The Ripon Forum

Volume 44, No. 1

Winter 2010 Issue

Editor’s Note: In This Edition

By on October 23, 2014

For a generation of Americans, the phrase Morning in America and the presidency of Ronald Reagan will forever be linked.

The phrase represented not just the dawning of a new day for our Nation, but the dawning of a new era for the GOP. Today, Republicans are looking for a similar phrase that captures the mood of the country at this time and sets the tone for the mid-term elections this fall.

Surely, the wind is at the party’s back. And certainly, Democrats are in as vulnerable a position as Jimmy Carter was in 1980. But if the picture at this point remains unclear about the party’s electoral prospects in November, an image of the electoral landscape is becoming sharper everyday. It is a landscape that presents Republicans with something they haven’t seen in a very long time:

A New Horizon.

It is a horizon that looks completely different than the one Republicans faced in November of 2008. Then, the GOP was coming off one of its worst defeats in recent history, as Democrats recaptured the White House and added to their majorities on Capitol Hill. The horizon today is much brighter. It is one shaped as much by the missteps of the Obama Administration as it is by the victories of Scott Brown, Bob McDonnell, and Chris Christie over the past few months. It is also one that presents Republicans with both opportunities and challenges.

In this edition of the Forum, we examine some of these opportunities and challenges. We begin by focusing on the political environment in Ohio. The state has trended blue in recent years, electing a Democrat as Governor and to the U.S. Senate and supporting Barack Obama for President. But as former Congressman Mike Oxley explains in our lead essay, Obama’s “soaring start has stalled and is now more of a freefall, as Ohioans increasingly disapprove of the broad direction on mega-issues like the economy, health care, energy cap-and-trade, government spending, and security/terrorism.” As a result, Republicans have been presented with a new horizon in the Buckeye State, with John Kasich and Rob Portman leading the effort to reclaim electoral ground that has been lost in recent years.

Similar opportunities await Republicans elsewhere in the country as well. In fact, as Contract with America strategist Joe Gaylord writes, the horizon facing the GOP this year is very similar to the one the party faced in 1994, the year it took control of Congress. But Gaylord also notes that there are differences, too, not the least of which is the fact that the party has not yet gotten behind a Contract-like slate of solutions that would tell people what Republicans are for, not just against.

One important area where the GOP has no shortage of solutions is national security. In light of the failed bombing of an airliner on Christmas Day, these solutions have been receiving not just more attention, but a greater sense of urgency as well. We look at some of these solutions with Representatives Peter King, Buck McKeon, and Dan Lungren, three leaders in Congress who are working to keep America secure.

And finally, to the extent that the health care debate is at a crossroads (or, depending on your perspective, in a ditch), we feature a terrific essay by Utah Senator Bob Bennett explaining why he supports reforming the current system but is opposed to what the Democrats are trying to do.

We hope you enjoy this edition and encourage you to write at with any thoughts or comments you may have.

Lou Zickar
The Ripon Forum

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