Vol. 44, No. 1

Editor’s Note: In This Edition

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 […]

Health Care Reform Reality Check

“In a desperate attempt by Senate Democrats to “make history” a health care bill was crafted behind closed doors.”

Status Report

“The failed Christmas Day terrorist attack underscores the importance of the current efforts by the United States to work with foreign governments to train, equip, and professionalize their security forces — both military and police.”

Dangerous Decision

Peter King, representative of New York, criticizes how the Obama administration tries to deal with terrorists in civilian courts, “If we are going to protect Americans in our international war on terror, Abdulmutallab and his fellow terrorists should face trial in military commissions, not in civilian courts.”

Understanding the Enemy

Congressman Dan Lungren of California spells out how we must understand the enemy in order to adapt our defenses and protect our nation, “We must understand that we face an enemy who is as elusive as they are deadly and sinister. They have made adaptations in response to the measures we have taken to protect […]

Financial Reform: Getting it Right

Phillip Swagel, previous Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department, writes a piece on how financial reform begins with good policy, not populism

The New Horizon

“After two dismal showings in the elections of 2006 and 2008, Republicans in the great political state of Ohio are ready for a comeback.”

The Winter of Ohio’s Discontent

William Binning, Ph.D. says, “The political environment in the battleground state of Ohio is shaping up to be a toxic one for incumbents in 2010. The economic challenges facing the state are chronic and severe. “

2010 Elections: Replay of 1994?

Joseph R. Gaylord outlines three important similarities between the GOP’s status in 2010 and in 1994 when Republicans won control of Congress, and three differences.

The Real State Of the Union

John Feehery writes a letter to the president addressing key issues, “Our budget is not just a little out of balance. It is out of balance in historically high terms. We are deeper in debt than we have ever been in our nation’s history.”

The Blue Dogs: All Bark and No Bite?

“From TARP to stimulus funds to health care reforms, Blue Dogs simply do not constitute a cohesive or powerful force in congressional voting.”

The Archie Manning of American Politics

“Now, with polls showing that the president is hemorrhaging support among independents and those in the political center, another view is beginning to take hold — namely, that Barack Obama is the Archie Manning of American politics, the one shining star on an otherwise hapless team. “

Ripon Profile of Jo Ann Emerson

To reclaim its congressional majority, the GOP must, “Return America to the days when an entrepreneur could make his idea a profitable reality entirely within the United States.”

The New Horizon

John Kasich and Rob Portman stand poised to lead a Republican comeback in Ohio

After two dismal showings in the elections of 2006 and 2008, Republicans in the great political state of Ohio are ready for a comeback. Let’s face it, in both of these cycles, the Democrats didn’t win so much as our Republican Party lost, due to scandals and poor judgment exercised by some of our Ohio elected officials.

In a recent piece about Ohio politics for National Review Online, Jim Geraghty quotes a source who observed that the losses stemmed from “an anti-corruption wave in 2006 and the excitement and enthusiasm for Obama in 2008.” Voters in the ultimate swing state are smart and engaged, and they don’t hesitate to make their displeasure known at the polls.

The Republican brand has been damaged, and it’s up to us to restore it with quality candidates who connect with voters on core values and who advocate sound public policy. Just one year ago, few would have predicted the tremendous opportunity for our Party that is now before us in 2010.

President Obama’s campaign message of hope and change has quickly become dismay and disappointment among the electorate. His 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.

President Obama’s campaign message of hope and change has quickly become dismay and disappointment among the electorate.

Internationally, despite Obama’s hopes expressed during the campaign and in the first months of his presidency, his personal appeal and popularity have done nothing to budge the world’s dictators and nuclear bullies. The extent to which he has adopted many of the previous Administration’s international policies is remarkable, and he is learning that perhaps many of those policies were the best course, after all.

At home, Ohioans are less than impressed with economic stimulus bills that cost hundreds of billions of dollars but don’t stimulate the economy. At this writing, Ohio’s unemployment rate is 10.6 percent, and behind that number stand hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Ohioans and their families who are paying the human cost of the housing/credit crunch combined with a vicious recession. In July of 2009, the unemployment rate was above 11 percent, the worst since the recession of the early 1980s.

While it seemed overwhelming at his inauguration, President Obama’s job approval is fading fast. It has turned out to be a thin reed on which to build the Democrats’ basis for governing.


The elections of 2009 revealed the shallowness of Democrats’ support, particularly in the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey. In those two races, the first-time voters, unmarried women, younger voters, African Americans, and Latinos that comprised the Obama “surge” stayed home. Candidates (now Governors) Bob McDonnell in Virginia and Chris Christie in New Jersey outperformed GOP presidential nominee John McCain’s 2008 results among conservatives, moderates, and men. The truly independent voters who came to the polls in 2009 were more conservative than those who voted in 2008.

Going forward, it is important to watch the views of true independent, swing voters, as they determine the outcomes of elections. By definition, they are likely to be uncomfortable with one-party rule and with excessive government programming and spending.

Having said all of this, it would be a huge mistake for Republicans to assume that Democrats’ stumbles will result automatically in GOP success.

Should Republicans and conservatives fail to unite, the result will be more years of liberal Democrats in public office.

As Republicans, it is our challenge and responsibility to present proven leaders with effective ideas to the voters. Politically, our candidates must be able to bring together Republican Party loyalists and conservatives, as well as making progress among youth, women, and minorities.

We have a great deal of enthusiasm. However, should Republicans and conservatives fail to unite, the result will be more years of liberal Democrats in public office who generally seek to use government as a means to re-engineer society, as well as to collect and to redistribute wealth. Should we fail to unite, we will be standing by and watching it all happen.

We are fortunate to have talented and capable candidates running for the Republican nominations for Senate and Governor this year. I believe that Ohio Republicans can present one of the most formidable tickets in the nation by nominating Rob Portman for Senate and John Kasich for Governor. I was fortunate to serve with both of them in the U.S. House of Representatives. John and Rob have energy as well as years of experience, policy expertise as well as common sense.

As one of the best budgeteers in Congress during his tenure, John Kasich has what it takes to effectively tackle Ohio’s economic and financial problems as governor. He also knows the workings of business and the media and is one of the most energetic and committed people you will ever meet.

Similarly, I can’t think of anyone better suited to represent Ohio in the U.S. Senate than Rob Portman. Rob’s deep knowledge about budgeting and international trade, as well as his abilities to think strategically and to connect with voters, will make a dynamic contribution to Ohio’s recovery and prosperity.

We are fortunate to have these two intelligent and respected leaders running as Republicans. We should nominate Portman and Kasich and do everything possible to ensure their election in November of 2010.

Certainly, Buckeye football transcends politics for Ohioans. But perhaps the Buckeyes won’t mind if we borrow some inspiration and a page from Coach Tressel’s Rose Bowl playbook: with talent, unity, drive, intelligence, and hard work, the Buckeyes got up from numerous defeats and won. We can too.

Michael G. Oxley is Of Counsel at Baker Hostetler, Washington, D.C. He represented Ohio’s Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for more than 25 years and was a Member of Ohio’s General Assembly for nine years.