Top of the Ticket
Political commentary from David Horsey
From Ebola to Canada shooting, bad news is helping the GOP

Ebola, the shooting at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, American kids running off to join Islamic State, lunatics jumping the White House fence, racial protests in Ferguson, Mo. -- there is a long list of things making American voters uneasy as election day approaches. And when voters get rattled, they tend to vote against the people in power.

More precisely, all the troubling stuff gets blamed on the guy in the White House, whether that is fair and justified or not. As a result, we have the current political spectacle of Republican candidates for the House and Senate trying to make the campaign a referendum on Barack Obama. And, while they run against Obama, Democratic candidates are racing away from Obama, like Wile E. Coyote running from a lighted stick of dynamite.

This tactical abandonment of the president does not seem to be doing Democrats much good, though. It’s hard not to look like a weasel when you forsake the head of your party. Anti-Obama voters are more likely to think...

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Is Leon Panetta's slam of Obama a boost for Hillary?

Did Leon Panetta really conspire with Bill and Hillary Clinton to undermine Barack Obama by writing a memoir that slams the president’s leadership skills and foreign policy acumen? That’s what political strategist Dick Morris claims.

“I think Hillary put him up to it,” Morris said in a recent interview on a radio talk show in New York.

As the man who famously allowed a call girl to listen in on his conversations with President Clinton back in the 1990s when he was a White House political advisor, Morris is an expert on this kind of inside-the-Beltway intrigue. He notoriously wrote a damning tell-all book about the Clintons after his relationship with the prostitute became public and he was expelled from the president’s inner circle.

Now, Panetta, who served as Obama’s secretary of Defense and CIA director, has written his own revealing book, “Worthy Fights.” While not as sensational as the Clinton book Morris penned, Panetta's volume does not make his ex-boss look good. Morris seems to...

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Ebola would not be as scary had GOP funded vaccine research

Could Ebola be the kind of contagion that has ravaged humanity in an entire genre of movies from “The Andromeda Strain” to “Contagion?” Probably not. In all likelihood, it is less likely to kill us than to make us jump at shadows, do dumb things and use the health scare as a political ploy.

Ebola is pretty darn scary, of course. It is now ranked as the worst pathogen of the modern era. For once, the incessant attention of cable news talkers seems justified. The disease is taking down entire communities in West Africa, and the rest of world is just one airline flight away from infection. And it does not seem as though our vaunted medical system quite has a handle on it. A nurse who was treating the traveler from Liberia who subsequently ended up dying in a Dallas hospital from Ebola has now contracted the virus herself.

Uncertainty about the best way to cope with the disease has spun local authorities across the nation into a panic. On Monday, a man showing symptoms that were similar to...

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Joe Biden can't resist saying true things at awkward times

Most of the pundit class sees Vice President Joe Biden as the king of gaffes. The man commits verbal faux pas with regularity, much to the chagrin of White House spinmeisters desperate to deliver a unified message. Like a bad Catholic in a confessional, he is forever seeking forgiveness and then sinning again.

However, there is a difference between Biden and the run-of-the-mill politician with his foot in his mouth who gets into trouble for telling a big fib, garbling words or saying something profoundly stupid. Biden’s problems usually arise from saying things that are inconveniently true.

Today’s typical politicians work mightily to avoid uttering any phrase that has not been pre-approved for blandness and party-line conformity. They avoid unscripted occasions and run from journalists with unpredictable questions. In contrast, Biden likes talking to reporters, to voters, to students, to anyone who will listen. He gabs and pontificates and banters. Garrulous is a word invented for him...

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Same-sex marriage comes to America's 'Brokeback' states

Marriage is coming to Brokeback Mountain. Because the U.S. Supreme Court has declined a review of federal appeals court rulings that have struck down same-sex-marriage prohibitions in five states, wedding bells will be ringing for gays and lesbians in some of the reddest of red states. 

Up to this point, same-sex unions have been legalized only on the West Coast, Hawaii, the Northeast and parts of the upper Midwest. After Monday’s Supreme Court action, though, those Democratic Party strongholds are being joined by five not-so-liberal states -- Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana, Virginia and Wisconsin. And other court decisions pending in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina are now expected to go against defenders of traditional, man-and-woman marriage. 

Soon, three-fifths of the states will have stepped into the new frontier of marriage equality, either through ballot initiatives, legislative action or court rulings. Once partners of the same gender start...

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White House guard is down: Are Secret Service agents bored?

Secret Service agents should go to the movies more often. At least since the 1996 sci-fi film, “Independence Day,” in which an alien spaceship the size of Los Angeles incinerates the White House, attacks on the lovely old executive mansion have been a recurring cinematic theme.

Last year, two movies with remarkably similar plots featured lone men saving the president and what was left of his official home. In “White House Down,” the hero is a Washington, D.C., cop with aspirations to be a Secret Service agent who fights off a band of domestic terrorists. In “Olympus Has Fallen,” the hero is a desk-bound Secret Service agent who battles a horde of nasty North Koreans. In both films, the villains employ an arsenal of weapons and elaborate tactics to gain entrance to the White House.

Who knew that all they really needed to do was jump the fence and walk through the unlocked front door?

On Wednesday, the director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, turned in her resignation following...

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