Vol. 40, No. 6

A Note from the Chairman Emeritus

Question: What do Republicans and fiscal conservatives have in common? Answer: Absolutely nothing.

The Importance of the Ethics Process for the New Congress

The retiring Colorado Congressman discusses an issue that some believe cost the GOP its majority this November.

Mid-Term Consequences

The former Chairman of the RNC assesses the results and the implications for next year.

Q&A with Charlie Cook

One of the nation’s leading political observers talks about the wave that swept away the GOP majority.

Ho, Ho, Ho!

When it comes to federal spending, it’s become Christmas all year.

Do Deficits Really Matter?

According to the former CBO Director, they matter a great deal.

A Bipartisan Solution to Long-Term Spending Discipline

SAFE Commission would call on both Democrats and Republicans to serve.

An S.O.S. to Keep America’s Fiscal Ship Afloat

New Hampshire Senator’s bill would impose caps and other common sense tools to bring spending under control.

No More Bridges to Nowhere

The days of boondoggles and anonymous spending requests must come to an end.

Bold Leadership, Tough Choices

What one Governor is doing to control spending in his state.

The New Normal

How the mayor of Fresno is making his city’s government more efficient and accountable.

Democrats and a Balanced Budget

Will the new majority get it done?

It Begins with Ideas

Two things stand out from those meetings. The first was how often the group talked about recapturing the majority in Congress. The second thing that stood out was how much the group talked about ideas.

Ripon Profile of Kay Granger

From 17 years in office, I know that the principles of smaller government, less regulation, accountability, local control, free trade and a strong defense are right for our nation. Republicans are the ones willing to fight for those principles

A Note from the Chairman Emeritus

Earlier this year, there was a joke making the rounds in Washington. It went like this: 

Question: What do Republicans and fiscal conservatives have in common?

Answer: Absolutely nothing. 

The joke was not particularly clever. But, unfortunately, it was illustrative of part of the GOP’s election problem this year. In short, the party that had been elected to balance the budget had blown the budget completely off its hinges. 

Yes, there were some excuses. The war on terror costs money. The worst natural disaster in our Nation’s history is not cheap. But there was also a clear sense that the party’s commitment to fiscal discipline had come undone. And Republicans paid a price for it at the polls. 

In this issue of the Forum, we look at the mess that has been left and some of the solutions that have been proposed to get spending under control. We ask whether deficits really matter during this time of solid economic growth, and examine how the new Democratic majority may go about handling the situation. For more insight in this regard, we also hear how one Governor has successfully balanced the budget in his own state, and how one Mayor has charted a new course for his city that produced better services and a budget surplus to boot. 

We get things started, though, with an article not on federal spending but on another issue that contributed to the GOP’s downfall – ethics. Joel Hefley, who is retiring from the House after 20 years of distinguished service, shares his thoughts on the ethics process in Congress and how it can be improved. 

There’s a lot of food for thought in this issue, and a lot for Republicans to think about as they pick up the pieces and look toward next year.

Bill Frenzel
Chairman Emeritus

Ripon Society