movement in the wake of George W. Bush's presidency.

But the problem is more acute for the Democratic Party, which has always been a coalition of disparate groups: the top and bottom of the income and education scales, ghetto blacks and gentry liberals, left-wing academics and labor unions.

Holding that coalition together is easier when faith in government is strong. It's harder today, when, as Pew reports, only 19 percent of Americans say they can trust the government all or most of the time. For Democrats, that's a big problem.

(Syndicated columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)

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Pat Buchanan - U.S. & France turn right

In Sunday's first-round of regional elections in France, the clear and stunning winner was the National Front of Marine Le Pen. Her party rolled up 30 percent of the vote, and came in first in 6 of 13 regions. Marine herself won 40 percent of her northeast district.

Despite tremendous and positive publicity from his presidential role in the Charlie Hebdo and Paris massacres and the climate summit, Francois Hollande's Socialist Party ran third.

What drove the victory of the National Front?

According to The Wall Street Journal's William Horobin, "Ms. Le Pen, who has combined the party's anti-immigration stance with calls for hard-line security measures and tighter control of France's borders, has only bolstered her support in the three weeks since the Paris attacks."

The rightward shift in French politics is being replicated across Europe, as nations tighten borders and erect new checkpoints against the tsunami of migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East. Angela Merkel and open borders are yesterday in Europe; Marine Le Pen is tomorrow.

And the rightward shift is occurring here as well, propelled by the terrorist atrocity in San Bernardino. On immigration, terrorism, borders, crime and security, Americans are moving to the right.

Donald Trump has taken the toughest stance. He will send illegal immigrants back and make Mexico pay for his wall. He is the least restrained in what he would do to the Islamic State. And his lead nationally has now reached an unprecedented 20 points.

In Iowa, Sen. Ted Cruz is surging. Cruz would "carpet bomb (ISIS) into oblivion," and try to make the sand around Raqqa "glow in the dark." He charges Marco Rubio with collaborating with Sen. Chuck Schumer in backing amnesty for illegal immigrants.

In return, Rubio tears into Cruz daily, charging him with being soft on national security for having backed the USA Freedom Act that denies the NSA instant access to all phone and computer records of American citizens. Like most Republicans, Cruz supported keeping NSA's hands off the metadata of electronic communications of U.S. citizens. But that position seems more suited to the libertarian moment that has passed, not the national security moment we live in today.

Chris Christie says San Bernardino proves his point about keeping refugee wives and even 3-year-old orphans out of New Jersey. As we now know, that female terrorist may have been the radicalizer.
The Clintons have long been reliable weather vanes of national politics. And Hillary Clinton, too, has begun moving to the right. Sunday, she said she was ready to take "military action" if Iran fails to comply with the slightest provision of President Obama's nuclear agreement.

She wants tech companies to start policing and shutting down Islamist websites that preach hate and may have radicalized the couple that carried out San Bernardino. Clinton added dismissively, "You are going to hear all the familiar complaints: 'freedom of speech.'"

Monday's Washington Post reported on how Bernie Sanders, yesterday's Socialist sensation, received a tepid response when he spoke to a crowd about income equality, but failed to address the Islamist terrorist atrocity and what he would do about it.

Last week, The New York Times ran its first front-page editorial in 95 years, demanding new federal gun laws. America's response — a stampede to gun stores to buy firearms for self-defense.

Outlawing AK-47s and AR-15s may seem like common sense to the Times. But Americans do not believe such laws would keep terrorists from getting these weapons. And many realize those cops used semi-automatic rifles to turn the terrorists' SUV into a pile of junk in a single minute — and them into Bonnie and Clyde.

Even the president is signaling a shift to the right.

Sunday, in only his third Oval Office address, Obama said he will intensify bombing in Iraq and Syria. He wants tougher screening of those coming to America. And he concedes that "an extremist ideology has spread among some Muslim communities" and is a "real problem Muslims must confront."

Tougher on crime, tougher on terrorists, tougher on securing the border — that is the demand of the moment, and probably of 2016.

Americans are coming to realize we cannot prevent all such slaughters as Ford Hood and Virginia Tech, Columbine and Aurora, Tucson and the Navy Yard, Newtown and Umpqua College, and Charleston.

Nor can we prevent all Islamist terrorism if Muslims raised here or living here become radicalized in mosques or by the Internet, and seek revenge and paradise as warriors of ISIS by slaughtering Americans.

Al-Qaida and ISIS now realize the worldwide publicity gains of Paris and San Bernardino in terrorizing the West. And they will surely seek to replicate those massacres.

And every new atrocity, whether of the work place or Islamist variety, will make cops more popular and guns seem more essential.

New horrors are likely ahead — that will continue America's turn to the right.

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

 

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Pat Buchanan - Why liberal media hate Donald Trump

In the feudal era there were the "three estates" — the clergy, the nobility and the commons. The first and second were eradicated in Robespierre's Revolution. But in the 18th and 19th century, Edmund Burke and Thomas Carlyle identified what the latter called a "stupendous Fourth Estate."

Wrote William Thackeray: "Of the Corporation of the Goosequill — of the press ... of the fourth estate. ... There she is — the great engine — she never sleeps. She has her ambassadors in every quarter of the world — her courtiers upon every road. Her officers march along with armies, and her envoys walk into statesmen's cabinets."

The fourth estate, the press, the disciples of Voltaire, had replaced the clergy it had dethroned as the new arbiters of morality and rectitude.

Today the press decides what words are permissible and what thoughts are acceptable. The press conducts the inquisitions where heretics are blacklisted and excommunicated from the company of decent men, while others are forgiven if they recant their heresies.

With the rise of network television and its vast audience, the fourth estate reached apogee in the 1960s and 1970s, playing lead roles in elevating JFK and breaking Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

Yet before he went down, Nixon inflicted deep and enduring wounds upon the fourth estate. When the national press and its auxiliaries sought to break his Vietnam War policy in 1969, Nixon called on the "great silent majority" to stand by him and dispatched Vice President Spiro Agnew to launch a counter-strike on network prejudice and power.

A huge majority rallied to Nixon and Agnew, exposing how far out of touch with America our Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal had become.

Nixon, the man most hated by the elites in the postwar era, save Joe McCarthy, who also detested and battled the press, then ran up a 49-state landslide against the candidate of the media and counter-culture, George McGovern. Media bitterness knew no bounds. And with Watergate, the press extracted its pound of flesh. By August 1974, it had reached a new apex of national prestige.

In "The Making of the President 1972," Teddy White described the power the "adversary press" had acquired over America's public life. "The power of the press in America is a primordial one. It sets the agenda of public discussion, and this sweeping political power is unrestrained by any law. It determines what people will talk and think about — an authority that in other nations is reserved for tyrants, priests, parties and mandarins."

Nixon and Agnew were attacked for not understanding the First Amendment freedom of the press. But all they were doing was using their First Amendment freedom of speech to raise doubts about the objectivity, reliability and truthfulness of the adversary press.
Since those days, conservatives have attacked the mainstream media attacking them. And four decades of this endless warfare has stripped the press of its pious pretense to neutrality. Millions now regard the media as ideologues who are masquerading as journalists and use press privileges and power to pursue agendas not dissimilar to those of the candidates and parties they oppose.

Even before Nixon and Agnew, conservatives believed this. At the Goldwater convention at the Cow Palace in 1964 when ex-President Eisenhower mentioned "sensation-seeking columnists and commentators," to his amazement, the hall exploded.

Enter The Donald.

His popularity is traceable to the fact that he rejects the moral authority of the media, breaks their commandments, and mocks their condemnations. His contempt for the norms of Political Correctness is daily on display.

And that large slice of America that detests a media whose public approval now rivals that of Congress, relishes this defiance. The last thing these folks want Trump to do is to apologize to the press.

And the media have played right into Trump's hand. They constantly denounce him as grossly insensitive for what he has said about women, Mexicans, Muslims, McCain and a reporter with a disability. Such crimes against decency, says the press, disqualify Trump as a candidate for president.

Yet, when they demand he apologize, Trump doubles down. And when they demand that Republicans repudiate him, the GOP base replies: "Who are you to tell us whom we may nominate? You are not friends. You are not going to vote for us. And the names you call Trump — bigot, racist, xenophobe, sexist — are the names you call us, nothing but cuss words that a corrupt establishment uses on those it most detests."

What the Trump campaign reveals is that, to populists and Republicans, the political establishment and its media arm are looked upon the way the commons and peasantry of 1789 looked upon the ancien regime and the king's courtiers at Versailles.

Yet, now that the fourth estate is as discredited as the clergy in 1789, the larger problem is that there is no arbiter of truth, morality and decency left whom we all respect. Like 4th-century Romans, we barely agree on what those terms mean anymore.

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

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E. Scott Cracraft - The 'martial law' myth

This past month has seen a lot of tragedy: the terror attacks in Paris, the terror attack on Planned Parenthood in Colorado, and now, the horrible, senseless tragedy at a center for the developmentally disabled in California. But, the victims of the terror attacks in California were barely dead before right-wing conspiracy theorists reprehensibly used the tragedy to attack President Obama using social media.
According to these, the horrific shootings in California were ordered by Obama so he could impose martial law and seize everyone's guns. It would actually be funny if it not so sad. Of course, this was not the first time the president has been accused of trying to impose martial law or seize people's guns.
Obama has been in office for seven years. From his earliest days in office, the rumor floated and was believed — that he would confiscate firearms. Seven years later, he still has not done it. One would think that if there were such a plot it would have been carried out by now. Of course, it was all a lie but it certainly served the gun business well by drastically increasing sales! P.T. Barnum was right: there are suckers born every minute.
This latest accusation comes on top of numerous malicious accusations toward the president since he first ran: favorites include: that he is not a native-born citizen, that he is a radical Muslim, or that "death panels" for grandpa are in Obamacare. Then, there is the lie that Obama is building concentration camps for those who criticize him. Or, that Obama is going to suspend the Constitution and cancel elections next year! What? We have been in times of crisis greater than what we have presently and no president has cancelled elections!
Of course, there is a tiny bit of truth in every piece of propaganda. During WII, FDR did intern Japanese-Americans and even imposed martial law in Hawaii, but for the most part, the Constitution stayed in effect in the U.S.A. for civilians
This "Big Lie" propaganda would have made Dr. Josef Goebbels, Hitler's minister for information, very proud! In spite of all evidence to the contrary, some choose to believe these lies.
Many misunderstand what "martial law" means. They also misunderstand our Constitution and its history. There is a difference between martial law and a "state of emergency." Martial law means that civilians are tried and punished under military jurisdiction and that is very rare in our history. When it has happened, the courts have often ruled it unconstitutional.
During a state of emergency, such as a hurricane, a flood, an earthquake or civil unrest, the National Guard and even active-duty military may aid local law enforcement as well as emergency and rescue services. The military, however, cannot take over law enforcement and judicial functions when the civilian system is still working. On U.S. soil, it is rare that civilians can be tried under military law. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, for instance, arrested looters were tried under state law. Even in the wake of 9-11, Bush did not impose "martial law."
Of course, martial law is real. It was imposed on the conquered Southern states after the American civil war but only until they rejoined the Union. It was also imposed on Germany and Japan during the U.S. occupation of those countries but only until they got their civilian governments back.
In the U.S.A., it has been become less common to even try service members by court martial for "civilian crimes" such as murder or robbery unless those crimes occur on base or have a "military connection." The days are past when first sergeants went to county jails in the middle of the night to spring drunken soldiers with the promise that "the Army will take care of it." More and more often, soldiers who commit non-service connect crimes are tried in the local civilian courts. This even occurs more overseas unless the offense was committed in a combat zone.
On U.S. soil, to legally declare martial law would require a MAJOR emergency such as a nuclear war or perhaps a massive invasion of the U.S.A. Civilian law enforcement and the judiciary would have to be so broken that there was no other alternative available.

(Scott is a citizen, a taxpayer, a veteran, and a resident of Gilford.)

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Lakes Region Profiles – Gilford, an ideal community

By Mary O'Neill

Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group

 

Have you ever stopped to consider how unique a town like Gilford is? There are a lot of reasons why so many people stop by our realty offices wanting to see homes in Gilford. The truth is that if all the urban planners got together, they could not plan a community such as Gilford. They simply could not manipulate the location, manufacture the natural beauty, duplicate the character, and create the lifestyle.

Aspen, Colorado was recently named Ski Magazine's "2015 Top Ski Town." There is no question that few ski areas can compete with Aspen. But reality sets in when you learn that the medium single-family home price is $4,600,000 and that, the magazine notes, "waiters, plumbers, ski instructors, doctors and realtors benefit from...a government subsidized housing program, which covers some 2,800 units." This is not most people's idea of the American Dream.

 

Many factors converge to make Gilford an ideal place for a family to live, and these factors draw people to this community. The average price for a single-family home in Gilford is about $234,000. There are no Rocky Mountain ski areas, but ten minutes up the road from Gilford's quaint main street is a phenomenal family ski area, Gunstock Mountain Resort. Along with alpine skiing, there is snowboarding, Nordic skiing, night skiing, tubing, hiking, camping, and a host of winter and summer programs. Gilford is also strategically located for summer activities. From the center of the village, the town beach is only five minutes down the road. This amazing spot encompasses 13 acres with 1,800 feet of breathtaking shore front on Lake Winnipesaukee. Ellacoya State Park, with 600 feet of Winnipesaukee beachfront, is less than ten minutes from the village.

 

Why do these factors make Gilford ideal? Well if a family is sitting in their $4,600,000 home in Aspen, there is a good chance they are still more than ten minutes from the ski lift lines. And when summer comes along, will the Aspen family have a beautiful sandy beach only five minutes away? Will their boat be sitting at a marina ten minutes away? Could they drive to an organic farm in three minutes? To an airport in seven? Ocean beaches are 1 hour and 10 minutes from Gilford. A drive to the Pacific Ocean from Aspen is at least a 20-hour haul for a family.

 

This same scenario is true for most places. They may have one or two attractions nearby, but Gilford has it all. And what Gilford does not have within its town limits can be found a reasonable distance away. The entertainment and culture of Boston, for instance, is only a 1-hour and 50-minute drive from the village center. The Mount Washington area is one and a half hours north and the Canadian border is only another hour or so beyond.

 

Here are a just few of the many activities and advantages Gilford has to offer:
- Gilford's historic district includes the circa 1838 Benjamin Rowe House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. It serves as one of Gilford Village's museum buildings. The rooms are furnished with items donated by Arthur A. Tilton and his family, which are typical of an 1800s and early 1900s farmhouse.
- The newer Gilford Town Library serves as a cultural and educational resource, providing high quality books and a wealth of programs and activities for every age. Next door is the Gilford Youth Center with educational, athletic, and events for youth and adults. The beautiful Community Church is also tucked away in this corner of Gilford. In addition to nourishing the soul, it provides many other activities. Today, Dec. 5, it is hosting its annual Christmas Fair from 9 to 1.
- The excellent Gilford school system includes the high school, located in the historic center of Gilford Village on about twenty acres, and the well-respected middle and elementary schools.
- Gilford Village Field has four lighted tennis courts, a soccer field, a lighted basketball court, two baseball diamonds, a picnic area, and a bandstand on 28 acres.
- Lincoln Park offers a scenic waterfront and picnic area on Lake Winnipesaukee.
- The Arthur A. Tilton Ice Rink has an outdoor, covered skating rink with lights.
- During the summer, the Bank of NH Meadowbrook Pavilion comes alive with the sound of top-notch music. This award-winning, 8,000-seat amphitheater hosts some of music's biggest names.
- Gilford has some interesting dining choices. Kitchen Cravings serves original dishes made from scratch using only cage free eggs, real butter, and the purest products available. It was awarded TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence from 2013 to 2015. Ellacoya Bar & Grille has an eclectic menu coupled with wine and local beers in a circa 1843 restored barn. Patrick's Pub & Eatery serves quality food in a comfortable setting, making it a favorite of diners from miles around. The nostalgic feeling at Sawyer's Dairy Bar has made it a "family tradition since 1945." Their homemade ice cream has been made in-house for 70 years.
- Ramblin' Vewe Farm maintains a flock of registered purebred sheep and produces high quality meat, wool, and breeding stock replacements for the local and New England market. They have set aside 245 acres for forestry and recreation with a trail network for walkers and bikers.
- Gilford has fairs and events throughout the year. To brighten this Christmas season, there is the annual Gilford Village Country Candlelight Stroll on Saturday, December 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. People can walk through the village lit by hundreds of candles and take an old-fashioned horse and wagon ride to the sound of carolers. A bonfire will roar in Village Field for toasting marshmallows. On December 20, at the high school auditorium, the Gilford Community Band will perform a Christmas concert. Every August, Gilford has its famous Old Home Day.

 

Probably the most important factor that draws people to Gilford is that a home is attainable for a family at a wide range of prices. For as low as $60,000, you can purchase a condominium at a community such as Misty Harbor. This complex comes with amenities including a 335-foot sugar sand beach. At the higher end of the spectrum are neighborhoods such as Governor's Island. Accessed by a scenic bridge, this island has luxury lakefront homes dotting the expansive shoreline. Current asking prices for waterfront homes range from $2.3 million to $10 million. Simply put, there is something for everyone in Gilford.

 

Gilford is no Aspen. But at the same time, Aspen is no Gilford. Few places can offer the average family the lifestyle Gilford can provide, a lifestyle usually reserved for the rich and famous. In many ways, Gilford's lifestyle surpasses the Aspens of the world – skiing, skating, hiking, boating, swimming, sports facilities, shopping, dining, music, airport, and a host of other amenities all within a 10-minute radius of reasonably priced homes in the village. Gilford certainly is unique.

 

Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith & Laconia, NH and can be reached at (603) 366-6306. www.rocherealty.com

 


 

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