Michael Barone - Obama has fundamentally transformed American politics

In this presidential cycle, voters in both parties, to the surprise of the punditocracy, are rejecting experienced political leaders. They're willfully suspending disbelief in challengers who would have been considered laughable in earlier years.

Polls show more Republicans preferring three candidates who have never held elective office over 14 candidates who have served a combined total of 150 years as governors or in Congress. Most Democrats are declining to favor a candidate who spent eight years in the White House and the Senate and four as secretary of state.

Psephologists of varying stripes attribute this discontent to varying causes. Conservatives blame insufficiently aggressive Republican congressional leaders. Liberals blame Hillary Clinton's closeness to plutocrats and her home e-mail system.

But in our system the widespread rejection of experienced leaders ultimately comes from dismay at the leader in the White House. In 1960 Richard Nixon, after eight years as vice president and six in Congress, campaigned on the slogan "Experience counts." No one is running on that theme this year.

Nixon could, because over the preceding quarter-century the majority of Americans mostly approved of the performance of incumbent presidents. Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower still look pretty good more than 50 years later.

Barack Obama doesn't. His deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes recently said that the president's nuclear weapons deal with Iran was as important an achievement of his second term as Obamacare was of the first. Historians may well agree.

These two policy achievements have many things in common. Both were unpopular when proposed and still are now. In March 2010 Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that people would know, and presumably like, what was in the bill after it was passed. But most Americans didn't like it then and most don't today, five and a half years later. As for the Iran deal, Pew Research reports it has only 21 percent approval today, much lower than Obamacare in 2010.

Both Obamacare and the Iran deal were bulldozed through Congress through legislative legerdemain. Democrats passed Obamacare by using the temporary 60-vote Senate supermajority gained through a Minnesota recount and the wrongful prosecution of Sen. Ted Stevens. After they lost the 60th vote, they resorted to a dubious legislative procedure.

This year Obama labeled the Iran treaty an executive agreement, and Congress concocted a process requiring only a one-third-plus-one rather than a two-thirds vote for approval. Only 38 percent of members of Congress supported it. Many, such as House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, did so only after saying that they never would have accepted it in negotiations.
In 2008 Obama promised he would "fundamentally transform" America, and Obamacare and the Iran deal are indeed fundamental transformations of policy — transformations most Americans oppose.

Obamacare assumed that financial crisis and recession would make most voters supportive of, or amenable to, bigger government. But as National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru points out, polling doesn't show that. Obama assumed that if America could "extend a hand" to such propitiated enemies as the mullahs of Iran, they would become friends with us. Most Americans think that's delusional. No wonder voters are angry.

Republican voters are frustrated and angry because for six years they have believed they have public opinion on their side, but their congressional leaders have failed to prevail on high visibility issues. Their successes (clamping down on domestic discretionary spending) have been invisible. They haven't made gains through compromise because Obama, unlike his two predecessors, lacks both the inclination and ability to make deals.

So Republicans who imposed harsh litmus tests in previous presidential cycles (like asking candidates if they've ever supported a tax increase, or if they've ever wavered in their opposition to abortion) are flocking to Donald Trump, a candidate who would fail every one of them. They are paying little attention to candidates — Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal — who advance serious proposals to change public policy.

In polls, Democratic voters have stayed loyal to the president. But to listen to their candidates (and maybe-candidate Joe Biden) you would think we are in our seventh year of oppression by a right-wing administration. You don't hear much about the virtues of Obamacare or the Iran deal — or "choice."

Most Americans hoped the first black president would improve race relations. Now most Americans believe they have gotten worse.

And so a president who came to office with relatively little experience has managed to tarnish experience, incumbency and institutions: a fundamental transformation indeed.

(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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Lakes Region Profiles — Squam Lake, holy ground in the Lakes Region

by Mary O'Neill, Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group

 

An excursion on Squam Lake brings to mind the lines of 19th century poet, Christina Rossetti. "Tread softly! All the earth is holy ground." The lake hasn't changed much in the last 100 years. So says Jim Hall, who has lived on or near Squam all his life.
Jim attributes the preservation of Squam and the surrounding area to local families, the Squam Lakes Association, and the surrounding towns' protective zoning. People who, according to Jim, are from "the old school and have a great respect for the lake."

The towns of Holderness, Sandwich, Ashland, Center Harbor, and Moultonborough border Squam Lake. Big and Little Squam are spring fed and connected by a channel. Big Squam is New Hampshire's second largest lake with 61 miles of shoreline and 6,791 acres. It was first known as Keeseenunknipee, which means "the goose lake on the highlands." After several other variations, "Asquam" was finally shortened to "Squam" in the 1800s.
The non-profit Squam Lakes Association in Holderness has been one of the guardians of the lake for many years. The SLA was founded in 1904 and ever since has dedicated itself to protecting Squam's water quality and encouraging preservation through conservation, youth, and outreach programs. The association owns islands and areas open to the public for low impact recreation and camping. Access to the lake for kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and boats with 25-horsepower or less is located at the SLA facility. Visitors can consult the website for information.
Real estate on Squam is extremely desirable, in part due to the building laws implemented to protect Squam's unspoiled beauty. A natural buffer of native vegetation must be maintained within 50 feet of the lake. The idea is "see but not be seen." SLA's guidelines specify that limbs and shorefront vegetation should be selectively thinned "so that you can see the lake from selected vantage points but also screen your buildings and yard as much as possible from viewers on the lake."
If you want to know about the happenings on Squam, Jim Hall is the person to ask. As he put it, "I've been in it, over it, through it, and on it all my life." Jim's grandfather, Joe Taylor, was one of the last men to captain the mail boat steamers that carried mail and passengers to the islands on Squam. In the late 1940s, Jim's father purchased property on Big Squam at Livernore Cove next to Finisterre Point and that's where Jim grew up, learning to swim and fish. He lived on Livernore Cove for 25 years with his wife, Laura, and children, Michelle and Craig. Jim has a great love for all the New Hampshire lakes, forests, and wildlife, having worked for the state as a biologist, followed by 16 years with New Hampshire Fish and Game. But Squam is special to him and represents a lifetime of memories.
According to Jim, there are many points of interest the public can enjoy with or without a boat. There are spots where you can drop your anchor for the day without a fee. The SLA allows day use of its Mooney and Bowman Islands. Chorcora Island, also known as Church Island, holds non-denominational church services and has become an enchanting venue for wedding ceremonies. For those without a boat, Jim suggests a hike up Rattlesnake Mountain. "It's an easy hike and the view of Squam justifies putting it on your bucket list." Red Hill, Mount Morgan, and Mount Percival are other climbs that afford fantastic views.
Jim also suggests a visit to the Squam River covered bridge. This bridge replaced a steel and concrete one that was condemned by the state. After the condemnation, a steel bridge was proposed but the citizens of Ashland decided they would prefer a covered bridge. The town placed $35,000 in a fund for the new bridge and the balance was raised by the Ashland Historical Society and spirited citizens through bake sales, dinners, and direct contributions. Milton Graton and Sons of Ashland constructed the bridge. Yankee Magazine called Arnold Graton "the man who saves covered bridges." Of all the bridges Graton has worked on, the Squam River Bridge holds a special place in his heart.

Squam Lake is host to one of the most unique lodging experiences in New England. Since 1897, Rockywold-Deephaven Camp in Holderness has been offering simple, rustic vacations. Their 60 cottages are tucked in amid the pines. Each has its own fireplace, screened-in porch, private dock, and antique ice box where ice from Squam is delivered daily.

Other attractions worth visiting include Walter's Basin Restaurant, the Common Man Restaurant, and the Sandwich Fair. The Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is an area favorite. It offers boat tours on Squam, including a spectacular fall foliage tour. The center itself is an extraordinary walk through the woods where you see local wildlife in its natural setting.
Jim has many stories about the wildlife he has encountered over the years. He talked about a blue heron rookery on one of the private islands where he counted over a hundred nests. "You figure, two adults for each nest and the chicks, that's a lot of herons...a noisy, squawking rookery." There was also a family of bald eagles on one of the islands. Jim said you could cruise by and see the activity around the nest. He noted that the nest was abandoned a year ago and a new one was built on another island.
And then, of course, there are the loons made famous by the movie On Golden Pond. With mention of the 1981 film, Jim let out what may be little known secrets. Walter, the infamous fish, was "dreamed up for the movie. At the time, there were no rainbow trout in the lake to speak of. Fish and Game divers hooked a fish on the line for the movie people." He added that the lake is now well stocked with trout but is really a bass lake. As far as the movie's "Purgatory Cove," it was "just a 'no name' rocky inlet on Big Squam."
Being a lifelong fisherman, it was no surprise that Jim's favorite memory centers on fishing – "hornpoutting" to be exact. He recalls many a night renting a rowboat with his father to legally fish after dark for bullheads. "We used hand lines and hooks, a fading art, to pull in hornpouts like crazy. The legal limit was 40 back then." His description of lanterns flashing on and off around the lake as other fishermen joined in the catch invoked a magical scene.
Then came the obvious question. "Where's the best fishing spot on the lake?" For the first time, Jim became vague in his answer. "You can drop a line wherever there's a rocky reef and make a catch." For a man who has treated Squam Lake as "holy ground" his whole life, it seems some things are too sacred to share.
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. rocherealty.com

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Susan Estrich - Who's in the 'little boat'

Given that it is September, when summer love fades and fall sets in, you might expect to see someone drawing even with Donald Trump. But you wouldn't expect that person to be one of the other least-likely-to-succeed candidates in the race: retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Between a retired doctor and a debt-ridden developer, who is least qualified to be president of the United States?

While their personal styles couldn't be more different, Ben Carson and Donald Trump hale from the same place: television. Donald Trump was a network star, but in the world of 24-hour opinions, Ben Carson has been a staple for years. He's one of those people who you recognize but aren't sure why until you realize that you know him "from television".

Being from television is not the same as being from government, although it often seems the two are interchangeable. The way politics, and news in general, get covered these days — that is, in the form of "he said/he said" debates and shout-fests, with the occasional attractive woman thrown in the mix — it might seem that the required skillset is coextensive. It isn't. Certainly, being a good communicator helps you get elected, and helps you sell your programs. But if that were all it took, Barack Obama (remember him? The guy who beat Hillary Clinton?) would still have dark hair.

Being president is hard. For that matter, even getting the nomination is hard. Neither Ben Carson nor Donald Trump nor Bernie Sanders — the three big outsiders as of now, with Carly Fiorina angling for a spot alongside them — have yet to be subject to the withering scrutiny generally reserved for those whose balloons have been fully inflated by the press, and now must in the course of things be punctured. His supporters might argue that The Donald is immune from such scrutiny, but even the most recent polls suggest otherwise: Trump's support has pretty much flattened out, and the big news is Carson's gains, not Trump's.
Insulting Megyn Kelly may not be the best way to prove to people that you should be president. Indeed, there's a pretty good argument to be made that the Republican race at this point has absolutely nothing to do with getting elected president, much less actually being president. I wonder how many of Trump's supporters would stick with him if they thought he actually might win. It's one thing to send a message; if the messenger might actually be the president of the United States, it tends to be another thing entirely, which is why most protest candidacies fail, as do most long-shot candidacies, as do most insurgent candidacies. The establishment tends to win, sooner or later, and it's not just because the rules and the momentum ultimately turn against protest candidacies (although seeing Clinton-backers pushing the South Carolina primary as her stronghold is a bit scary to her supporters, who might recognize it as George W. Bush's strategy against McCain in 2000). No, the establishment wins because voters, no matter how angry they are, tend to be rather risk-averse when it comes to picking actual presidents.

The late Lee Atwater, the first President Bush's campaign manager, used to call it the little boat. On that little boat are the handful of people we can imagine as president, whether we support them or not. At this point, only one 2016 contender is in that boat, albeit with her life preserver on. Jeb Bush has a familial claim on a perch, but so far, that isn't getting him very far; Joe Biden has a vice president's claim, although the best vice presidents don't necessarily make the best presidents (one of the worst insults heaped on Hubert Humphrey in his failed 1968 run was that he had the soul of a vice president).

It's hard to imagine either Trump or Sanders or Carson making it onto that little boat. On the other hand, the little screen offers limitless possibilities. If members of the press are the ultimate insiders (and, in Washington, they are) then the fastest route there may be from the outside in. Just ask Mike Huckabee.

(Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.)

 

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Sanborn — Winni sales report, August 2015

There were twenty waterfront sales on Lake Winnipesaukee in August at an average price of $1,156,045 and a median price point of $832,950. That's pretty awesome! It brings our total number of sales for the year to an even 100 at an average price of $1,133,602. That is a 26.5 percent increase over the 79 units sold last year with the average price coming in at $1,086,400. So things are moving pretty well on the water which shows people are...well, probably sick of not having fun!

Once again the entry level sale was on an island, 616 Rattlesnake Island in Alton, to be exact. This circa 1960, 1,008 square foot cottage has two bedrooms plus a bunkhouse. It features that campy knotty pine interior, cathedral ceilings, newly remodeled bath, and a wonderful screened porch. The really cool deal is it has a 17' x 32' deep water boat house and a 26' dock. It sits on a .92 acre lot with Southeastern exposure and 158' of frontage. This retreat was first listed in 2013 at $360,000, then in 2014 at $350,000, and this year at $315,000. It sold for $303,000. The total time on the market was only 179 days as it was listed just for short period of time each year. The current tax assessed value is $358,100.

The median price point sale is represented by 164 Paugus Park Road in Laconia. This 3,226 square foot, five bedroom, three bath ranch home was built in 1982 but had nice updates done in 2002. The open concept floor plan features a kitchen with oak cabinetry, tile backsplash, and beautiful maple hardwood floors that extend throughout the dining and the living room which also features a gas fireplace. There are three bedrooms on the main level with two more in the lower level walk out along with a large family room with tile floors and granite wet bar. A huge deck overlooks the spacious lawn area, patio, sandy beach, and 120 feet of shorefront that includes a 45' dock with boat lift. This property was listed originally at $1,050,000 in 2014 but was brought back on the market this year at $999,999, was reduced to $849,999 and sold for $815,900. Total time on the market was 218 days. The current assessed value is $568,100.

The high honors this month go to the outstanding property at 128 Veasey Shore Road in Meredith. This 7,828 square foot Adirondack home was built in 2003 and features a first floor master suite plus four en-suites upstairs. There's a gorgeous custom kitchen with high end appliances, granite, a center island, vaulted ceilings, and amazing lake views plus a formal dining room, a spacious living room flanked by lake views and stone fireplace, an office with cherry built ins, a media room, and lower level family room with its own fireplace. One of the amazing features of this property is the refurbished 1929 vintage live-in boathouse that boasts a vaulted great room with a floor to ceiling fireplace, kitchenette, two bedrooms, and a screened porch with another fireplace. But the pièce de résistance is the 2.1 acre lot and setting on Veasey Shore Road in Meredith which provides stunning panoramic views, calm waters, a natural sandy beach on 171' of shorefront with a 110' permanent dock and a 20' x 30' patio at the end. This is a fabulous property, but it did not sell overnight. It was first listed in 2007 for $4,495,000, then reduced to $3,995,000, listed again in 2011 for $3,799,000, listed in 2013 for $3,499,000, in 2014 it was $3,799,000, and finally this year at $3,499,000. It sold for $3,150,000. The total time on market was 1,499 days and that had to be a lot of work! The current assessed value is $2,798,800.

There were five sales on Winnisquam in August (kinda.) They included a 1940s three bedroom cape at 14-4 Hill Road in Tilton that sold "as-is" for $124,000. That tells you something. It has a deeded right of way to the water so that's the "kinda." There is a 1965 vintage three bedroom ranch with 785 square feet living space and two bathrooms on a nice .27 acre lot with 140' of frontage on the pond at 36 Tucker Shore Road in Belmont that sold for $280,000 which was a pretty good buy. Also, at 67 Tucker Shore Road was a larger 2,227 square foot three bedroom contemporary home built in 1992 that sold for $680,000. So, even Winnisquam was rocking in August. Let's hope we finish off the autumn sales season just as strong!

P​ease feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 9/15/15. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.

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Pat Buchanan - The purging of America's heroes

With that kumbayah moment at the Capitol in South Carolina, when the Battle Flag of the Confederacy was lowered forever to the cheers and tears of all, a purgation of the detestable relics of evil that permeate American public life began.

City leaders in Memphis plan to dig up the body of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who is buried in a city park that once bore his name. A statue of the great cavalrymen will be removed. "Nathan Bedford Forrest is a symbol of bigotry and racism, and those symbols have no place on public property," said council chairman Myron Lowery, "What we're doing here in Memphis is no different from what's happening across the country."

Myron's got that right.

Panicky Democrats are terminating their tradition of Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners, as both presidents were slaveholders.

Other slaveholders include Presidents George Washington, James Madison, who authored the Constitution that equated slaves with 3/5ths of a person, James Monroe, of Monroe Doctrine fame, John Tyler, who annexed Texas, and James K. Polk, who tore off half of Mexico.

Jefferson, Jackson and Madison are also the names of the state capitals of Missouri, Mississippi and Wisconsin, and Washington is the capital of the United States. Is it not time to change the names of these cities to honor more women and minorities who better reflect our glorious new diversity?

Washington, Jefferson and Jackson are on the $1, $2 and $20 bills. Ought they not all be replaced?

In Baltimore and Annapolis, calls are heard for the removal of statues of Chief Justice Roger Taney of the Dred Scott decision. In Fairfax County, Virginia, J.E.B. Stuart High may be headed for a name change. Can George Washington and Washington-Lee, rivals of my old high school, be far behind?

But it is Statuary Hall, beneath the cupola of the U.S. Capitol, where each state is represented by statues of two of its greatest, that really requires a Memphis-style moral cleansing.

Mississippi is represented by Jefferson Davis and Georgia by Alexander Stephens, the president and vice president of the Confederacy; South Carolina by John C. Calhoun, who called slavery a "positive good," and Confederate Gen. Wade Hampton.

Kentucky is represented by slave owner Henry Clay; Florida by Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith; North Carolina by Confederate colonel and Civil War governor Zebulon Vance; Texas by Stephen Austin and Sam Houston who seceded from Mexico to create a slave republic that joined the United States as a slave state in 1845.

Utah is represented by Brigham Young, founder of a Mormon faith that declared black people unfit to belong; Virginia by Robert E. Lee and Washington. California is represented by a statue of Fr. Junipero Serra, who established the missions that became the cities of California and converted and disciplined pagan Indians to Christianity.
Among the men revered by the generations that grew up in mid-20th-century America, five categories seem destined for execration:

Explorers like Columbus who conquered the indigenous peoples. Slave owners from 1619 to 1865. Statesmen, military leaders, and all associated with the Confederacy. All involved in the dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Native-Americans, like Gens. William Sherman and Phil Sheridan who said, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian," and acted on that maxim.

Lastly, segregationists. There is a move afoot to take the name of Sen. Richard Russell of Georgia, an opponent of civil rights laws, off the Senate Office Building to which it has been affixed for 40 years.

As there are thousands of schools, streets, highways, buildings, towns and cities that bear the names of these old heroes and men like them, the purging is going to take decades. Yet, make no mistake, a Great Purge of American heroes of yesteryear is at hand.

What did all those named above, who would be Class-A war criminals at the Southern Poverty Law Center, have in common?

All were white males. All achieved greatly. All believed that the people whence they came were superior and possessed of a superior faith, Christianity, and hence fit to rule what Rudyard Kipling called the "lesser breeds without the law".

Acting on a belief in their racial, religious and cultural superiority, they created the greatest nation on earth. And people who got in their way were shoved aside, subjugated, repressed and ruled.

As for the Confederates of the Lost Cause, they yielded to superior force only after four years of fighting, but their battle flag has ever after been seen as a banner of rebellion, bravery and defiance.

And those tearing down the battle flags, and dumping over the monuments and statues, and sandblasting the names off buildings and schools, what have they ever accomplished? They inherited the America these men built, but are ashamed at how it was built. And now they watch paralyzed as the peoples of the Third World, whom their grandfathers ruled, come to dispossess them of the patrimony for which they feel so guilty.

The new barbarians will make short work of them.

(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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