Ripon Forum: Search for Common Ground Former Republican Leaders Howard Baker and Bob Michel discuss bipartisanship and the effort to end political gridlock in Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In its latest edition, The Ripon Forum focuses on “The Search for Common Ground” and the bipartisan effort being led by former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker to break the political logjam in Washington.  The June/July edition of theForum also features an essay by former House Republican Leader Bob Michel on gridlock in Congress and some ideas he has to reform the institution.

In his Note from the Chairman Emeritus introducing the edition, former Minnesota Congressman Bill Frenzel, who also serves as the Chairman of the Forum’sEditorial Board, writes that the focus on finding common ground is not only relevant given the current political climate, but it is also appropriate when one considers the political events that occurred around this time in 1787 and how those events continue to impact us today.

“Two hundred and twenty years ago this summer,” Frenzel writes, “fifty five delegates from America’s thirteen states locked themselves in a room in Philadelphia to hammer out a new Constitution for our Nation.

“Four months later, in September, they emerged with an agreement.  No one had been allowed inside the room during their deliberations.  James Madison took notes; others shared their thoughts through correspondence.  A transcript of the proceedings, however, does not exist.

“But it’s safe to assume the debate wasn’t pretty.  Egos were involved. Fortunes were involved.  Political futures were involved.  Yet somehow, the delegates managed to put aside their differences and reach consensus on a framework for government that was revolutionary for its time.

“Today, that same governing framework still exists.  But reaching that type of political consensus seems to be a thing of the past.  Clearly, there are exceptions.  But increasingly, partisanship has become the coin of the realm in our Nation’s capital, and distrust between the parties abounds.

“In this edition of the Forum, we look at some of the reasons for that, and some of the solutions being pursued.  We gear our coverage of this topic around two of the most widely respected former legislators in Washington – former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker and former House Republican Leader Bob Michel.”

In addition to Leaders Baker and Michel, Mr. Frenzel notes that the June/July edition of the Forum also features and focuses on the following authors and issues:

  • Tom Miller, writing about health care reform on the presidential campaign trail;
  • Reid Cramer, writing on the Bloomberg plan to fight poverty in New York;
  • Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, writing about finding agreement on an international counter-narcotics strategy;
  • John Diamond, writing about the need to reform the alternative minimum tax;
  • Demetrios Papademetriou, writing about the immigration reform plan before Congress;
  • Matt Moore, writing about the trigger for reform included in this year’s Medicare Trustees Report; and,
  • David Walker, in an excerpt of a speech delivered in April, on making government work.

The June/July edition of the Forum also includes a profile of Connecticut GovernorM. Jodi Rell.

The Ripon Forum is a journal of political thought and opinion that was first published in 1965 and is now published bimonthly by the Ripon Society.  The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 — Ripon, Wisconsin.

One of the main goals of the Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made the GOP — and America — great.  These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.

For more information on the Ripon Society and to view the June/July edition ofThe Ripon Forum, please visit