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Top of the Ticket Political commentary from David Horsey
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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Voters not likely to remember Hillary Clinton's email habits

I am envious of Hillary Clinton. She had a team of assistants available to her to dump 30,000 old email messages into the trash. I must have at least 30,000 messages languishing in four email accounts, including an old one on AOL that I can’t even remember how to access. I would love to get rid of them, but who has that kind of time?

Hillary obviously didn’t. That’s why she hired people to do it for her. Apparently, though, cleaning out your email is not a good idea if you are a former secretary of State who is expected to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

Hillary made the mistake of using her private email account for both work and home, and no matter how much she may protest that she only got rid of the personal stuff and sent the rest to be filed away by the State Department, Republicans will not take her word for it. They seem to think that, among the quick notes to the caterer for her daughter Chelsea’s wedding and honey-do requests to Bill, there...

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