Vol. 42, No. 4

A Note From the Chairman Emeritus

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

An Enduring Peace

As he prepares to accept the Republican nomination for President, the FORUM asked John McCain what foreign policy would look like in his administration.

Rebel with a Cause

Despite his reputation as a maverick, the hallmark of John McCain’s career has been a devotion to the security. of America

Why I am a Republican

Amidst efforts to rebuild the GOP brand, the FORUM asked prominent Republicans to discuss why they joined the party and the issues they believe will be critical to its success in 2008.

Why Ideas Matter

The Governor of Mississippi says good policy, not politics, is the key to the GOP’s future.

Limiting Spending: We’ve done it before; we can — and must — do it again

We’ve done it before; we can – and must – do it again.

Fanning the Flames of Change

South Carolina’s Governor outlines his plan for changing the tax system and giving people a choice in his state.

What Trade Means to My State

The Governor of Minnesota discusses his efforts to strengthen his state’s position with regard to global trade.

Health Care Reality Check

The goal of any reform should be the same as the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm.

The Search for Common Ground A Q&A with Howard Baker

The former Tennessee Senator discusses a bipartisan effort he is leading to break the political logjam in Washington.

It’s More Than Just Words

The veteran speechwriter discusses the importance of tone in politics and the GOP’s message this fall.

Reagan in Youngstown

There aren’t many Republicans in this rust-belt city. But that didn’t stop Ronald Reagan from campaigning there in 1980.

The Ripon Profile of Tim Pawlenty

Republicans must present ideas and solutions that address the concerns of Americans in a positive, hopeful and pragmatic manner, while remaining faithful to our principles.

A Note From the Chairman Emeritus

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 editor@riponsociety.org with any questions or comments you might have.

                                                                                                        Bill Frenzel
                                                                                                        Chairman Emeritus
                                                                                                        Ripon Society