In Concord, Pat Buchanan says America’s strength comes from unity, not diversity

Last modified: 11/30/2012 12:56:12 PM
America’s strength comes from its unity, not its diversity, conservative commentator and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan said last night at Concord’s Capitol Center for the Arts.

“There’s two arguments. . . . The liberals, they say our diversity, our new diversity, is our strength. The more diverse we are, the stronger we are as a nation and a people,” Buchanan said. “And the other harkens back to an earlier era. E pluribus unum: out of many, one. The Pledge of Allegiance: One nation, under God, indivisible. That’s how America is made strong.

“They both, I don’t think, can be true,” he added.

Buchanan was the featured speaker at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications’s annual First Amendment Awards ceremony. Joe McQuaid, the Manchester school’s president and chairman, is also publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader, which strongly backed Buchanan’s 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns. The latter year, he won the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary.

“In Greek mythology, it is said that Apollo placed a curse on Cassandra of Troy, so that her predictions, though valid, would not be believed. A lot of Pat Buchanan’s warnings have proved quite accurate,” McQuaid said last night while introducing Buchanan. “America would do well to listen to this Cassandra.”

Buchanan spent much of his 20-minute speech reviewing changes over the last half-century in what he described as an increasingly polarized and fragmented news media. He also touched on presidential politics and the nation’s changing demographics, which he said don’t bode well for Republican candidates.

“The GOP vote in 2008 was 90 percent Christian, 90 percent Americans of European descent. Both these groups are shrinking, aging and dying. . . . When America looks like California demographically, I believe it will look like California politically,” Buchanan said.

A former aide to Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Buchanan has run for president three times, as a Republican in 1992 and 1996 and once, in 2000, as the nominee of the Reform Party.

In his books and columns, Buchanan has voiced controversial views. He’s been critical of Muslims, Israel and non-white immigration to the United States. The Anti-Defamation League and other groups have called him a racist and an anti-Semite. Earlier this year, the MSNBC cable network dropped him as a contributor.

Buchanan has said critics call him a racist, anti-Semite or homophobe in order to silence him.

The First Amendment Award, according to the Loeb School, was first presented in 2003 to “honor New Hampshire residents or organizations who protect or exemplify the liberties granted in the First Amendment.” It is awarded annually; last year, Vice President Joe Biden was the featured speaker at the awards ceremony.

The award was presented last night to David Lang, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire. Lang and the union have been longtime critics of the Concord-based Local Government Center, waging a years-long battle to gain access to its financial records. That in turn led to greater oversight of the LGC and an investigation by state regulators.

An administrative-hearing officer this year ordered the LGC, which operates risk pools that provide health and other insurance, to return $52 million in improperly retained surplus money to its member towns and cities. The group has defended its practices and appealed that order to the state Supreme Court.

“So unfortunately, tonight, I do not have a definitive ending for you for this saga,” Lang said. “However, what became clear to me from this experience is that the First Amendment, which we are here to celebrate this evening, is a crucial part of this democracy, because it allows any person to speak truth to power. You may not like what is being said, or who is saying it, but facts are hard to ignore.”

The Loeb School last night also awarded its Quill & Ink Award to Debi Clark Valentine, state director of the YMCA Youth & Government Program.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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