The Ripon Forum

Volume 41, No. 6

Dec 2007 - Jan 2008 Issue

A Note from the Chairman Emeritus

By on November 16, 2015 with 0 Comments

Branding is one of the hottest buzzwords in advertising circles.  It’s catching on in political circles, as well. It’s easy to understand why.

You see, branding has to do with image repair and reputation management. In Washington, there’s been something of a demand for those two things of late. Polls are down on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and public distaste for partisan bickering is at an all time high. The mood is restless in the American countryside.  The yearning for change is real.

As both parties try to figure out how to handle this mood and prepare for the elections, we thought it would be helpful to ask a question that, we believe, is fundamental to the GOP brand and any effort to repair the party’s image. The question is why people become a Republican in the first place? What issues are driving them, and what do they think the party stands for today?

We asked this question of six prominent Republicans. The individuals we talked to serve at every level of government and work in the private sector, too. Two serve in Washington, while the rest live and work outside the Beltway. We hope you find what they say enlightening. We also hope you find interesting the rest of this special 2008 Primary Edition of The Ripon Forum.

Of course, any look at the Republican Party must also include a look at Abraham Lincoln, and we do so with an essay by Judge Frank Williams on Lincoln’s origins in the GOP. We also focus on the elements of good political communications with two experts on that topic – speechwriter Landon Parvin and strategist John Feehery. We consider the impact of Iraq on Northeast Republicans with New York pollster John McLaughlin. And we examine the youth vote and ask the $64,000 question – will this be the year they finally turn out?

We begin this edition, though, with a serious topic – the Republican Party’s relationship with African American voters.  According to former Congressman J.C. Watts, there is little to no relationship at all, which is why the GOP consistently loses the black vote and is alienating a potential constituency along the way.

As always, we would like to know what you think. Please email us at with your thoughts and views on anything you read or would like to see written in the Forum. 

Bill Frenzel
Chairman Emeritus
Ripon Society

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