Not Exactly William Loeb III’s N.H. Union Leader Anymore

by Rick Olson

“I would rather have a competent extremist than an incompetent moderate.” Leon Jaworski

Remember Me?

In life change is inevitable. Sometimes change is good. Other times, change is not so good. Then there are times where change is merely a change that we might individually do not care much for.

The New Hampshire Union Leader, once a reliably conservative publication established in 1863 out of the Frank Knox moderation strain, (moving decidedly right under the leadership of William Loeb III and Bernard J. McQuaid)  is now part of a “new media era” sometimes showing Moderate tendencies. And if I am not accurate, we can  just call it, “Anemically conservative,” from time to time.

Despite Union Leader endorsement of Newt Gingrich in his run up to the New Hampshire primary,  no other political or social issue “de jour” brings a sharper, more crystal clear  focus to political dialogue than do guns or second amendment. So suffer me a moment to understand the larger context of the Union Leader as the Second Amendment chameleon today.

In The Union Leader’s first Editorial on December 18th, following the Newtown Massacre,  The NRA’s clout: It comes from the people, The UL writes,

“Gun rights are not popular in America because the NRA is so politically influential. The NRA is politically influential because gun rights are popular…”


“The group would have little clout if it did not have 4 million members and the support of millions of non-member gun owners who see a need to become politically active to protect their right to bear arms from liberals who openly advocate eroding it…”

The Union Leader does a fine job clarifying the lens through which to properly define the contemporary role of the NRA. As the UL points out, the left is hell-bent on vilifying, demagoguing and mischaracterizing the NRA, its members and its leadership. The anti-gun crowd has gone even so far as advocating the death of NRA leadership and its members.

On December 22, the UL Editorial staff cam out strong with an editorial entitled, An individual right: Obama and the 2nd Amendment, questioning the strength of Obama’s commitment to the Second Amendment, despite his rhetoric.  Moreover, the UL underscored, “why” the second Amendment was came about in the first place:

Writing of militias in Federalist 29, Alexander Hamilton put it this way: “if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of  citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens.”

And finally on December 29th, An editorial entitled,  “Holding steady: Gun rights after Newtown,” the first suggestion emerges for advocacy of what is referred to as, “modest changes,” citing a poll where 62% of Americans supposedly support a ban on ammunition magazines with capacities higher than 10 rounds and checks at gun shows.

In all respects, (notwithstanding a magazine or specific types of semi-automatic rifle) The Union Leader appears on its’ face to have crafted a solid Second Amendment narrative.

What I find utterly troubling, however is the complete and utter checking of what I refer to as “Faux Second Amendment advocacy”. On December 17, Professor Wayne Lesperance wrote in Another View citing some CNN/Washington Post/ABC polls,

But (Americans) also believe there are reasonable restrictions that can and should be implemented to restrict who can own a firearm, what sort of weapon they can own, and the amount of ammunition that can be loaded into the weapon.

December 27, again in, “Another View,” David Sherman is the lone writer correctly pointing out that a culture of violence is at the heart of Mass murders, not the so-called, “black scary gun, with the misnomer attached, “assault weapon.” 

All the while, I am wondering, “Gee, I kind of wonder what Kathy Sullivan is going to write,”All the while fully knowing what is to come,  prejudging  the content and context.  Not to disappoint,  New Years Day brought us a rant from the reliably shrill Kathy Sullivan entitled, We need to take the guns away now!

Some people mistakenly think she irks me. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I often look forward to rebutting her arguments in blog posts with what I call, “The Shrill Kathy Chronicles” Its all part of the fun of having a sharp stick with which to poke people.

Occasionally, I send something to the UL as a counterpoint. But perhaps what I write is too sharp for them, even. No matter…I get it. The UL achieves a higher click count with Kathy Sullivan and her rants, as often evidenced by the rank number of trolls and Kool-Aid drinkers weighing in with comments. I would lay odds she finds the UL Editorials Irksome. It is all just good laughs.

David H. Lee weighs in on January 3 asserting, Dick Swett was right about the assault weapons ban. David H. Lee was a research guy for Dick Swett, ergo…an anti-gun Democrat.  His rank pandering is noted here:

“Dick and others who voted for the ban “laid down their seats in Congress so that police officers and kids wouldn’t have to lay down their lives under a hail of assault weapon attack.”

Dick Swett fell on his sword, “for the children.” And a heck of a lot of good that did, “for the children.  What David Lee fails to disclose is that Dick paid the price for gong back on his word. Yet another in the sea of many who fails to conceptualize that criminals do not follow laws. Bans do not work.

Finally, on January 6, Ron Godbout from Northfield goes on a self-aggrandizing litany about the guns he owns, his competitive shooting experiences and his paper-thin sensitivity to Wayne LaPierre and the NRA. in a “Your Turn” UL Op-ed column. Godbout, “qualifies” himself in order to call for a ban on black scary guns…“Ban those guns, just not the ones ‘I’ own…” is the essence of his plea. He states,

“I concede that assault rifles have no functional role in the private sector, and I believe they should be well-regulated. Taxing them would be one partial solution, but placing stricter controls on them, like those already in place for fully automatic weapons, would help immeasurably.”

Kevin D. Williamson, writing for National Review on Line, could not have said it more eloquently,

The answer to this question is straightforward: The purpose of having citizens armed with paramilitary weapons is to allow them to engage in paramilitary actions. The Second Amendment is not about Bambi and burglars — whatever a well-regulated militia is, it is not a hunting party or a sport-clays club. It is remarkable to me that any educated person — let alone a Harvard Law graduate — believes that the second item on the Bill of Rights is a constitutional guarantee of enjoying a recreational activity.

Ron Godbout drank too much of the anti-Second Amendment Kool-Aid. He let the emotional diatribes of the anti-gun left dumb him down. He is now a faux-Second Amendment supporter, advocating for the disarming of law-abiding citizens.

Sour grapes because the UL didn’t publish what I had to say? Not a chance. Its nothing personal, I am sure. I still think Joe McQuaid and Drew Kline are, “stand-up guys.” Besides, I got published on other local and regional publications, one as big, if not bigger than the UL. Inversely, what I wrote hardly fits within the moderate backdrop of what other citizens are saying.

On the one hand, it appears the UL has a solid and sound position on the second Amendment. But juxtaposed with the overwhelming opposite editorials calling for an assault weapons ban, perhaps things are now out of balance, if indeed, balance is being sought. Only the folks at the UL can speak to that.


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