- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2018

It is an alarming headline: “America’s next Civil War will be worst than our last,” writes H.W. Crocker III, a historian and novelist who points out that in summer 1862, Union Capt. George Armstrong Custer attended the wedding of Confederate Capt. John “Gimlet” Lea at Bassett Hall in Williamsburg, Virginia, as best man.

Such “gallantry” between opposing sides, Mr. Crocker says, would be unthinkable these days.

“The difference between the America of today and the America of what seems like just yesterday is that we once had a common culture. As recently as 1990, Ken Burns could make a Civil War documentary for PBS and let historian Shelby Foote wax eloquent on the martial prowess of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest,” Mr. Crocker writes in a special report for the American Spectator, lamenting the ongoing cultural war on U.S. history which he says could erode national identity.

“America’s story is a glorious adventure — not a grim catalogue of irredeemable sins,” Mr. Crocker continues, advising the citizenry to “lighten the mood” in order to counter stark new schisms emerging between right- and left-leaning folk.

“If America is to come together again, it will do so only through the restoration of what Lincoln called our mystic chords of memory, a common culture that emerges from a shared and sympathetic understanding of our past — the sort of shared understanding that can bring a Union and a Confederate officer to a wedding,” Mr. Crocker says.

His latest novel “Armstrong” is due out in mid-August from Regnery Books.

THE GOAT PLATOON

Meanwhile, let us turn to a brief dispatch from the National Park Service about a significant Civil War site.

“Manassas National Battlefield Park will test the use of 20 goats as a form of vegetation control in a rocky and uneven, half-acre section of the Deep Cut, the scene of some of the heaviest fighting during the Second Battle of Manassas. Clearing areas like the Deep Cut will restore the historic viewshed so that visitors can better understand the advantage of the Confederate position during this significant battle,” the federal agency says.

“The use of goats as vegetation control is a sustainable, economic and safe alternative to mowing, hand pulling and herbicide. Pending the success of this test, the park will consider this method across an additional 60 acres of park land.”

DEMOCRATS FLIRT WITH SOCIALISM

Democratic socialism has an appealing image these days, thanks in part to the spirited 2016 Democratic presidential campaign of Sen. Bernard Sanders, and the recent surprise victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated 20-year veteran Rep. Joe Crowley in a Democratic primary race in Queens, New York.

Both Mr. Sanders and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez are self-described democratic socialists.

A new Rasmussen reports survey finds that 51 percent of likely Democratic voters have “a favorable impression of socialism.” Only 21 percent of Republican voters, 26 percent of independents and 33 percent of U.S. voters overall agree with this.

“Twenty-nine percent of Democrats incorrectly believe the individual has more power than the government in a socialist system, a view held by just 12 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of unaffiliated voters,” the survey said, also revealing that 80 percent of Republicans, 67 percent of unaffiliateds and 54 percent of Democrats say the government “has more power” in a socialist system.

Democratic flirtations with socialism does not translate into action, however. The poll found that only 19 percent of Democrats said their national party should convert to socialism. A quarter of independents agreed.

Perhaps sensing a political or cultural advantage in the long run, a plurality of GOP voters — 41 percent — said the Democrats should just go ahead and make the change.

RALLY ‘ROUND TRUMP

He is king of the multi-taskers. Since his 2016 campaign days, President Trump has maintained a precisely calibrated daily schedule. But there’s always time for one of his signature jumbo rallies, and two now loom. Mr. Trump has scheduled a rally in Tampa on Tuesday — marking his 36th rally in the Sunshine State, and his eighth in Tampa. He’s on a mission for midterms.

“The president will emphasize the importance for Floridians to get out and vote this fall for key races to support his agenda; including to support Rick Scott who is running to defeat Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate, Matt Gaetz for re-election to the U.S. House, and Ron DeSantis for governor,” he campaign noted.

Forty hours later, Mr. Trump heads for a second rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, — his 22nd rally in the state, the sixth the Wilkes-Barre-Scranton region. Again, Mr. Trump has an eye on the critical midterm elections — now 14 weeks off. The president is particularly keen on Rep. Lou Barletta’s race to unseat Democratic Sen. Bob Casey.

“Trump has a fondness for Pennsylvania and Barletta. He went to college at the University of Pennsylvania, scored one of his biggest election day upsets in the Keystone State, and has continued to return regularly for campaign events and rallies. Barletta, a longtime hard-liner on illegal immigration, was one of the first elected Republicans to support Trump, and the president values personal loyalty,” The Philadelphia Inquirer explains.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

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POLL DU JOUR

49 percent of Americans do not approve how the news media “handles” President Trump; 77 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of independents and 28 percent of Democrats agree.

33 percent overall approve of media’s “handling” of Mr. Trump; 16 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

41 percent overall say the media treats Mr. Trump unfairly; 83 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 9 percent of Democrats agree.

32 percent overall say the media has treated him fairly; 6 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of independents and 62 percent of Democrats agree.

26 percent overall say media treatment has been both fair and unfair; 11 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted July 22-24.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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