Ripon Forum October- November 2006

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Reagan in Youngstown

October/November 2006 Volume 40, No. 5

A Time for Choosing The issues that matter this election, and why the choice is so important this year. Plus: Tom Feeney and Sarah Chamberlain Resnick debate the key to victory for Republicans this fall.

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“Ideas that matter, since 1965.“ Volume 40, No. 5, October/November 2006

Cover Story


A Time for Choosing – The Forum asked prominent Republicans to share their thoughts on the issues that matter this election, and why the choice is so important this year.



Keeping our Nation Secure By Newt Gingrich The path to victory begins with making the right choice.


Promoting Energy Independence By Senator Pete Domenici

Q&A With Landon Parvin The legendary GOP speechwriter talks about the importance of words in politics and why Republicans are facing such a challenge.


We must continue our efforts to increase production and develop alternative fuels.


The Key to Victory this Fall We must adhere to the principles on which our base was built. By Congressman Tom Feeney


The Key to Victory this Fall We can’t forget about Centrists and Independents. By Sarah Chamberlain Resnick


Strengthening Health Care By Tommy Thompson Reforming Medicaid must be a priority next year.


Improving Education By Congressman Mike Castle A track record of success and a desire to do more.


Protecting the Environment By Christine Todd Whitman


We must stay true to the heritage of Theodore Roosevelt.


A Note from the Chairman Emeritus


Ripon Profile Congressman Eric Cantor




Keeping Taxes Low By Jennifer Dunn Let’s not turn back the clock on progress that’s been made.


Reagan in Youngstown By William C. Binning

Limiting Spending By John Kasich We’ve done it before; we can – and must – do it again.

Publisher The Ripon Society

Editor Louis M. Zickar

President Richard S. Kessler

Associate Editor Molly J. Milliken

Chief Administrative Officer George McNeill Editorial Board William Frenzel William Meub

© Copyright 2006 By The Ripon Society All Rights Reserved

One Year Subscription: $35.00 individuals $10.00 students The Ripon Forum (ISSN 0035-5526) is published bi-monthly by The Ripon Society. The Ripon Society is located at 1300 L Street, NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20005. Postmaster, send address changes to: The Ripon Forum, 1300 L Street, NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20005.

RIPON FORUM October/November 2006

Comments, opinion editorials and letters should be addressed to: The Ripon Forum, 1300 L Street, NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20005 or may be transmitted electronically to: 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.

Quality Care. Quality Living. Quality First. 2.8 million baby boomers are turning 60 this year. Now more than ever, it’s important to protect the future of quality long term care for ourselves and our loved ones. The American Health Care Association is committed to serving as a force for change within the long term care field, providing information, education, and administrative tools that enhance quality at every level.

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) is a non-profit federation of affiliated state health organizations, together representing more than 10,000 non-profit and for-profit assisted living, nursing facility, developmentallydisabled, and subacute care providers that care for more than 1.5 million elderly and disabled individuals nationally.

THE RIPON SOCIETY HONORARY CONGRESSIONAL ADVISORY BOARD Senator Chuck Hagel (NE) Senate Chairman Representative Nancy L. Johnson (CT) House Chairwoman Senator Richard Burr (NC) Senator Lincoln D. Chafee (RI) Senator Norm Coleman (MN) Senator Susan M. Collins (ME) Senator Judd Gregg (NH) Senator Orrin G. Hatch (UT) Senator Pat Roberts (KS) Senator Gordon Smith (OR) Senator Olympia J. Snowe (ME) Senator Arlen Specter (PA) Senator Ted Stevens (AK) Representative Judy Biggert (IL) Representative Roy Blunt (MO) Representative Sherwood Boehlert (NY) Representative Henry Bonilla (TX) Representative Ken Calvert (CA) Representative Dave Camp (MI) Representative Eric I. Cantor (VA) Representative Michael Castle (DE) Representative Howard Coble (NC) Representative Ander Crenshaw (FL) Representative Thomas M. Davis III (VA) Representative Vernon Ehlers (MI) Representative Jo Ann H. Emerson (MO) Representative Philip S. English (PA) Representative Mike Ferguson (NJ) Representative Vito Fossella (NY) Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ) Representative Paul E. Gillmor (OH) Representative Kay Granger (TX) Representative Melissa A. Hart (PA) Representative Robin Hayes (NC) Representative David Hobson (OH) Representative Sue W. Kelly (NY) Representative Jim Kolbe (AZ) Representative Ray H. LaHood (IL) Representative Steven LaTourette (OH) Representative Jim Leach (IA) Representative Jerry Lewis (CA) Representative Jim McCrery (LA) Representative Michael G. Oxley (OH) Representative Thomas E. Petri (WI) Representative Deborah Pryce (OH) Representative Adam Putnam (FL) Representative Jim Ramstad (MN) Representative Ralph Regula (OH) Representative Joe Schwarz (MI) Representative E. Clay Shaw Jr. (FL) Representative Christopher Shays (CT) Representative John E. Sweeney (NY) Representative William M. Thomas (CA) Representative Fred Upton (MI) Representative James T. Walsh (NY) Represenative Edward Whitfield (KY)

A Note from the Chairman Emeritus


n October 1964, Ronald Reagan delivered a televised speech to the nation called, “A Time for Choosing.” In it, Reagan stated his belief that “the issues confronting us cross party lines.” He discussed what those issues were, and then explained why the Republican Party, led by presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, would do a better job solving them. Of course, Goldwater tanked that year, and Republicans in Congress didn’t fare much better. But the speech launched Reagan’s political career. It also launched a revolution of new ideas that helped Reagan win the Presidency in 1980 and helped Republicans win control of Congress in 1994. As we approach the 2006 mid-term elections, some are saying that the Republican Party is out of ideas. And we know that, at times, the party in power is tempted to eschew good ideas for the sake of remaining in power. One of the goals of this issue is to provide Republicans with an opportunity to show that is not the case. On a range of topics from national security to taxes, we have asked prominent party leaders to discuss some of the key issues that matter this election. Our line-up reads like a who’s who of the GOP. We hope you enjoy it. We also hope you enjoy our other features in this issue, including a debate over one of the keys to victory for Republicans this fall, and a look back at how Ronald Reagan appealed to blue collar voters. We also discuss party politics with a prominent GOP speechwriter. Elections are indeed a time for choosing. This one is no different. We encourage all of our readers to study up on the issues and learn about the candidates. And most of all, we encourage you to vote. Bill Frenzel Chairman Emeritus Ripon Society

The Ripon Society is a research and policy organization located in Washington, D.C. There are National Associate members throughout the United States.

RIPON FORUM October/November 2006

Cover Story

Keeping our Nation Secure The path to victory begins with making the right choice. NEWT GINGRICH


his November, American voters will vote in the The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei third federal elections since the 9/11 attacks. Once has said: “The world of Islam has been mobilized against again, as in 2002 and 2004, we are having an important America for the past 25 years. The peoples call, ‘death national dialogue as to how we will win the war against to America.’ Who used to say ‘death to America?’ Who, our enemies and protect Americans from an increasingly besides the Islamic Republic and the Iranian people, used organized anti-American coalition of terrorists and to say this? Today, everyone says this.” dictators. In our own hemisphere, Venezuelan President Hugo In this dialogue, voters should first consider five big Chavez has called on Iran to “save the human race, let’s facts. finish off the U.S. empire.” First, the threat to our survival is mortal, direct Fourth, despite these unambiguous statements and immediate. In the age of nuclear and biological from our enemies, there is still great confusion among weapons, even a few determined hateful people can do our elites and in the news media. Changing this by more damage than Adolph Hitler did in the Second World getting agreement on the scale of the threat is vital to War. The loss of two or three American cities to nuclear the successful prosecution of the war. The key in this weapons is a real threat. The loss from a biological attack conflict – in military terms, the center would be even more devastating. of gravity – is the American people and, America is unavoidably Second, the threat is global in nature secondarily, all the free people of the and involves increasing cooperation engaged in an emerging world. among an emerging anti-American third world war, and Fifth, we have to confront the fact coalition. America is unavoidably any look at the active that while much has been accomplished engaged in an emerging third world players and the centers in the last five years, much more must war, and any look at the active players of violence indicates just be done if we are to win. Time is not and the centers of violence indicates on our side. We must confront the just how worldwide it is. North Korea how worldwide it is. reality that we are neither where we with its missile and nuclear weapons want to be nor where we need to be. program are potential assets for Iran, We have not captured Bin Laden. We have not defeated which is allied with Syria and subsequently Hezbollah the Taliban in its sanctuaries in Northwest Pakistan. We in Lebanon and Hamas, which operates not only in the have not stopped the recruitment of young fanatics into Middle East but also in South America. Iran also has terrorism. We have not stopped either the Iranian or ties with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Simply marking the North Korean nuclear programs. We do not have a on a map every place where there are acts of terrorism stable, democratic Pakistan capable of securing its own or dictatorships actively engaged in strengthening nuclear weapons. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is stable themselves for a possible future confrontation with the and secure. The United Nations is unreformed, and we United States unmistakably reveals just how worldwide have failed to convince the people of America and of our this threat is. fellow democracies of the correctness and necessity of Third, our enemies are increasingly confident. Their what we are doing. We have vastly more to do than we statements of their intention to defeat us are direct and have even begun to imagine. clear. Iranian Dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said, The evidence from even before 9/11 through today “To those who doubt, to those who ask is it possible, is that our enemies are vivid, direct, and unequivocal in or those who do not believe, I say accomplishment of a their desire to defeat us – even if they have to die to world without America and Israel is both possible and do so. If they were to acquire a biological or nuclear feasible.”

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of the Carter administration. They had just experienced weapon, they would not hesitate to use it in order to kill us in substantial numbers and shatter our freedom. We the first year of what Mark Bowden in Guests of the cannot afford to be confused. Our cities and our own Ayatollah called, “the first battle in America’s war with lives are at risk. militant Islam” – the seizure of the American embassy in Iran in November 1979. As the November election draws near, there are two factions of American politics that predominate. The In choosing to replace President Carter with former appeasement wing declares the war too hard and the movie actor and former California Governor Ronald world too dangerous. These defeatists try to find some Reagan, the American people embraced a clear vision explainable way to avoid reality while advocating a of victory. Famously asked by a reporter during the return to “normalcy” at home and promoting a policy of campaign about his vision of the Cold War, Reagan weakness and withdrawal abroad. answered with these four words: “We win - they lose.” A second faction argues our national security system Reagan’s personification of strength and courage, is doing the best it can and that we have to “stay the coupled with his ability to connect with the American course” – no matter how unproductive. people through his warmth and his wit, stood in stark contrast to Carter’s humorless acceptance of weakness With American survival at stake, Americans must abroad and lowering economic standards at home. The choose a path to victory that rejects as unthinkable voters heard Reagan loud the first group’s strategy of and clear, and so too did negotiated surrender and our enemies. On the day of rejects as insufficient the Reagan’s inauguration in second group’s unwillingness January of 1981, the 444-day to do whatever it takes to ordeal of the 52 American win. The path to victory hostages finally ended. requires that we are willing to reorganize everything as President Reagan, along needed in our national security with his allies, Margaret system. We are in a real war Thatcher and Pope John Paul in a lot of places, and all of our II, went on to implement national institutions need to a systematic plan using be in that war. This path will economic and political might require more entrepreneurship to defeat the Soviet Union and more speed as well as without going to war. A more resources and more few short years after Reagan accountability. left office, the Berlin Wall Civilizations rise and fall because of the A new war budget collapsed and the Soviet should be developed from Union was no more. decisions of their political leaders. In war time requirements rather Civilizations rise and fall the world’s democratic societies, these than peacetime constraints. because of the decisions of leaders are chosen by their voters, and it is Intelligence and the land their political leaders. In the ultimately their choice that matters. forces (Army and Marines) are world’s democratic societies, all underfunded. Those who these leaders are chosen by think we currently have a wartime budget simply have no their voters, and it is ultimately their choice that matters. notion of the scale of American war efforts historically. In the 2006 midterm election, the stakes for this choice We have a robust peacetime budget while trying to fight couldn’t be higher. three wars and contain four dictatorships. That is a risky We are in an emerging third world war. We must formula and makes victory much more difficult. choose leaders who will insist upon victory. We owe it But to do what is required, pro-victory leaders must to our children and grandchildren who deserve an even first understand Margaret Thatcher’s axiom that “first safer, freer and more prosperous American future. RF you win the argument, and then you win the vote.” In the end, it is only with the support of the American Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of people that political leaders can do what it takes in order Representatives, is a senior fellow at the American to protect us from these mortal threats. Enterprise Institute and the author of “Winning the America knows how to win; we have been in such Future: A 21st Century Contract with America” a situation before. In November of 1980, voters had (Regnery, 2005). had enough of the domestic and foreign policy failures RIPON FORUM October/November 2006

Promoting Energy Independence We must continue our efforts to increase domestic production and develop alternative sources of fuel. PETE V. DOMENICI


epublicans and Democrats have strong philosophical Senator Domenici and President Bush talk with Thomas Hunter of Sandia differences about energy. Conservation is the National Laboratory during a tour of the Lab’s National Solar Thermal Test lynchpin of every Democratic energy plan I have seen. Facility in August 2005. By contrast, Republicans match conservation with a push to increase energy production and employ innovation free market economics. If you want to lower the price and technology to create new energies. of a commodity in high demand, simply increase its I think these philosophical differences are crucial to supply. America’s energy future. In particular, these differences Right now, oil prices are the lowest they’ve been in could have a significant impact on the price consumers six months. Gasoline prices have dropped as much as 90 pay for energy and the effect these energy prices have on cents a gallon in some areas since mid-summer. Natural inflation and the economy. gas prices have dropped below $5 Last year, under Republican per Btu (British thermal unit), down If we want to keep our own leadership, Congress passed the energy prices from over-reacting from a high of $16 per Btu a year Energy Policy Act of 2005. I took and a half ago. every time something happens the lead in writing this bill and These days, energy is a getting it through the Senate. I overseas, we must increase our global commodity. If global oil worked to craft a bill that increased own production here at home. supplies tighten, we see the effect energy production where possible, immediately in the price of oil and particularly the production of clean energies like wind, a few days later in the price of gasoline. If we want to solar and nuclear energy. keep our own energy prices from over-reacting every My colleagues and I wrote an energy bill that took time something happens overseas, we must increase our our national energy conservation efforts to a new level. own production here at home. We raised the minimum standards for energy-efficient I couldn’t do as much as I wanted to in the energy products and provided new incentives to both businesses bill to increase our supply of oil and gas. So this year, and consumers, respectively, to manufacture and buy I passed a bill through the Senate that expands oil and products that require less energy. gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. My bill, the Gulf Finally, we wrote a bill that expanded America’s of Mexico Energy Security Act, would limit exploration investment in the research and development of new, clean to 100 miles off the coast of Florida and would bring energies we hope can one day replace our reliance on 1.2 billion barrels of oil to market along with 5.8 trillion foreign oil. We invested in research for advanced nuclear cubic feet of natural gas. That’s enough gas to heat and power, for coal-to-liquids technology that could one day cool nearly 6 million homes for 15 years. power jet airliners with synthetic fuel from American Interestingly, shortly after the Senate passed my coal, for cars powered by hydrogen and for electricity bill, Chevron announced that it had tapped into a vast from a coal gas that doesn’t pollute the air. oil reserve in the Gulf of Mexico that may be bigger This year, Senate Republicans have further than anything we have found in Alaska. This discovery responded to consumer concern over high oil and gas affirms my conviction that America can do much more prices by passing legislation in the Senate to expand our than it has been doing to meet its own energy needs. I own production of oil and gas. am currently working to get the Senate bill through the Why? Because supply is a fundamental principle of House.

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Republicans understand that expanded production nuclear reactors in the lower 48 states during the next 20 – environmentally sound production – is critical to years. This means enough clean and affordable electricity easing prices, keeping inflation in check and powering to power more than 17 million households without any our economy while we refine tomorrow’s energies. airborne emissions. We are unwavering in our commitment to the What Republicans are doing for nuclear power, ingenuity and innovation that will develop those new we are also doing for hydrogen technology, clean coal energies. For example, the energy bill made a tremendous technology and coal-to-liquids technology. Republicans investment in ethanol and other biofuels. The ethanol like competitive, bold and innovative ideas. It is at the provision of the energy bill alone will displace more heart of our free enterprise philosophy and our deep than two billion barrels of foreign oil over the next six pride in American ingenuity. years. President Bush’s We are at a critical Advanced Energy Initiative point in our energy future. expands our investment We are just beginning to into the refining of biofuels reap the benefits from the that may one day replace national energy policy gasoline. President Bush announced Nuclear energy six years ago and Congress illustrates the Republican codified last year. We commitment to innovation are midway through the and technology. I am work of building on those a passionate advocate successes. President of nuclear power and Bush earlier this year have been for almost 10 announced his Advanced years. First, it’s right for Energy Initiative, which the environment. It is builds on our commitment clean energy that holds to renewable fuels and tremendous promise for technology. I am working addressing climate change. with my Senate colleagues Second, nuclear energy is Nuclear power station in Cumbria, England. and House Republicans to one of our most affordable do what we can to further and reliable energies. stabilize the price of oil, ...for 30 years, America has been slow Right now, electricity natural gas and gasoline to recognize the value of nuclear power. from nuclear power is the in the near term while our second cheapest source of long term investments in While we have stalled, other developed and electricity in America. Only conservation, technology developing nations have forged ahead with hydropower is cheaper. and renewable energies advanced nuclear reactors that are smaller, pay off. Now is not the But for 30 years, safer and produce more energy than time to waiver or change America has been slow anything we have here in America. our course. to recognize the value of nuclear power. While we The Republican have stalled, other developed and developing nations record on energy is a strong one and one that will look have forged ahead with advanced nuclear reactors that even stronger in the future as the effects of what we are smaller, safer and produce more energy than anything are doing now are felt. It is essential that Republicans we have here in America. By 2020, China plans to build remain in the majority if we want to keep working as many as 32 nuclear reactors. That is in addition to the to strengthen America’s energy security. RF 10 already in use or under construction. President Bush also recognizes the tremendous Pete V. Domenici represents New Mexico in the United promise nuclear power holds for this nation. In 2000, he States Senate. He serves as Chairman of the Committee included the expansion of nuclear power in his national on Energy and Natural Resources. energy plan. Today, because of the combined efforts of a Republican Administration and a Republican Congress, utilities have announced plans to build as many as 30 RIPON FORUM October/November 2006

Strengthening Health Care

Reforming Medicaid must be a priority next year. TOMMY G. THOMPSON


here is a fundamental health care question that every candidate for office, whether at the state or federal level, should answer this fall: How are we going to address growing Medicaid challenges that threaten state budgets and increasingly leaves gaps in care for vulnerable families? Medicaid, the health care program that treats 53 million Americans, is in need of fundamental and comprehensive reform to ensure that it meets the very different needs of very different populations it serves, including poor and uninsured children, people with disabilities and the elderly. Medicaid has not been significantly updated since its creation in the mid-1960s. Like many relics of that era, Medicaid has become increasingly inefficient, prone to fraud and abuse, and out of step with advancements in modern health care. Past attempts at reform have been mostly ineffective, largely due to lack of political will and entrenched interest groups. There simply hasn’t been the commitment to trying new and better ways of administering the program as a whole. Therefore, too many efforts have forced cashstrapped states to limit services without improving care. The financial challenge is real. Simply saying “spend more money” isn’t going to get it done. Medicaid will cost taxpayers nearly $5 trillion over the next 10 years. That is why we have a vested interest in making sure this program is as strong as possible. Already, Medicaid exceeds more than 20 percent of state appropriations in half of the states, and those numbers will only grow in the coming decade – forcing governors and state legislatures to raise taxes, reduce benefits or make painful choices about limiting other state services to pay for Medicaid. This summer, I convened summits nationwide with Medicaid experts, health advocates and government leaders to develop a roadmap for the future of the Medicaid program. Those efforts have led to a report entitled, Medicaid Makeover: Four Challenges and Potential Solutions on the Road to Reform. The report lays out the four central problems plaguing Medicaid and what policymakers must do to confront these challenges:

First, Medicaid does not adequately meet the health care needs of the diverse populations served by the program. We must realign responsibility for Medicaid so that the federal government assumes a larger role in planning, delivering and paying for services for the elderly while allowing the states to take on greater responsibility for those under 65. Second, Payment structures and technologies are outdated. States must be encouraged to recognize and reward high-quality care and improved outcomes and to deploy health information technologies. How badly is advanced health IT needed in health care? In August, the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) issued a report that found that at least 1.5 million Americans are sickened, injured or killed each year by medication errors. In other words, the wrong patients are getting the wrong drugs in the wrong dosages at the wrong time. The IOM estimates the extra expense for treating illnesses caused by medication errors to be at least $3.5 billion. Medicaid programs can be leaders in this field. Third, Medicaid must do more to address the problem of the uninsured. States must be encouraged to expand Medicaid coverage to lessen the strain on our health care safety net. Fourth, Medicaid does not efficiently encourage individuals to play an active role. We must identify and overcome barriers so individuals can take control of their own health. To expand on this last point, Medicaid Makeover calls for shifting emphasis from treating sickness to managing wellness. Individuals should be empowered to take charge of their own health – an absolutely necessary component of any health reforms In Medicaid and through the health care system, the first and best way to reduce health care costs – and

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improve people’s health – is to keep them from getting sick in the first place. As a matter of economic, health and personal policy, we must do all that we can to promote the cause of prevention – living healthier lifestyles by eating right, exercising more and stopping smoking. What does this mean for the health care system? Just look at the facts: •

Obesity costs the American economy $117 billion a year.

About 75 percent of our health care dollars are spent treating chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. And $75 billion of that treats obesity alone.

These chronic illnesses – many of which can be prevented by healthy lifestyles – cause seven out of every 10 deaths.

painfully outmoded and instead figure what works best in 2006 and beyond. We must identify the best way to bring quality health care to those in need and not hide behind an antiquated system. Innovation needs to be encouraged and more importantly rewarded. When I was governor of Wisconsin and overhauled an outmoded welfare system, many told me it couldn’t be done. I didn’t listen to them. Instead, I listened to welfare mothers and found out how In Medicaid and through government could help them get back to the health care system, work. With the help of many others, we achieved our goal. the first and best way I am confident that we can succeed to reduce health care again with making over Medicaid – if costs – and improve Governors, Members of Congress and people’s health – is to state lawmakers make it a priority this keep them from getting election season and throughout their terms in office. RF sick in the first place.

These preventive health issues – as well as the other three noted earlier – are severely impacting Medicaid. Addressing these fundamental challenges is key to redesigning Medicaid. We also must stop looking at the old model that worked in 1965 but is now clearly and

Tommy G. Thompson served as Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001-2005. Previously, he served as Governor of Wisconsin from 1987-2001. He is currently a partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld LLC.

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Improving Education A track record of success and a desire to do more. MICHAEL N. CASTLE


s voters prepare for the 2006 election, there are many solutions to a variety of concerns being presented by candidates – gas prices, the war in Iraq, national security, and immigration to name only a few. While all significant, we must also remember the importance of education, not only as a primary issue for voters, but also as something worth being extremely proud of. Education spans our whole lives, and, in many respects, our state and local governments are best suited to determine the details of how our students are educated. That being said, the federal government plays Congressman Castle visits a classroom at a Delaware school. a significant role in setting the bar and providing the framework. gains in both reading and math since enactment of We first must look to our recent successes in NCLB. Further, urban school officials credit NCLB education before looking to what needs to be done going with helping teachers and school officials raise student forward. One of the biggest of these successes is the No achievement. “Our most recent report attempted to Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Over 50 years ago, the answer the question, ‘Have urban schools improved country embraced Brown v. Board of Education, which student achievement since No Child found the doctrine of “separate but equal” Left Behind was enacted?’ The answer unconstitutional, thus guaranteeing every appears to be ‘yes,’” stated Dr. Michael American student a seat in the classroom. The federal government Casserly, executive director of the While progress has been made since the has spent more than $300 Council of the Great City Schools. Brown decision, a huge gap still remains billion on K-12 education Under Republican control, we have when it comes to ensuring all children coupled these effective reforms with actually learn. The federal government since 1965, yet significant increased funding. Since Republicans has spent more than $300 billion on K- academic achievement gaps took control of the House in 1995, 12 education since 1965, yet significant between disadvantaged federal education funding has increased academic achievement gaps between students and their more by nearly 150 percent from $23 billion disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers still exist in in FY 1996 to $57 billion in FY 2006. affluent peers still exist in key subjects key subjects such as reading Title I aid for disadvantaged students, such as reading and math. the cornerstone of NCLB, has increased and math. On January 8, 2002, the NCLB was by 45 percent since NCLB was signed signed into law with strong bipartisan into law. cooperation. This law seeks to close this gap, and is While NCLB is awarded most attention, we must rooted in the belief that all students – regardless of race, also recognize other education accomplishments over background, income, geography, or disability – can learn, the past several years. These accomplishments highlight and must be given the chance to do so. For the past four the breadth of education over a lifetime, with each piece years, the federal government, states, school districts, complimenting the next. The Republican Congress parents and especially students have been dedicated to has sent expansive reforms to the Individuals with reforms that ensure no child is limited. And the progress Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Carl D. Perkins that was intended when the law was enacted is being Vocational and Technical Education Programs for the made. President to sign into law. According to a report by the Council of the Great Since enactment in 1975, IDEA has paved the way City Schools, our nation’s urban schools have made 10

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for millions of students with disabilities to be awarded We clearly have a track record of success. We now the rights they deserve within a school. This has lead need the opportunity to continue this reform effort in to record numbers of students completing school and improving our other education programs, such as Higher ultimately enrolling in an institution of higher learning. In Education, Head Start, American Competitiveness and 2004, we built upon past successes to ensure that children Workforce Investment and the reauthorization of No with disabilities are guaranteed a quality education based Child Left Behind. on high academic standards, as well as to Every man, woman and child strengthen IDEA’s focus on the educational deserves the right to succeed. And when results of students with disabilities I believe strongly that they are armed with a quality education, We have also enacted reforms to the reforms we passed their chances improve dramatically. The strengthen career and technical education, go a long way in driving Republican Party remains committed to to ensure students have the skills necessary improving our schools, attracting and program improvement retaining highly qualified teachers and to enter the workforce or continue to an and ultimate success institution of higher learning. Vocational encouraging parental involvement. These for students across the children are our nation’s future, and we or career education plays a vital role in our educational system by working to are depending on them. RF country. prepare youth and adults for the future by building their academic and technical Michael N. Castle represents the State skills in preparation for postsecondary education and/ of Delaware in the U.S. House of Representatives. He or employment. I believe strongly that the reforms we serves as Chairman of the House Education Reform passed go a long way in driving program improvement Subcommittee. and ultimate success for students across the country.

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Protecting the Environment We must stay true to the heritage of Theodore Roosevelt.



ith the 2006 midterm elections rapidly overlooked issue in American politics. From global approaching, voters are starting to direct their warming to carbon emissions, there is so much at stake. attention to the candidates and the issues that matter The choices we make on Election Day will have a lasting to them. Political pundits, meanwhile, are trying to impact on the environment we pass down to our children assign the midterm elections an overarching, political and grandchildren. meaning – often by framing individual races in terms For too many years, elected officials have ignored of global issues. We have seen candidates and pundits our environment as if it was an issue that would simply alike say that the 2006 elections are about international go away. Global warming signs were ignored, and our terrorism, domestic security, dependence on foreign oil has or fiscal policy. These issues continued. The time to make are all important, and I hope an impact on these vital matters that voters carefully consider is now. which candidates best Electing leaders who represent their views on these care passionately about key topics. the environment makes a Yet these are not the only tremendous impact on the issues facing our nation, and globe. As Administrator of with the recent evidence about the Environmental Protection global warming, rising gas Agency, I worked each day prices, and our reliance on with both Republicans and foreign oil, we must evaluate Democrats, who put aside candidates’ positions on the politics in order to focus environment if we are to on the important issues elect the right leaders. As the surrounding our natural former Administrator of the world. The importance of Environmental Protection protecting our environment for Agency and a life-long future generations transcends conservationist, I encourage President Theodore Roosevelt was one of political affiliations and goes voters to take a careful look at the original conservationists. As a party, to the very heart of Americans the candidates’ environmental who strive to be good stewards we are witnessing a return to our roots, positions and records. of the land, air and water. and a renewed focus on protecting our While there will always Many people forget that natural resources. be important issues that divide the Republican Party has long Americans, in a March 2006 been rooted in environmental Stanford survey, 86 percent of Americans, including protection. President Theodore Roosevelt was one similar percentages of Republicans and Democrats, want of the original conservationists. As a party, we are the federal government to do “a great deal” to improve witnessing a return to our roots, and a renewed focus the health of the environment over the next year. In this on protecting our natural resources. This is vital, not spirit, the voters should evaluate candidates based on only for our environment, but also for our party. The how they would work towards accomplishing common Republican Party’s unique, incentive-based approach to sense environmental solutions. problems can provide the forward-looking solutions that The environment is a crucially important yet often this country needs. 12

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With gasoline prices at record highs, Americans have a renewed interest in the development of more fuelefficient cars. The majority of American voters would like to see auto manufacturers create cars that use less fuel and produce less pollution. As such, the tax credits for hybrid cars, recently signed into law by President Bush, received strong support in the Congress. The policy was so forward-looking and logical that it even received the enthusiastic support of the environmental lobby and the auto industry. Similarly, representatives of both parties have shown support for increased production of renewable fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, and biomass fuels. Domestic production of these renewable fuels is not only good for the environment, but also promotes rural economic development and may lessen the international trade gap. American innovation, in this case to improve the environment and stimulate economic growth, can always count on Republican support. One of the common sense solutions that I have advocated is greater use of nuclear energy. Nuclear power is environmentally friendly, affordable, clean, dependable and safe. The reality is clear: we have no choice but to find alternative energy sources. Our addiction to fossil fuels is doing damage to the environment each day and crippling our economy with rising energy prices. None of our efforts to reduce gas emissions will have as great a positive impact on our environment as will increasing

our ability to generate electricity from nuclear power. Finally, the revitalization of brownfields has been an issue that affects citizens of red states and blue states alike. Leaders must realize that to clean up abandoned, industrial properties is to give our children more space to play and learn. I was particularly impressed by Congress’s ability to work cooperatively as they did in 2001 to create landmark legislation to clean up brownfield sites across the country. The broad, bipartisan majorities that passed the legislation were testament to the issue’s salience and the solution’s common-sense approach. These issues are only an example of the many issues on which willing public officials can find common ground, work together, and create solutions that work. Solving these problems will require leaders who are willing to make the effort to understand these issues and work with other officials to create innovative solutions. So much is at stake for our environment this November, and real solutions are within reach. If the voters support candidates who understand the importance of protecting our environment, we will be closer to reaching these goals. RF Christine Todd Whitman served as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from January of 2001 until June of 2003. She previously served as the 50th, and first woman, Governor of New Jersey.

Ideas that matter, since 1965.

RIPON FORUM October/November 2006



Keeping Taxes Low Let’s not turn back the clock on progress that’s been made. JENNIFER DUNN


his year’s mid-term elections are already taking on an aura approaching that of a Presidential election. Typically, mid-terms are marked by low voter turn-out and modest losses for the party of the incumbent President. But these are not typical times. With control of both Congresswoman Dunn (r) at a 2001 White House ceremony at which houses of Congress up for grabs, November’s elections President Bush signed into law a bill that lowered U.S. income taxes are generating an unusual amount of interest – not only across the board. among the two parties’ activist bases, but among the American people in general. standards, and helped us to recover from a recession, And well they should. For, in terms of keeping our inflated stock prices, corporate scandals, environmental economy prosperous and productive, the stakes couldn’t disasters and an unprecedented terrorist attack on our be higher. The result of these elections will determine nation. whether our nation continues to pursue sound and proven Therefore, it falls to Republican candidates, policies that promote economic growth and job creation, challengers and incumbents alike, to run on a platform or whether we revert to the kind of crushing taxation that of keeping taxes low, and to remind voters of the positive frustrates the entrepreneurial spirit and further burdens effects that have resulted from the tax relief for individuals working families. and small businesses enacted every In the 2002 mid-terms, when year since the Republicans took over The result of these elections security concerns were uppermost control in Congress in 1994. will determine whether our in the public consciousness one year With a new Republican after 9/11, Republicans bucked the nation continues to pursue Administration joining forces with historical trend and increased their sound and proven policies that a Republican Congress after the Congressional majority. I believe that promote economic growth and 2000 elections, we got to work on the strength and resolve that the Bush fixing a federal tax code that was job creation, or whether we Administration and Congressional plainly dysfunctional and needlessly revert to the kind of crushing complex, one that punished hard work Republicans have demonstrated in the taxation that frustrates the war on terrorism these past five years and thrift, discouraged savings and will continue to be a defining theme of entrepreneurial spirit and investment, hindered the international the 2006 elections and will ultimately competitiveness of our companies, further burdens working help our party to maintain control of and perversely encouraged abusive families. the House and the Senate. tax avoidance schemes. As a I am concerned, however, about member of the House Ways and the enormous implications that November’s outcome Means Committee, I was proud to play a role in passing will have on our tax and fiscal policies. Naturally, the the most sweeping program of tax relief and reform in Democrats will try to obscure their intentions in this area. a generation. Among other achievements, we lowered If they were up-front about their tax-and-spend agenda, individual rates for all Americans who pay income taxes, voters would be driven into the arms of Republicans by doubled the child tax credit, reduced the marriage penalty, the millions. Furthermore, I don’t believe we can count and phased out the death tax that penalizes family-owned on the mainstream media to provide a complete and small businesses and farms. accurate description of how the low-tax policies pursued We built on the reforms of 2001 by passing the by a Republican Congress and Administration have Jobs and Growth Act of 2003, reducing the tax rates on generated impressive and sustained economic gains, kept capital gains and dividend income to encourage saving unemployment comparatively low by recent historical and investment. This law quadrupled small business 14

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expensing to allow entrepreneurs to deduct the first At the same time, Republicans must stand for restraining spending by the Federal Government. Since $100,000 of investment from their taxes. the Reagan era, we have seen that the enhanced economic Given our successful record, Republicans need activity and job creation resulting from lower taxes on to emphasize the importance of making this tax relief businesses ultimately brings in more revenues for the permanent, so that individuals and businesses can plan government. But conservatives must make the case that for the future with predictability and confidence. Lest we fiscal responsibility transcends the narrow goal of keeping forget, all the tax relief enacted over the past five years, the federal coffers full. including the relief for small businesses and families, as Tax relief and spending are not of the same value. well as the phasing out of the death tax, is scheduled to Certain green eyeshade, zero-sum analyses have created expire over the coming years – unless Congress acts to the mistaken impression that cutting taxes and increasing make these cuts permanent. As Senate Majority Leader spending have an equal effect on the federal budget Bill Frist recently pointed out, taxes for a family of four and the larger economy, but they with an income of $64,000 will go do not. Tax cuts allow families and up 58 percent if those tax cuts are business owners to keep more of not made permanent. their money. New spending results Since Democrats will in the government’s controlling undoubtedly try to say Republicans an increasingly large share of the are in favor of hurting senior citizens economy. Conservatives must and working families, Republicans continuously rebut the arguments must point out that seven million about the “cost” of tax cuts by seniors who rely on dividend demonstrating the true costs of ever income are benefiting from the tax higher taxes and spending. And relief we provided, while the overall Republican candidates must engage tax burden on working Americans is the voters in a discussion of how the lowest it has been in nearly 40 to limit spending and the growth of years. And, faced with Democrats’ government through such concrete attempts to frame the issue in terms measures as a cap on discretionary of class warfare and “tax breaks spending, a line-item veto on new for the rich,” Republicans must appropriations and mandatory consistently and firmly explain that spending, procedural changes in raising taxes on business owners and Lest we forget, all the tax relief Congress, such as a requirement for investors will hurt economic growth enacted over the past five years, a super-majority of 60 percent to and job creation, with middle class including the relief for small raise taxes, and creation of a “Sunset Americans suffering in the long run. businesses and families, as well Commission” to recommend to But it is not enough simply as the phasing out of the death Congress which programs could to call for continuity of effective be consolidated, restructured or Republican policies and demonstrate tax, is scheduled to expire the deleterious effects that the over the coming years – unless eliminated outright with a focus on producing tangible results instead of Democrats’ inevitable tax hikes Congress acts to make perpetuating bureaucracies. will create, as important as those these cuts permanent. November 7 is indeed a time for messages are. Republicans must choosing. In the weeks leading up offer the voters a forward-looking to that day, Republicans can confound the pundits and agenda that builds on our past successes. Reforming the the pollsters by reminding voters of what our low-tax tax code must be one of the key points in this autumn’s agenda has accomplished, the benefits that this governing national debate. The taxpayers deserve, and our future philosophy will continue to provide, and the danger of economic prosperity demands, a simpler, fairer, more reverting to the tax-and-spend policies that our opponents pro-growth system that rewards hard work and promotes will inevitably pursue if they gain control of Congress. R F greater ownership. Our tax policies should do more to encourage charitable giving by individuals and private Jennifer Dunn is a former Representative from organizations, whose generosity has shown America a Washington and served on the House Ways and Means good nation as well as a great one. We must continue to Committee and in House Leadership. She is currently offer incentives for Americans to increase their savings with the international law firm of DLA Piper. and investment in private markets to build assets for retirement and life’s other needs. RIPON FORUM October/November 2006


Limiting Spending We’ve done it before; we can – and must – do it again. JOHN KASICH


rowing up in Pennsylvania, in a blue-collar family in a blue-collar town, I learned some valuable lessons as a kid; lessons like being accountable for your actions, having respect and compassion for others, and the future, and ushered in an era of explosive economic understanding the value of hard work and character. growth. Our policies worked, and we were successful because those policies flowed from our common sense, I carried these values with me to Washington, and limited government principles. they matter as much today as they did when I became chairman of the House Budget Committee in 1995. But times and priorities have changed. War, terrorism, gas prices and immigration have all but saturated the Back then we, as Republicans, understood the news, and it’s obvious that voters are frustrated with the significance of the opportunity we had been given, and we current political environment. These issues are important, put forward, for ourselves and the country, a set of core but have caused so much partisan bickering that they’ve principles to guide our efforts. These were common sense become a distraction. I can’t help but think our leaders ideas rooted in the notion that Washington should have are too busy painting the walls to notice the cracks in the less power and individuals, families and communities foundation of the nation’s economy. should have more. Where is the discussion on First, we sought to limit the issues of fiscal responsibility size and scope of government, Yes, many Republicans have lost like restraining government pruning government to keep their way, resigned to the idea spending, reducing it from growing in distorted that deficit spending isn’t all that bureaucracies, controlling a ways. Second, we honored the ballooning debt, and addressing fundamental American value bad and big government isn’t that big the economic impact of the that you shouldn’t spend more a deal. But whatever problems the retiring baby boom generation? than you take in. Finally, we Republicans have in this election year As these issues continue to committed to do everything don’t compare to the complete lack go unchecked, their solutions possible to keep from passing of vision by the Democrats. become more difficult to more debt on to our children achieve. and future generations. Despite cutting tax rates We agreed that these core in 2003, which helped the economy grow and increased values were worth sacrificing our political futures for. Our revenues, Washington’s fiscal house is not in order. When commitment was so strong that we forced a government I left Congress in 2001, the budget was balanced, $453 shutdown in 1995 to prevent another phony economic billion of debt had been paid down, and there were future plan from being put into place. surpluses of $5.6 trillion that could be used to save Social Eventually we forged a bipartisan coalition of Security and Medicare. Now, however, the deficit sits leaders in Congress who set aside their differences and at $260 billion and is projected to reach $328 billion by stood for something. We balanced the first budget since 2010. Yet the spending continues. Government spending man walked on the moon. We reformed the welfare is likely to increase by 7.7 percent this year, outpacing system, which is still being heralded as a success. We economic growth. eliminated government agencies. We limited the growth of The simple truth is that there is a lack of political will government spending, including in entitlement programs. to curtail the growth of government spending, particularly With the help of capital gains tax cuts and lower interest the wasteful government spending stemming from many rates, we generated government budget surpluses well into 16

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CHEVRON is a registered trademark of Chevron Corporation. The CHEVRON HALLMARK is a trademark of Chevron Corporation. © 2006 Chevron Corporation. All rights reserved.

lawmakers’ pet earmarked projects. Congress and the Administration must answer the fundamental question of what should government do. Government should help people who can’t help themselves, and we need government to protect our borders, build roads, fight wars, and be there when natural disasters wreak havoc on people’s lives. But government can’t be all things to all people. Our leaders must systematically identify the things that the federal government is doing that don’t work and turn them over to the private sector. They must also identify the things the federal government is doing, but shouldn’t be, and turn those responsibilities over to the state and local governments. They must stand up to special interests, inside and outside of Washington, and be willing to make political enemies for the greater good of the country’s economic health. Finally, they must look forward to the fiscal tsunami about to overtake the budget as the baby boom generation retires, finding innovative solutions for reform in health care, Medicare, and Social Security. Yes, many Republicans have lost their way, resigned to the idea that deficit spending isn’t all that bad and big government isn’t that big a deal. But whatever problems the Republicans have in this election year don’t compare

to the complete lack of vision by the Democrats. Where is their plan? Where is their alternative? They continue to offer little in the way of solutions other than raising taxes and shrill political partisanship. My question is – where does this leave the country? People ask me all the time if I’m disheartened and disillusioned. They want to know how I feel about having all the hard work the Budget Committee team and Republicans did back in the 1990’s washed away. My answer is simple. While our work has largely been undone, the model we established still stands. The problems we faced back then are essentially the same problems we still face now. At the end of the day, our approach of standing on principle and reaching across the aisle is our lasting legacy. And I believe this approach can still work today. RF John Kasich is a former Representative from Ohio and served as Chairman of the House Budget Committee. He currently hosts “The Heartland with John Kasich” on FOX News Channel. He also serves as managing director at Lehman Brothers in the Investment Banking Division.

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With Landon Parvin


andon Parvin is a ghostwriter for political and corporate leaders. He has written for three U.S. presidents, three first ladies and four foreign prime ministers, in addition to governors, senators, cabinet officers and other public figures. Parvin served as a writer for both Ronald and Nancy Reagan during the Reagan Administration. In 1984, he left the White House and moved to London to serve as the Executive Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s. Upon returning from London, Parvin Landon Parvin with President Reagan in the Oval Office in 1983. (Credit: Ronald Reagan Library) became an independent writer. clichés with no intellectual or emotional content. You He helped Ronald Reagan, after leaving office, put together his book of speeches called Speaking can see the true power of words, however, when someone My Mind. He co-produced the documentary film, articulates an unarticulated truth, such as when Reagan Carnuaba: A Son’s Memoir, in which a son retraces called upon Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” It was his father’s 1935 expedition to Brazil and discovers so obvious but no president had ever said it. The logic of himself. In 2003, Parvin spent two its truth was unassailable. months in California working with My ironclad rule of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his RF: Republicans have been struggling in speechwriting, which successful bid for governor. He is also the polls this entire year. Is that because is based on painful widely recognized for the jokes and they’ve been using the wrong words to experience, is that the humorous skits that he has written sell their product, or because they are speechwriter is the first to and developed over the years for trying to sell a product the public no know when a campaign longer wants to buy? political leaders.

has nothing to say because

Parvin received his bachelor’s he is the one who has to Parvin: It’s because they don’t have degree from the University of Illinois, put it down on paper. a product. When the Contract with where he graduated with high honors, America passed, I helped Newt Gingrich and then a master’s degree from with the only prime time address to the Cornell University. He lives in Fredericksburg, nation that a Speaker of the House had ever given. The Virginia, with his wife, Alice, and son, Maxwell. networks put extra lights on the Capitol that night. I remember there was such excitement in the air. Where RF: Why do words still matter in politics at a time when is the excitement of Republican ideas today? My pictures and images seem to count for so much? ironclad rule of speechwriting, which is based on painful Parvin: Well, words still matter if they mean something. experience, is that the speechwriter is the first to know Unfortunately, political speeches are too often empty when a campaign has nothing to say because he is the 18

RIPON FORUM October/November 2006

one who has to put it down on paper. I think that’s why we are struggling. RF: Ronald Reagan defined modern conservatism, and yet he won the support of many Democrats who had never voted for a Republican before. How did he do this and what lessons does it hold for Republicans today?

RF: Finally, you are known for not only having a way with words, but for having a way with humor. What is the secret of a good political joke, and why do you think there seems to be so little humor in politics these days?

Parvin: The secret of a good political joke is that it is based on the vulnerability and humanity of the politician. The reason for the dearth of political humor is due to Parvin: Before voters trust your message two things. One, politics has become they have to trust you. I think people trusted incredibly bitter and personal. And two, The secret of a good the sincerity of Ronald Reagan and that politicians think that humor means doing political joke is that extended to the sincerity of his beliefs. They zingers on their opponent. Every election it is based on the liked his geniality. But there was another cycle I get requests from campaigns to do vulnerability and element. I think people knew that although funny zingers as soundbites for the evening humanity of the Reagan was conservative, he was open to news. I turn all that down. The purpose of politician. new ideas. I am not sure we Republicans political humor is to make yourself more today convey a sense we are open and eager likeable—not to stick it to your opponent. for new ideas. Many of our fall-on-theirOnce you are perceived as likeable, then sword constituencies are not open and flexible, and they you can good-naturedly tease your opponent. RF have come to define us too much. RF: Let’s return to words for a moment. If you were writing speeches for a Republican Member of Congress this fall, what would be your one paragraph pitch that lays out in a nutshell why he or she should be reelected? Parvin: I hate to keep sounding downbeat, but I would be hard put to come up with that paragraph. How can we Republicans credibly argue that we are for spending restraint or limited government in light of what Congress has passed? In fact, I am inclined to think it might be good if we lost the House. Maybe it would force us to define ourselves in new ways. I am not so heretical that I would want us to lose the Senate, however. RF: Okay then, if you were writing a speech for a Republican Senator, whose victory would help ensure Republicans kept control of the Senate, what would you say? What would your one paragraph pitch for reelection be? Parvin: I said I hoped we would keep the Senate. I didn’t say I knew how to do it. The Republican Senate doesn’t have any more of a compelling argument than the Republican House. “We’re not as bad as the Democrats,” is what it comes down to right now. Let’s hope it works.

Parvin wrote Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2003 Inaugural Address.

RIPON FORUM October/November 2006



A Key to Victory for Republicans this Fall:

We must adhere to the principles on which our base was built. TOM FEENEY


ur future isn’t about appealing to a particular base, triangulation, or some other political tactic. It’s about placing principle above all else. Republicans became a majority by articulating and adhering to a set of principles. Campaigning and governing from principle furnishes order in the often chaotic political world. It develops a stable political base that supports you through thick and, more importantly, through thin. It fosters respect from those who don’t necessarily agree but respect leadership, strength, and confidence. Finally, it provides focus and discipline governing with these five principles, which represent the after one wins and then confronts the task of governing. best in American self-governance: Ronald Reagan (like Abraham Lincoln before him) taught us that lesson. Before Reagan’s Presidency, 1. Less Government — Reducing government Republicans too often took a “me too but less” approach regulations and size of government. Eliminating vis-à-vis our opponents. The American electorate entitlements or unnecessary programs. appropriately consigned us to a permanent minority 2. Lower Taxes — Promoting individual status. responsibility in spending and reducing taxes or fees. Reagan spent considerable time and study 3. Personal Responsibility — Encouraging formulating his principles. Then the Great responsible behavior by individuals Communicator constantly and calmly and families and motivating them to articulated his “beliefs.” As one Campaigning and provide for their own health, safety, commentator observed: “Reagan governing from principle education, moral fortitude, or general gave the impression of speaking to furnishes order in the often welfare. the whole country at once, of saying chaotic political world. It 4. Individual Freedom — ‘This is what I believe and I hope that Increasing opportunities for individuals develops a stable political a majority of you agree with it.’” or families to decide, without hindrance Reagan endured more than his base that supports you or coercion from government, how fair share of political challenges through thick and, more to conduct their own lives and make and setbacks. He also understood importantly, through thin. personal choices. that politics is the art of the possible 5. Stronger Families — – compromising on the terms of the Enhancing the traditional American family and its power legislation but not on the terms of the debate. But to rear children without excessive interference from the ultimately he restored America’s vibrancy, won the Cold government. War, and charted a course for Republican majority status After coming to Washington in 2003, I added a sixth on a national and state level. principle based on the federal government’s fundamental Before coming to Congress, I served in the Florida duty to protect its citizens: House of Representatives through the 1990’s and rose 6. Domestic Tranquility and National Defense — from a minority backbencher to Speaker of the House. Enhancing American security without unduly burdening Republicans attained a majority in this large, growing, civil liberty. diverse, and vibrant state by campaigning on and (Continued on page 22) 20

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A Key to Victory for Republicans this Fall: We can’t forget about Centrists and Independents. SARAH CHAMBERLAIN RESNICK


ive polls in August. Five double-digit generic ballot advantages for Democrats. One giant headache for the GOP majorities. For months now, we as Republicans have repeated the mantra, “thank God it’s not November, a lot can change between now and then.” Well it’s not yet November, but with less than 50 days until the mid-term elections, it is clear that our Congressional majorities are in real danger. Elections expert Larry Sabato issued this ominous electoral disaster for the Republican Party. August prediction: “Historical trends and big picture A look at the polling from the top 50 most indicators – generic congressional ballot tests and competitive Congressional districts shows that the use approval ratings of President Bush’s job performance of these divisive wedge issues has seriously backfired in particular – have always been heavily stacked against among independent voters. In the Greenberg Quinlan the GOP in this ‘sixth year itch’ cycle, but aggregations Rosner Research study, 52 percent of independents in of more race-specific indicators are now suggesting that the 50 most competitive districts said that the stem cell Republicans are headed for their most serious mid-term research issue made them more likely to vote for the losses in decades.” Democratic candidate for Congress. Only 25 percent of A closer look at the polls makes it easy to understand independents in these districts said that the issue of stem why Sabato would reach the conclusion he did. Despite cell research made them more likely to all the talk of growing conservative vote for the Republican candidate. The dissatisfaction with Congress and the In the closing days of these result is a net negative of 27 percent – President, the real danger to our majorities the largest of any issue polled. Indeed, can be found in the plummeting support critical mid-term elections, “values issues” in general, including for Republicans across the board by our party must return to gay marriage and flag burning, polled independent voters. its “big tent” roots and almost as poorly. Almost half, 49 In key district after key district, in make the case to centrist percent, of independents in these the battlegrounds where our majority will Republicans, independents, swing districts said that values issues be won or lost, Democratic challengers made them more likely to vote for the are building substantial leads among and Reagan Democrats. Democrat, while only 29 percent of independent voters. If this large lead these same voters said values issues among independents is to hold, or – even made them more likely to vote for the Republican – a net worse – to grow, we could see a tidal wave of disastrous negative of 20 percent. proportions for the GOP. Growing dissatisfaction with the direction of the For months, the far right in our party told us we GOP’s legislative agenda, particularly as it relates needed to do more to excite the social conservative to divisive social issues, led to polling that shows the base. We had meaningless votes on gay marriage, video Democrats enjoying a 10 point ballot advantage among gambling, and abortion, and we had the President’s veto the top tier most competitive races in the country. of potentially life-saving stem cell research. All of this In the closing days of these critical mid-term was intended to “excite” the base. Unfortunately, the result of months of “exciting the base” is a looming (Continued on page 22) RIPON FORUM October/November 2006


(Feeney, continued from page 20) These principles distinguish us from our opponents. Republicans are doers – men and women of action. We celebrate American exceptionalism – this country’s experiment in how individual liberty allows ordinary people to do extraordinary things. We are also instinctive protectors – guarding America’s 300 million citizens from predators and taking the fight to those who would harm us. Democrats are talkers and theorizers – people entranced by theories bearing little connection with how the world really works. They’re enamored with transnational governance and approval by those overseas and thus distrust or discount the American people, American institutions, and the American experience. They gravitate towards a large and intrusive government replete with interference in free markets, excessive taxes, rule by experts and an unelected judiciary, and a stifling “nanny state” scolding us on our behavior. They seduce voters into a cycle of addiction – tempting with taxpayer largess, buying votes with promises of greater paybacks, and creating freedom-robbing dependencies. As an American, I would hope that September 11 aroused protector instincts in all political leaders. But Democrats are increasingly defined by their radical

(Chamberlain Resnik, continued from page 21) elections, our party must return to its “big tent” roots and make the case to centrist Republicans, independents, and Reagan Democrats. At this point in the game, it’s really a matter of basic math. Without these key swing voters, our Party could lose control of one or both Houses of Congress. Centrist Republicans have laid out an aggressive legislative agenda that should serve as a road map for Republican efforts to attract critical independent and centrist voters. The Republican Main Street Partnership’s “Promise for America” is built on the central theme of security. The Promise for America recognizes that security is the fundamental building block on which success in every facet of life is built, and offers commonsense pragmatic solutions to the challenges facing our country. The Promise for America calls for: Securing Tax Cuts, Deficit Reduction and Improving Competitiveness; Securing Retirement Benefits and Health Care for Seniors, Veterans and Families; Securing Our Future through Math and Science Education, Safe Schools and Research and Development; Securing Energy Independence, While Protecting Our Environment; and Securing America through Diplomacy and Peace through 22

appeaser wing. When confronted by predators, they instinctively consult the New York Times editorial page, blame America first, fret about how the Europeans will view us, and empathize with those threatening us – a distressingly similar approach they took to America’s crime wave of the 1960’s and 70’s. Until Democrat leadership stands up to this vocal and influential element, we cannot trust them to protect us. Who do you want at the end of your call to 911? America and our party were born in the crucible of principles. Republicans changed history when we stood by our beliefs. When we deviate from our principles by pursuing raw power, following poll numbers, focusing on the trivial, or fretting about what the Washington Post says, we disillusion our core supporters and impress others with our disingenuousness and weakness. We can reaffirm the conviction of our beliefs or wander into irrelevancy. It’s time to campaign and govern with substance and meaning. RF Tom Feeney represents the 24th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves as Chairman of the House Conservative Fund, the political arm of the Republican Study Committee.

Strength. Offering a legislative agenda that reflects the values and priorities of average Americans, while setting aside divisive wedge-issues, will give our candidates the opportunity to reach out to critical swing and independent voters. It is not too late to salvage the 2006 midterm elections. This election will not be won or lost based on what the disorganized Democrats do. Rather, it will be won or lost based on what we as Republicans do. Now is the time to embrace the big tent Republican Party that Ronald Reagan built – it is the only way to protect our GOP majorities. RF Sarah Chamberlain Resnick is the Executive Director of the Republican Main Street Partnership.

See Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” August 3, 2006 update php?id=DNW2006080301 1

Newsweek 8/10 – 8/11: R39, D51, +12D; Fox 8/8 – 8/9: R30, D48, +18D; AP 8/7 – 8/9: R37, D55, +18D; ABC/Washington Post 8/3 – 8/6: R39, D52, +13D; CNN 8/2 – 8/3: R40, D53, +13D. 2

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, July 2006 poll conducted for National Public Radio 3

RIPON FORUM October/November 2006

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Reagan in Youngstown

In the wake of Black Monday

against their will (“Lest We Forget, 340 Days.”) To get a real understanding Twenty six years ago this of the mood of the local electorate October, Ronald Reagan made in the Mahoning Valley that fall, a campaign visit to one of the however, one really needs to look strongholds for Reagan Democrats beyond the newspaper headlines in the United States – the Mahoning of that day. One needs to go back Valley of Ohio, which is anchored WILLIAM C. BINNING three years, to September 19, 1977. by the city of Youngstown and is On that day, Youngstown Sheet and located in the northeastern part of t’s been said that politics these Tube, one of the largest steelmakers the state. days is fought along the margins, in the world and the largest To get a sense of the political with each party trying to motivate employer in the area, announced climate at the time of his visit, one its political base while the political that it was eliminating 4,000 jobs. need only look at the local newspaper, center is virtually ignored. If that Valley residents now refer to that the Youngstown Vindicator, the is true, then perhaps it is a good moment as Black Monday. Without afternoon after he arrived. The front time to recall a candidate who a doubt, it changed the complexion page was filled with headlines that, reached out toward the center and, and outlook of the area in doing so, was able forever. to win support that Up until then, crossed and, in fact, the Mahoning Valley transcended party had been one of the lines. centers of steelmaking The candidate in the United States. was Ronald Reagan; Blast furnaces lined the year was the banks of the 1980. Reagan’s Mahoning River, overwhelming victory which cut through the over Jimmy Carter center of the valley. that fall was not just Drive across the South a repudiation of a Center Street Bridge, failed presidency that and you would not was preoccupied with only be driving malaise and paralyzed over a river, but you by hostages. It was would also be driving also the result of his literally through a success in connecting working mill, with with a group of voters molten steel being who had spent their Youngstown Sheet and Tube, circa the late 1950s. (Credit: Youngstown Historical Center of poured off to the one entire lives voting Industry and Labor) side of the bridge, and Democratic. massive smokestacks Much has been written about rising up into the sky off to the in many ways, were very similar to Ronald Reagan’s appeal to these other side. Attend a football game those being seen today. There was ethnic blue collar voters – voters at Campbell High School stadium a headline about the latest scandal who would forever become known on a Friday night, and you would in Washington (“Jenrette Guilty; as Reagan Democrats. But little be sitting in a stadium where a layer Stays in Race”) and one about the if anything has been written about of smoke hung above the field of latest incumbent Senator to lose a how his ability to connect with play, partially obscuring the lights primary election in his home state these voters matters today, and why above. No one thought anything (“Sen. Stone Is Defeated In Fla. the example he set in reaching out of it, though, because steelmaking Democratic Race”). There was to them is relevant to Republican also a reminder about the ongoing was the way of life. But in the years candidates trying to win election crisis in the Middle East and the following Black Monday, it was and reelection this fall. 52 Americans who were being held coming to an end.



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By the fall of 1980, an as being disinterested in the Straight talk and no economic uncertainty affecting additional 9,000 jobs had been lost instant solutions their families and disconnected in the area. The smoke that hung Ronald Reagan touched down from the conservative values in the air above the Mahoning at the Youngstown Municipal around which they were raised. Valley had been replaced by an air Airport the evening of October of uncertainty that was growing Pollster Stanley Greenberg 7. According to the Youngstown every day. The second and third wrote about this kind of sentiment Vindicator, he was “greeted by a generation children of the various in his book about Reagan crowd police estimated at 3,500 ethnic and racial groups who had Democrats in Macomb County, to 4,000. Though no speech had migrated and immigrated to the Michigan, Middle Class Dreams. been scheduled, Reagan talked area to make steel and work in “These were disillusioned, angry briefly, thanking them for coming the mills were very anxious and voters,” he wrote, “but they were out on a chilly night. Some had uneasy about their future. These not Republicans. They spoke of a been there for hours.” groups had inherited and held dear broken contract, not a new vision. At 9:30 that evening, Reagan very conservative social values. Their way of life was genuinely in traveled to St. Rose Church in the Their families and their churches jeopardy, threatened by profound nearby town of Girard to meet with were the center of their lives. economic changes beyond their a small group of Catholic priests Culturally, many of them continued control, yet their leaders, who and union leaders. The group had to have accents, customs, and were supposed to look out for been trying to get a diets from various steel mill reopened, parts of eastern and but had met with southern Europe. very little success Politically, many in Washington. also inherited loyal In their meeting support for the with Reagan, they New Deal and the emphasized they did Democratic Party not want welfare, of Franklin D. they just wanted to Roosevelt. work. He listened to In fact, the what they had to say, Mahoning Valley but promised them had become so no instant solutions. Democratic that Relating how his most Republican own father had once presidential come home with a candidates would layoff notice when not even bother he was a boy, he also making a visit. If Reagan addresses the media and a group of steelworkers in Youngstown in October of 1980. (Credit: said he understood the Republican Ronald Reagan Library) their concerns. candidate did According to one appear, it was simply of the priests who them, were preoccupied with other to make a brief tarmac appearance attended the meeting, Reagan was groups and other issues.” at the local airport. Richard Nixon well received. did just that in his landslide victory Although Greenberg was The next morning, Reagan, describing voters in Macomb in 1972. Four years later, Gerald with his entourage and the national County, he could have been Ford never came near the Valley press following, visited some of describing voters in the Mahoning at all. Despite the Republican the economically hardest hit steel Valley – voters who, in the fall decision to effectively write off towns in the Mahoning Valley, of 1980, were finally being given the region, the Democrat’s hold touring some of the mills that an opportunity to find out for on the area became strained. In were still open, as well as some themselves what the Republican the wake of Black Monday, many of the ones that had already been candidate for President was all Valley residents began to view the shut down. David Broder covered about. Democrat leadership in Washington RIPON FORUM October/November 2006


the tour for the Washington Post. He the hearts and minds of blue collar, wrote of one such visit. “Speaking in unionized industrial workers. a largely abandoned and rusting Jones and Laughlin plant in the Mahoning Lessons for today How did he do this? How Valley, where 13,000 steel jobs have did Ronald Reagan connect with been lost in the last three years, Reagan told the workers: ‘We’ve got to protect steelworkers and others with whom, this industry and all industries against on the surface at least, he seemingly dumping’ of below-cost foreign steel in had little to nothing in common? For the U.S. market, ‘and we’ve got to get one thing, what Stanley Greenberg rid of those thousands of regulations observed about the voters in Macomb that make it impossible for us to County was true for the voters in the compete’ with Japanese and European Mahoning Valley as well. “These producers.” His message of hope, defecting Democrats,” he wrote in support and understanding delivered, Middle Class Dreams, “saw in him Reagan departed the Mahoning an essential honesty, a willingness to Valley shortly after this speech. A few days later, Clingan Jackson, the political writer for the Vindicator and one of the most astute observers of local politics at the time, wrote that, “Ronald Reagan undoubtedly helped his candidacy in the Mahoning Valley in his visit here Wednesday.” A straw poll taken by the Vindicator after the visit seemed to bear that out. When the final ballots Campaign aide Lyn Nofziger, outside a local hotel, the morning of were cast on Election Youngstown. (Credit: Ronald Reagan Library) Day three weeks later, Reagan won 50,153 votes. This was not a plurality of the stand tough for his beliefs and to stand vote – ultimately, he was unable to with ‘small’ America against things break the political stranglehold that ‘big’ particularly government.” 50 years of New Deal politics had But there was another thing, as placed on the area. But he did succeed well. In 1980, Ronald Reagan was not in capturing more votes than any running out of Washington D.C. He Republican candidate for President was an outsider and he campaigned as had ever won in the Valley. an outsider. His mind was not cluttered More significantly, in coming to with inside-the-beltway-policy-wonkYoungstown and campaigning in an double-talk. For the troubled people area that had always voted Democratic in the Mahoning Valley, he seemed in the past, he succeeded in charting a like a man who spoke their language path that no Republican presidential and understood their problems. He did candidate had ever taken before not promise them he would bring their – a path across party lines and into mills back. He did promise them an 26

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America that reflected their values, and he offered hope of a better and brighter America. So what lessons does this hold for Republicans running for office this fall? The challenges of 1980 were not unlike the challenges America faces now: high energy costs, stagnation, inflation and strife in the Middle East. These challenges did not deter Ronald Reagan from giving America hope for a brighter and better tomorrow. They should not deter Republicans running for office from doing the same thing today. Of course, Republicans in 2006 now find it more difficult to run against the Washington establishment as Reagan did in 1980; Republicans are the establishment. Still, there remain lessons to be learned from Reagan’s visit to Youngstown that could be useful to Republican candidates this year. These lessons include: Talk Straight – Before John McCain, there was Ronald Reagan. He invented the Reagan’s visit to Straight Talk Express. He didn’t sugarcoat the difficulties facing the Mahoning Valley; he didn’t gloss over them. He just listened to what people had to say, told them he understood their problems, and promised to work hard to solve them if he were elected. And people believed him. Be Yourself – Reagan was comfortable in his own skin, and people could sense that. He was always able to laugh at himself, but he always took the concerns of others seriously. When David Broder derided Reagan as a “Hollywood hardhat” a few days after his visit to the Mahoning Valley, the charge didn’t stick (the Teflon was

working even back then!) because the the party line – but do so in your own people of Youngstown sensed that he words. was not just some former actor and If there is one final lesson to take former Governor of California running away from Ronald Reagan’s visit to for President. Ronald Reagan was also Youngstown, it is this – candidates one of them. should never be afraid to look beyond Throw Away the Talking Points their traditional constituencies for – Reagan stuck to a script, but it was a script of his own making. The positions If there is one final he took were the positions of his party, lesson to take away from but the words that he used to sell them Ronald Reagan’s visit were his own. Campaigns today are to Youngstown, it is this bombarded by talking points from – candidates should never Washington telling them what to say. be afraid to look beyond But in today’s era of 24/7 cable news coverage and Internet blogs that print their traditional things word for word, talking points constituencies for votes. have a shelf life of one to two hours Reagan did not win the at best. Candidates who simply repeat votes. things verbatim sent to them by the Mahoning Valley in 1980. But the RNC do so at their own peril, and run unprecedented level of support he the risk of being revealed as someone ended up winning in the area helped 18901who Advertisement Ripon.qxp 5/2/2006 Page put him1:38 over PM the top in 1the state, and can’t think forfor themselves. Spout

contributed to his overwhelming victory nationwide. It also reflected his view of campaigning. “I don’t think of the voters as voters,” he wrote in a letter to a supporter on March 14 of that year. “They are people. And I have to tell you something else. I find it most stimulating and even inspiring to meet the people of this country as you meet them during a campaign. You learn what truly great people they are.” Ronald Reagan viewed voters as people – not Republicans, not Democrats, but people. It’s what brought him to Youngstown 27 years ago. It’s also what made him great. RF Dr. William C. Binning is the Chairman of the Political Science Department at Youngstown State University. He is also the former Chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party.


I-229 Design-Build, SD; Lake Okeechobee Watershed Analysis, FL; McAlpine WWTP, Charlotte, NC

Omaha 402.399.1000

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Profile Name: Eric Cantor Hometown: Richmond, Virginia Current job: Member, U.S. House of Representatives.

Hobbies: Spending time at my kid’s sporting events, reading, and spending time with family.

Songs on my playlist: “Desert Rose,”

by Sting; “Ordinary People,” by John Legend; “Don’t Stop Believin,” by Journey.

Books that I’d recommend: Leadership

by Rudolph Giuliani; Hatred’s Kingdom by Dore Gold; and, Captive Warriors by Sam Johnson and Jan Winebrenner.

Political inspiration: Presidents James Madison and Ronald Reagan

Most important issues facing America: War with an irreconcilable wing of Islam, Global Competitiveness, Border Security, Energy Independence, Health Care Affordability

Why I am a Republican: Republicans believe in a free society with a limited, responsible government. We believe that government does not empower its people, but people empower their government. We believe that individuals, with inherent ingenuity and ambition, solve problems far more effectively than does government. 28

RIPON FORUM October/November 2006


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