The Ripon Forum

Volume 49, No. 1

February 2015

The Ripon Forum: The First 50 Years

By on February 16, 2015

“In publishing this magazine, The Ripon Society seeks to provide a forum for fresh ideas, well-researched proposals, and for a spirit of criticism, innovation, and independent thinking within the Republican Party.” — ON OUR MASTHEAD SINCE 1965


The first edition of THE RIPON FORUM was published 50 years ago this past January. To mark the occasion, we thought it would be a good time to look back over the last half-century at some of the individuals and ideas that have been featured in our pages.

Nixon campaigning in Detroit - circa 1968It’s an impressive list. In May 1968, Richard Nixon wrote an essay for the FORUM in which he talked about the importance of job creation and called for the establishment of an online job bank 30 years before “I propose that we use existing computer technology to match the unemployed with available jobs,” the then-Presidential candidate presciently wrote.

Thirty-two years later, one of Nixon’s successors in the Oval Office gave an interview to the FORUM in which he foresaw one of the main global security challenges facing the U.S. today. “Third World radicalism remains a serious problem,” President George H.W. Bush said in September 1990. “The Middle East promises to be a region of turmoil in the coming decade. The West needs to defend its interests and values against aggression; it needs to stand by its friends in the region who are resisting such forces.”

Presidents aren’t the only leaders who have been featured in our pages over the years. The FORUM has also featured leaders from other fields as well. In October 1985, for example, the FORUM published an interview with legendary energy executive T. Boone Pickens in which he not only shared his secrets for success in business, but explained why he believed that government should be run like a business, too. “Taxpayers are like stockholders,” the oilman told our journal. “Both are entitled to a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. For a dollar spent, taxpayers ought to receive a dollar back in value.”

In addition to business leaders, the FORUM has also featured leaders from the world of news and entertainment. In our December 2007 edition, journalist Dan Rather lamented the state of the news media and how round-the-clock coverage has distorted America’s political process. “The non-stop news cycle creates its own dynamic,” the controversial former CBS anchor wrote, “one that amplifies the effects of cheap news and news done on the cheap. The quick and easy ‘stories’ not only serve as a sorry substitute for more substantial news; they also, through the repetition and elaboration of the 24-hour news media machine, lend our political debates and campaigns an atmosphere of superficiality and lowest-common-denominator characterizations more befitting a schoolyard than the democratic deliberations of the world’s sole economic and military superpower.”

chuck-norris-600Besides Dan Rather discussing what is wrong with today’s modern media, the December 2007 edition of the FORUM also featured Chuck Norris writing about why he is a member of the GOP. “There are several reasons why I am Republican,” the Hollywood action star wrote. “First and foremost, I believe it is people — not government — that are granted power by God to make a difference in the world. As such, we should seek in society to maximize the role of people and minimize the role of government. As the Declaration of Independence declares, ‘governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed.’ Or as our Constitution begins, ‘We the people of the United States…’”

A partial list of the individuals and ideas that have been featured in THE RIPON FORUM since 1965 can be found on the website of The Ripon Society. Later this spring, the entire 50-year history of the FORUM will be digitized and made available online as well. There is a lot of history in those pages – history not only of the Republican Party, but also of America during some very turbulent times.

We look forward to making this content available to our readers, and encourage you to bookmark and enjoy the archives of THE RIPON FORUM when they are posted online.

Lou Zickar is the Editor of THE RIPON FORUM

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