The Ripon Forum

Volume 44, No. 2

Spring 2010 Issue

In this Edition

By on October 24, 2014

The Administration of George W. Bush had many faults. But one thing you could never fault it for was failing to remember that America’s security is the first function of the federal government.

Ever since a young Nigerian nearly blew up an airliner on Christmas Day, questions have arisen over the Obama Administration’s own priorities in this regard. The problem is not the President. Some have criticized the conciliatory tone he has expressed abroad, but when it comes to national security, he has largely kept his eye on the ball.

The same cannot be said for members of his Cabinet.Attorney General Eric Holder is a prime example. From his support for reading the Christmas bomber his Miranda Rights to his decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in New York City instead of a military tribunal, he has given every indication that he views the terrorist threat as a crime and not an act of war. In the process, he has raised real questions about the Administration’s broader commitment to keeping our nation secure.

We take a look at this commitment and this continuing threat in the latest edition of The Forum. We do so with an interview with someone who knows the issue better than most — Fran Townsend, who served as Homeland Security Advisor under President Bush and played a key role in developing the policies that has kept our country free of attack since 9/11. We also hear from one of the foremost experts on national security and public diplomacy in the House of Representatives – Texas Congressman Mac Thornberry – who looks at the Administration’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay and explains why it doesn’t make sense.

National security will likely have a role in the mid-term elections. But what is really going to drive people to the polls this November are the candidates on the ballot and the messages they convey. As Republican rising star and Chief Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy writes for us, this year’s class of GOP recruits is the best since 1994, and will put the party in an excellent position to win back the House.

As the U.S. recovers from the Great Recession, another crisis looms on the horizon — this one involving pension funds. The Pew Center looked at this growing problem recently, and Susan Urahn, the Managing Director of Pew’s Center on the States, dissects the challenges we face and the steps that should be taken to keep things from getting worse.

Even though the economy has been struggling, Dan Danner of the National Federation of Independent Business writes that a surprising number of entrepreneurs have used the downturn to get their own businesses off the ground. He also writes that Washington has a responsibility to make things easier for entrepreneurs, not stand in their way.

And in our Ripon Profile this edition, we focus on another rising star of American politics – Governor John Hoeven of North Dakota – who is running for the Senate this year, and who all Americans will likely be hearing more about soon.

As always, we hope you enjoy this edition ofThe Forum, and encourage you to contact us at with any comments you may have.

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