Vol. 49, No. 2

In this edition

With the first presidential debate set for August 6th, many Republicans are now wondering whether history will repeat itself again. Will the House and Senate become passive bystanders and watch the political focus shift to the campaign trail? Or will the GOP Majority defy history by shaping the agenda on Capitol Hill? Precedent exists for […]

How Congress Shaped the ’80 Campaign

Ronald Reagan changed the nation’s economic course during the first two years of his presidency, but the seeds of this achievement were rooted in a House member’s bold attempt to broaden Republican appeal at a time when Democrats held solid control of Congress.

What America Wants…

There’s a quiet debate going on in Washington over the role Republicans in Congress should play in the 2016 presidential election. One side argues that Hill Republicans should leave a faint legislative footprint so as not to risk running afoul of the eventual GOP presidential nominee’s agenda. The other side argues that if Hill Republicans […]

How Congress can shape the 2016 campaign…

Just as the tax proposals of Rep. Jack Kemp and Senator Bill Roth contributed to President Reagan’s successful campaign, the current Republican-led Congress has an opportunity to have a significant impact on the 2016 elections with the tax reform effort underway in the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

How Congress can shape the 2016 campaign…

America’s position in the world is shifting beneath us. Strategically speaking, we are ceding ground to the Chinese, Russians, Iranians, and to terrorists. All of this has a negative impact on our future. Congress can take some important steps this year to turn back this dangerous trend threatening America’s leadership role in the world.

How Congress can shape the 2016 campaign…

The current Congress is less than a year old, and already it is clear that the new GOP majority will have a tough time passing its agenda, let alone overcoming presidential vetoes to any laws that should happen to pass. Such an unfortunate circumstance does not, however, mean that this Congress cannot have an impact. […]

How Congress can shape the 2016 campaign…

To paraphrase Bill Clinton’s campaign slogan, “It’s the enterprise, stupid.” And not just any enterprises: technology-based, global, and fast growing enterprises are the key. This focus should be the north star of Republican economic policy. Congressional Republicans can play a key role in this by promoting legislation over the next year that a GOP presidential […]

What Every Candidate Should be Asked in 2016

As much work as I’ve done in Washington, DC, Congressmen and Senators can only do so much. I saw from the inside that Washington, DC was never going to fix itself. Instead of remaining in the bureaucratic morass that is the federal government, I thought it was important to work on something that could actually […]

The Roots of Ripon Republicanism

Continuing our year-long commemoration of The Ripon Forum’s 50th anniversary, the former President of The Ripon Society writes about the founding of the Society and how one of the group’s organizing principles was “the advancement of Civil Rights.”

Red Governors in Blue States

Republican governors elected on platforms of economic growth through tax reform are running the economies of three traditionally blue states. Can Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan deliver on their promises?

Ripon Profile of Cory Gardner

In the latest Ripon Profile, the freshman Senator from Colorado discusses the message of the last election and what voters want from Washington, DC. “I think voters around the country are searching for a positive message. They want to hear what your plan is, and they want to hear how you’re going to get it […]

Ripon Profile of Cory Gardner

Name: Cory Gardner

Occupation: United States Senator from Colorado

How has your life changed since election night?  Most importantly, my daughter Caitlyn was born just a few weeks after election night, in December of 2014. She was just days old when I was sworn into office. Keeping up with her, in addition to my two other kids, has been the biggest change for me over the past few months. And that’s to say nothing of going from representing my Congressional district to representing the whole state!

In addition to your victory in November, Republicans took over the state Senate and won nearly every statewide office. What did election night say about Colorado voters?  As I said on election night, the people of Colorado are not red, are not blue, but they did deliver a message that was crystal clear: that they want their elected officials to get the job done and get out of the way of the American people. I believe voters were fed up with the inactivity and bickering in Washington, and they elected people to get stuff done and let America work.

Colorado is now one of 23 states that have legalized marijuana in some form. Is this a trend limited to these states, or something that reflects the changing demographics of America?  I think that Colorado and these other states are functioning as the Constitution intended for states to function: as laboratories of democracy. I’m closely monitoring what’s happening in each of these cases, and I think all Coloradans and Americans are trying to figure out where exactly the right balance lies between personal responsibility and personal freedom.

Along with you, 52 current Senators have also served in the House. How do you believe bicameral experience will help your time in the Senate?  It’s great to be able to build on the progress I made on various issues in the House while in the Senate, and to rely on the relationships I developed there to help craft legislation here. While the Senate and the House are obviously quite different institutions with different rules and traditions, I believe that the time I spent in the House helped me develop knowledge on a variety of issues, and certainly gave me a chance to engage in frequent collaboration with my colleagues.

You successfully fought off the left’s “war on women” attacks against you during the last election. What can other Republicans learn from your response?  I think voters around the country are searching for a positive message. They want to hear what your plan is, and they want to hear how you’re going to get it done.  The constant negativity, the personal attacks, all of those things eventually just turn voters off. If Republicans are able to get their good ideas out, refuse to let their opponents define them, and keep up a relentless positive message, voters will respond. Staying on offense, not on defense, helped us fight back when our opponents “jumped the shark.”

Let’s talk about issues for a moment. What are your top three priorities for the coming two years?  I have just one more than three; I’m going to continue to pursue the Four Corners plan that I presented during the campaign. My focus is going to be Economy, Energy, Education, and the Environment.

And if you could have the President sign any piece of legislation today, what would it be?  A balanced budget that, of course, would repeal and replace Obamacare.