Vol. 46, No. 4

In this Edition

One of the challenges of publishing a quarterly journal is that you want to stay relevant to the issues of the moment without chasing the headlines of the day. This latest edition of THE RIPON FORUM is no different. 

“Today’s biggest problem is not ideology, but partisan politics.”

“Some in D.C. have lost the ability to disagree without being disagreeable – and that is unfortunate, because such heated rhetoric often stands in the way of compromise when it might otherwise be achieved.”

“Cooperation on issues does not mean compromising values.”

Kay Bailey Hutchison is retiring from Congress after 19 years in office leaving this word of advice for her colleagues, “You, the elected representatives of today, are just as smart, creative and patriotic as our ancestors and must take the mantle of responsibility to keep America strong.”

“There will have to be some courageous souls.”

Lugar Talks about Political Environment and Challenges Facing the Republican Party in Speech to The Ripon Society.

“Anger is not a substitute for good policy” – A Q&A with Jon Huntsman

An interview with the former governor, ambassador and presidential candidate about the current political environment and the challenges facing the country — and the Republican Party — in the coming years.

Breaking the Partisan Stranglehold

The Aspen Institute scholar and former Congressman discusses dysfunction in Washington and offers ideas for reform.

The New Electoral Math and What it Means for Polling

The man who Charlie Cook called “the one pollster Republicans should listen to” looks at the election results and what they mean for the GOP.

The GOP’s Forgotten Ones

A young Republican and former aide in the Bush White House argues that the GOP can no longer ignore young Americans.

Passing Tax Reform: The Devil is in the Deductions

“In recent days, the looming fiscal cliff has catapulted income tax base-broadening to the forefront of the tax policy debate. Fortunately, this is an area where Republicans and Democrats should be able to work together.”

The Longest War

A senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, talks on why the U.S. must not abandon Afghanistan even as it prepares to leave.

Ripon Society Marks Milestone

Coverage of a Dec. 11th reception The Ripon Society hosted to celebrate the season and mark the group’s 50th anniversary.

Ripon Profile of Cathy McMorris Rodgers

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers talks about her new job as a member of Speaker John Boehner’s leadership team.

Ripon Profile of Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Name: Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington’s 5th District

As the new Chairman of the House Republican Conference, you have been a strong proponent of new media. In 140 characters or less, explain why Twitter is so important in American politics  today? Twitter allows us to engage, innovate and transform the way Americans interact with Congress by directly connecting us to those we represent.

How many members of the GOP Conference are on Facebook, and how has that helped House Republicans get their message out? Upwards of 90% of Republican Members are on Facebook. The network enables Members of Congress to stay connected with the people we represent on a scale never before possible. Whether it’s an important vote coming up on Capitol Hill, or a significant event happening back home, Members can utilize Facebook to engage with constituents in realtime. That feedback and conversation is incredibly valuable, and helps House Republicans be better representatives of the people.

Looking back on the past few years, can you point to any one issue or vote where new media made the difference in the debate? Health care. New media not only dominated the healthcare debate; it transformed it. Never have I received so much online feedback from my constituents as I did during the initial health care votes in Congress and in response to the Supreme Court’s decision this  summer to uphold the Affordable Care Act. I heard from patients, seniors, physicians, nurses and health care providers who wanted their voices to be heard on this landmark legislation. The overwhelming feedback I received only reaffirmed my opposition to a government takeover of health care and strengthened my resolve to fight against its implementation. New media was an instrumental part of this very contentious debate.

Looking ahead to 2013, what role will new media play in setting the agenda and in reaching out to the American people to find out what they think?  There’s no doubt in my mind that new media will play a pivotal role in the 113th Congress. Regardless of the issue – health care, energy, tax reform, debt reductions, entitlement reform – it will continue to shape the debate in ways we’ve never seen before. New media usage is no longer limited to a single demographic; its presence is widespread and its influence is immeasurable. As we look ahead, we will rely heavily on new media to take the country’s “pulse” on the most pressing issue of all: jobs and the economy. We want to hear how current policies are affecting everyday Americans and what they want Congress to do to help them create jobs. Getting Americans back to work is our top priority, and we’ll use every new media tool we can to get their feedback about how best to achieve it.

Finally, a question related to the season — with the holidays approaching and as the mother of two young children, what do you believe is the best way for parents and children to communicate with Santa in this new digital age? As the mother of two small children – one of whom has special needs – I’ve discovered that nothing excites them more than the iPad! Not only do they find it entertaining and user-friendly, but it’s been an educational tool as well. And especially now that Cole knows his ABCs, I think my kids will use a new handwriting app – like Penultimate or Noteshelf – to send their digital (handwritten) letters straight to the North Pole!