The Ripon Forum

Volume 42, No. 4

Aug - Sept 2008 Issue

A Note From the Chairman Emeritus

By on November 30, 2015

When it comes to the media’s reporting of political conventions, a favorite storyline has emerged in recent years. It goes something like this:

“Political conventions used to be occasions of high drama, where candidates were considered and reconsidered and a nominee eventually emerged. Today, conventions are highly scripted events, where nothing is left for chance and the outcome is preordained.”

No doubt most of this storyline is true. But missing from the media’s lament is one indisputable fact – political conventions are also about ideas, and for as predictable as the quadrennial party gatherings have become, the issues and ideas that animate them are anything but.

Who would have predicted a month ago that gas prices would have fallen twenty cents in two weeks? Or that Russia would have invaded Georgia? Or that Brett Favre would be playing for the Jets? Uncertainty in politics – like uncertainty in sports – catches us all off guard. Which is why the most important story of the upcoming conventions are not their predictable outcomes, but the issues and ideas the candidates will have to contend with once the conventions conclude.

In this Special Commemorative Edition of the Ripon Forum, we take a look at one of the most important challenges our Nation faces with the presumptive Republican nominee for President. John McCain is one of America’s foremost experts in the area of foreign affairs. We are honored to feature his insights in this area and learn more about his vision for U.S. policy and America’s place in the world.

In addition to establishing a reputation as a global leader, Senator McCain also has a well-established reputation as a political maverick. Strategist Reed Galen writes about this reputation in our cover story, finding that the true hallmark of McCain’s career is not his rebellious streak, but the larger cause for which it serves – the safety and security of the American people.

In its 40-plus year history, the Forum has featured exceptional essays by some of the Nation’s leading thinkers in politics, business, and academia. We thought this would be a good occasion to reprint some of the more recent ones. The essays and interviews in this “Best of the Forum” collection address fiscal restraint, tax reform, health care, and other issues our party – and our next President – will have to deal with in the coming year.

Finally, we profile the host of the 2008 Republican Convention and one of the brightest voices in politics today, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who shares with us not only his thoughts on the issue facing America no one is talking about, but the historical figure he would most like to meet.

We hope you enjoy this Special Commemorative Edition of the Ripon Forum, and encourage you to write us at with any questions or comments you might have.

                                                                                                        Bill Frenzel
                                                                                                        Chairman Emeritus
                                                                                                        Ripon Society

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