Good Governance trumped by Election Anger

img_0154“How can working class Americans vote against their own interests?!?”

Sound familiar?  This was just one twist on the voting results from the 2016 Presidential election posited by Democrats whose candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost despite polls that gave the appearance of an impressive lead.  The query was a vague attempt to rationalize the loss by suggesting a short-sighted view by those working-class/middle class voters who supported Donald T. Trump.

Given the Republican leadership’s inability to control their own herd of cats, it’s too early to determine whether that rationalization is an accurate reflection of the 2016 vote.  Parsing all the Winners from the Losers, when it comes to the 45th President’s administration, may take years.

Separating Winners from Losers does not take nearly that long when one looks at most Local Elections.  By now, some of the unabashed Moderate‘s regular readers may be tiring of my favorite political bumper sticker slogan, courtesy of long-time Democrat politician, Tip O’Neill

All politics is local!”

Now certainly, I cannot speak for the quality of all local political administrations; and for sure some of those that changed hands last week ago did so for legitimate cause.  But I can state unequivocally that one local Pennsylvania upset was nothing more than the expression of Political Anger and Frustration on the part of Democrats.  A state of fury clinging like a bad taste in the mouth for a Party misguided by their own leaders, who felt compelled to give Hillary Clinton just one more shot …

DE341A12-9BB5-4171-B439-F9AD0D45CA8C

We can all understand their anger and frustration.  We just wish they would come to terms with their anger in more productive ways than punishing local leaders doing good work and building strong, productive communities.  In the case of township elections in Horsham, PA – my own little slice of suburbia – the ranting Group Think did nothing more than punish local officials for decades of efficiency, foresight, and quality governance!

Witness the facts as they relate to last week’s results in Horsham, PA:

  • Local Democrats – a committee in varying forms of disarray largely due to past election failures  – ran the exact same slate of candidates – save one – that figured prominently in their most recent unsuccessful election history.
  • Said Democrats likely spent the same – if not less – than prior elections in money and political groundwork.
  • Republican leadership has successfully piloted the Township through a daunting Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, fraught with implications for future Township growth and economic health, all the while …
  • Maintaining a favorable property and municipal tax position, relative to surrounding townships, which – among other things – allowed the School Board to replace an aging elementary school without tax increases to cover the costs.
  • School Board successfully replaced an outdated elementary school with a state-of-the-art facility without raising school-funding Property Taxes!
  • All of this accomplished without controversy, scandal, or subterfuge.

Certainly Life in Horsham is not always a bed of roses.  Opponents will point to an exasperatingly long BRAC process and the discovery of PFA pollution (perfluorinated compounds) in groundwater resulting from contaminants from the BRAC’ed  military base.  But none of those problems were caused or controlled by local Leadership.

BB6ED508-9B63-4AD2-A8D9-2E3CB166824ALastly, Horsham has been routinely listed in Money Magazine as a “Best Place to Live” community.  And recently was cited by a local NBC affiliate for the dynamic business and employment opportunities and municipal-provided amenities that make the Township a quality environment in which to live and work!

Despite that very favorable reputation and their own personal choice to remain in a township that undoubtedly meets their own definitions for Quality-of-Life, last Tuesday many Democrats chose to bounce two-thirds of a candidate slate whose legacy made much of the above a budget-friendly reality!

We get it!  Democrats are angry, depressed, disillusioned, and looking for Republicans to blame.  And apparently that anger and desperate need to “send a message” was done at the expense of elected officials guilty of nothing more than doing a good job!

“How could you vote against your own interests?!?”

Indeed …

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Pennsylvania flipped to Trump

Berwood A.Yost provides a well-written analysis (See link provided below.) of how Pennsylvania ended up in the Trump column after voting Democrat in 6 consecutive Presidential elections dating back to 1988. In some regards it’s a “Duh … no kidding!” analysis, but it hits squarely on my favorite Tip O’Neill quote, “All politics is local.”
the unabashed Moderate can relate because I tend to concentrate my political efforts towards local politicians and elections, where the effects on everyday – and every voter’s – life is more directly felt. Locally, our Republican leadership has maintained its hold because the Residents appreciate the efficiency of township government; the favorable reputation of our schools; and the efforts to maintain a balance in taxes.
These conditions demonstrate Yost’s conclusion that people tend to vote based on how their communities prosper – or don’t – and whom they credit or blame.
It’s not difficult to extrapolate the same theories to National Politics, as any voter who pays attention can tell when their life is positively – or negatively – affected by what Leadership DOES … and not by what Leadership says or promises. And the theory works not only for explaining why people will vote a certain way, but also why they WON’T support some (e.g. Hillary) even when they represent the legacy of a “favored” outgoing administration.
This may be an all-too-obvious treatment of what happened in November; but it reinforces the concept that people will vote the way they see THEIR lives at that given moment in time … not flowery speeches; personal attacks; or hazy promises of social change.
This is the reason the Democrats have had such a difficult time trying to break into our township government. With all-around successful management, the opposition has no options for offering meaningful change. And our voters appreciate the living environment our long-running municipal leadership has provided!

Hate is Hate … period!

The Unabashed Moderate has a very difficult time making any sense whatsoever from the events in Charlottesville, VA last weekend.  There is no question that the message pushed by white supremacy groups must be countered; shouted down; challenged intellectually at every opportunity.  America has no room for – and certainly should show no tolerance for – the morally corrupt message such groups cling to for whatever misguided and hateful reasoning.

Of that there is no question!

But what does one make of the hate demonstrated by the so-called anti-fascists?

I am an old-fashioned white guy.  I readily admit that.  I will readily admit that our race relations are not where they should be.  I will own up to the fact that racism still exists in this country, although I firmly believe that the actions, speech, and behaviors are much improved over where they stood in the 1960’s and ’70s when I was a much younger white guy.

We aren’t there yet, as was so aptly demonstrated last weekend when the concept of “white  pride” was trotted out under the guise of preserving American History.

Yet the hate we all saw in Charlottesville was hardly one-sided.  Under similar circumstances I do not have a problem with hating the “white pride” message, and the people pushing that message.  To be honest, it’s perfectly understandable that anyone in this day and age could hate white supremacists.

The problem in my mind is that Antifa demonstrated that they are not all that different from the white supremacists when it comes tactics.  Antifa has demonstrated this on numerous occasions.  What happened Saturday was just the latest occasion that their own brand of hate was on display.  They have provided us examples all over the country under the guise of various political, economic, and social causes.

How is WHAT Antifa does any different from that which white supremacists do?  Intimidation, invoking fear and violence, equipping for warfare in the name of protest …

The tragic, unnecessary murder of Heather Heyer was the obvious answer in Charlottesville.  But killing is not generally a tactic of white supremacists in this day and age.  (Please, do not take that as a defense of that heinous act.  It’s simply recognition that in the context of this discussion, what happened on that street in Charlottesville was an aberration of sorts.)

Or put another way … Will anyone be surprised when – not if – Antifa actions, given their current trajectory, result in a death?  I know I will not be surprised.

I must be old-fashioned, because I can remember a day when white supremacists and neo-Nazis were met face-to-face on the public square with nary a punch being thrown.  Arrests and perhaps a scuffle or two, but not wild, pitched battles with pepper spray, human waste as weapons, flame-throwing aerosol cans …

Hate is hate.  Violence is violence.

I do not believe the legitimacy of your stand or the difference in your objective makes the hate any more palatable or acceptable.

It’s easy to spot a white supremacist.  You know what their objectives are; who they hate; and how they will go about expressing that hate.  They want to impose a social order, long rejected by American values even if we still struggle to completely right that boat.

On the other hand, Antifa looks to push several social and political objectives, using not only very similar tactics, but certainly a similar brand of hate as those they purport to reject and work hardily to oppose.  The BIG PROBLEM is they do not hate only white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Antifa – through their very actions – have shown that they also hate Conservatives, Republicans, and people who simply exercised their personal political freedom by daring to vote for and support President Donald Trump.  We have seen this at political rallies, speaker events, world organization meetings, even at local festivals!

In Philadelphia, antifa elements vandalized property simply because they do not like the concept of gentrification.  This despite conventional wisdom that major urban centers depend on the improved tax base to fund important programs like inner city education and municipal services to the benefit of all city dwellers.

Antifa hates people for the way they vote.  They hate people for the way they think.  They hate people for simply assembling in the manner in which they identify themselves as the Portland example demonstrates.

Antifa hate is not limited to those with ancient notions of the relation between the races.  They hate even those with conventional, mainstream political thought.  They hate people simply because they disagree with them.

Their hate is corrosive, violent, and frankly quite deliberate, a political methodology.  And in that regard is no different than racist hate at its basest, most disgusting level.  Antifa may hold higher ground than the racists, but it’s not much higher.

It has always been easy to spot hate grown from the beliefs of white supremacy.  Now we have to be mindful of those whose hate is so easily expressed with violence simply because they disagree.

Tribute to those killed in service at Charlottesville

When is a ban not a ban?

uc06330One thing my friends here will learn is that my stances on social issues are much more liberal, compared positions on National Security, military preparedness, government economics and interpretations of the U.S. Constitution, which tend to be a tad more conservative.  National Security is at the top of that list for a reason.  You simply cannot enjoy the Freedoms to which we are promised and otherwise accustomed … those inherent Natural Rights set forth in The Declaration of Independence (Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness, etc.) without Security.

Now, I will be the first to acknowledge our current President has made the issue much more complicated by calling for a “Muslim ban” during his campaign.  A true Muslim ban would betray our country’s values and our compassion for those displaced by conflict.  But red-meat sound bites aside, the hold enacted by Executive Order did not address Islam as the reason for the actions.

As Commander-in-Chief President Trump is responsible for the safety of all citizens, be they natural-born or naturalized.  Should he determine that confidence is low in the adequacy of vetting immigrants from certain countries, his duty is to make sure potential threats from those areas will be properly screened to reduce the chances of violence here!

A 3-4 month hold on high-risk immigrants – even refugees … especially refugees from these areas – is not a ban; it’s a temporary halt.  Such a hold certainly makes sense where the efficacy of vetting prospective immigrants – particularly in dangerous parts of the world – is called into question.  Better to allow the experts to analyze and evaluate the processes of immigration in failed nation states; establish additional safeguards and vetting procedures as necessary; then lift the hold and allow the new processes to take root.

fdr-gi-top
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

A walk through American history shows that bans of a much longer tenure have been implemented by past Presidents.  And if you think a U.S. ban on those of a specific religion is unprecedented, you need look no further than Progressive hero Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who banned those of Jewish persuasion during World War II, while they were being liquidated throughout Europe.

Why did he ban the Jews?  Because FDR was concerned that spies and saboteurs might hide among those thousands of refugees expected from war-torn Europe!

Now ask yourself whether immigration from those seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Libya) poses a threat.  Certainly they do … just ask the European Union!

A confederation of nations organized around – among other things – the principle of free trade and free travel across borders, the EU – particularly those on the southern border – spent a good chunk of 2016 restoring fences and barbed-wire to stem the unrestricted migration of hundreds of thousands from those same seven countries after Germany’s Angela Merkel indiscreetly threw open the doors of the EU to unlimited huddled masses.

refugees-623651

The lessons of Paris, Brussels, Nice, Charlie Hebdo – along with the unending parade of un-vetted refugees – compelled the EU to alter its view on the desirability of borders opened to all who could survive the trip across the Mediterranean Sea.

Is it a “Muslim ban”?  In essence perhaps, but only in the practical sense that the seven countries named are largely Muslim.  That’s indisputable.

Yet Muslims from all other countries with largely Muslim populations are not affected.  If truly a “Muslim ban”, then why are Muslims outside the seven designated countries still allowed to enter the US of A???

If you look at the size of Muslim populations world-wide, you find Indonesia (205 million Muslims), Pakistan (178 million), India (172 million), Bangladesh (145 million), and Nigeria (76 million) unaffected by this so-called “Muslim ban”. Each country has a Muslim population larger than any of the seven countries where immigration will be held in abeyance.

A Muslim ban???  No … not even close …