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Top of the Ticket Political commentary from David Horsey
Ted Cruz is Sarah Palin with a high IQ

If I were to mirror the example of the delusional right-wing folks who have spent seven years creating apocalyptic fantasies about how Barack Obama is a communistic, Muslim Antichrist, I could probably manufacture some scary characterizations of the first announced candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Ted Cruz — but I won’t. Instead, I want to compare him favorably to his ideological soul mate, Sarah Palin, which may be even more scary.

Both the Texas senator and the former Alaska governor oppose abortion and same-sex marriage. They both want a smaller federal government and a more confrontational foreign policy. They want to repeal Obamacare and seal up the borders. Both are darlings of the tea party. Neither believes climate change is real. When they are in front of evangelical Christian crowds, they talk freely about salvation and prayer warriors. Both are so ambitious that they barely warmed the seats in their first major elected offices before jumping into...

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Republicans debate whether to cut or borrow to boost military spending

Republican presidential hopefuls are at war with each other over the budget for war.

In the Senate on Thursday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio proposed billions of extra dollars for the Pentagon. So did Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, but, unlike Rubio, the $76-billion defense spending increase he offered was to be offset by cuts in other programs.

Paul and Rubio are both seriously contemplating campaigns for the GOP presidential nomination, and Paul said the argument about how to pay -- or not pay -- for more military outlays shows that there are now two sides in the nomination fight; those who have the courage to rein in the debt and those who prefer to spend more for defense without matching reductions.

“I think there are a great deal of problems for people who want to argue that they are fiscal conservatives and yet would simply borrow hundreds of billions of dollars for defense,” Paul said. “I think it is irresponsible and dangerous to the country to borrow so much money to add into defense.”


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Beyond dreary politics: Denting the future in Sun Valley

For the last couple of days, I've been in Sun Valley, Idaho, at Dent the Future 2015, a conference devoted to exploring "the magic and science of visionary leadership and groundbreaking success." What that exploration involves is shared presentations and conversations with about 200 really smart, creative people who are engaged in a wide range of endeavors that put to shame the feeble contributions of America's politicians.

The dismal dysfuntion of American politics can become a drag on the spirit of anyone who cares as much about this country, as I do. Because of my job, I spend too many long hours observing the current debasement of our democracy, so, when I get a chance to be inspired by something more hopeful, I take it.

The folks at this conference are an eclectic crew of generally brilliant human beings. They include successful entrepreneurs, artists, software designers, startup consultants, high-powered bloggers, educators, photographers, journalists, economists, techie ski bums...

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Hillary Clinton presidency would be a dreary, endless battle

This may sound harsh, but the thought of another Clinton presidency is just plain dreary. Certainly there are far worse fates for the country (can you say “President Huckabee?”) and some scenarios scary enough to set off a stampede to Canada (can you say “President Ted Cruz?”), but the election of Hillary Rodham Clinton would be like a return to trench warfare — a grueling, mud-spattered battle fought over the same ground day after day after dispiriting day.

Clinton has not yet announced her candidacy, but Fox News commentators are already on the attack, fulminating about the “Clinton scandals” (note the plural). In the 1990s, Hillary was mocked for blaming her troubles, and Bill’s, on “a vast right wing conspiracy.” She was merely describing what has become a familiar reality. The broadly arrayed forces of the conservative media, right wing billionaires and Republican attack artists engaged in an all-fronts assault on the Clintons. Then, after an eight-year break, the same people came...

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Starbucks offers a shot of race with every cappuccino

Starbucks is now offering a conversation about race along with the coffee drinks. Some people think this is a noble, commendable idea. Even more folks seem to think it’s about the dumbest move any business has come up with in a long time. Whatever the judgment may be, it is no surprise that the idea for this was born at a company based in the predominantly white, earnestly liberal, coolly polite city of Seattle.

In Seattle, baristas might just get away with chatting up their customers about hot button racial issues. Just about everyone will be on the same page, politically, and any customer who does not feel like talking will simply mumble an apology and hide behind her iPad. I can’t imagine things going so calmly in Texas or Alabama, though. Or Boston or Los Angeles, for that matter. Sooner or later, tempers will flare, voices will be raised, somebody will scream that this force-fed political correctness is part of a commie-socialist plot to denigrate white, Christian America and soon...

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Youngest senator, Tom Cotton, shows his immaturity with Iran letter

On Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iranian negotiators demanded that their American counterparts explain to them the meaning of the open letter sent to Iranian leaders by 47 Republican U.S. senators. In the letter, the senators declared that any agreement with the current resident of the White House could be modified or nullified by a future president or by Congress. Apparently, their goal was to scuttle the Obama administration's effort to reach a deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry and the other U.S. officials in Switzerland who are trying to make that deal declined to characterize their response to the Iranians, but one might assume it was something like, “Hey, you’ve got your hardliners back home and we’ve got ours.”

The Republicans’ letter may not scare Iran’s rulers away from an agreement, but it contained a passage that ought to send a chill up American spines. Pointing out that a president is limited to two four-year terms, the...

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