Will 2010 be another 1994? Joe Gaylord on Scott Brownâ€™s victory and GOP prospects this year
Winter 2010 Volume 44, No. 1
New Horizon John Kasich and Rob Portman stand poised to lead a Republican comeback in Ohio
Plus: Utah Senator Bob Bennett on why he supports health care reform but is opposed to what the Democrats are trying to do And: New York Congressman Peter King on why terrorists should be treated as enemy combatants, not common criminals www.riponsociety.org
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“Ideas that matter, since 1965.“ Volume 44, No. 1, Winter 2010 Articles
Cover Story (cont’d.)
Reality Check by Bob Bennett The Utah Senator says that health care needs to be reformed, but what the Democrats are trying to do would make things worse.
Status Report by Buck McKeon The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee discusses the conflict in Afghanistan and the ongoing war on terror.
Dangerous Decision by Peter King The GOP leader of the Homeland Security Committee writes that terrorists are enemy combatants, not common criminals.
A Necessary Step by Dan Lungren In light of the failed bombing of a jet on Christmas, the California Congressman pushes to keep our airlines more secure.
Getting it Right by Phillip Swagel Our nation’s financial regulatory laws need to be strengthened, but in a way that emphasizes good policy, not populism.
Cover Story 14
The Winter of Ohio’s Discontent By William Binning According to this leading political expert in the Buckeye State, Ohio is facing an economic crisis that is causing voters to give Republicans another look.
Politics & Perspective 19 Will the 2010 Elections be a Replay of 1994? by Joe Gaylord A top strategist from the Republican Revolution 16 years ago provides the GOP advice on how to win the majority this year. 21
The Real State of the Union by John Feehery According to this communications pro, the GOP’s response to the President’s address should stress one theme -- balance.
The Blue Dogs: Are They all Bark and No Bite? by Burdett Loomis They receive a lot of attention in the media. But have the Blue Dogs achieved anything beyond the headlines?
The Archie Manning of American Politics by Lou Zickar With independents abandoning the Democrats, the President is proving to be the one star on an otherwise hapless team.
The New Horizon By Michael G. Oxley Sections The former Congressman from Ohio writes about the political climate in the Buckeye 3 In this Edition State and how John Kasich and Rob Portman stand poised to lead a Republican comeback. 28 Ripon Profile of Jo Ann Emerson
cover portrait by Deb Hoeffner Publisher The Ripon Society President & CEO Jim Conzelman Editorial Board William Frenzel William Meub Billy Pitts
Editor Louis M. Zickar Editorial Assistants Stephen Jackson Maura Reilly Jamarie Copestick © Copyright 2010 By The Ripon Society All Rights Reserved
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RIPON FORUM Winter 2010
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47 Years of Public Policy
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THE RIPON SOCIETY HONORARY CONGRESSIONAL ADVISORY BOARD Senate Senator Pat Roberts (KS) Chairman Senator Richard Burr (NC) Senator Susan M. Collins (ME) Senator Judd Gregg (NH) Senator Orrin G. Hatch (UT) Senator Olympia J. Snowe (ME) House Representative Thomas E. Petri (WI) Chairman Representative Judy Biggert (IL) Representative Roy Blunt (MO) Representative Ginny Brown-Waite (FL) 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 Vernon Ehlers (MI) Representative Jo Ann H. Emerson (MO) Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ) Representative Kay Granger (TX) Representative Walter Jones (NC) Representative Steven LaTourette (OH) Representative Jerry Lewis (CA) Representative Kevin McCarthy (CA) Representative Adam Putnam (FL) Representative Pat Tiberi (OH) Representative Fred Upton (MI) Representative Edward Whitfield (KY)
In this Edition
For a generation of Americans, the phrase Morning in America and the presidency of Ronald Reagan will forever be linked. The phrase represented not just the dawning of a new day for our Nation, but the dawning of a new era for the GOP. Today, Republicans are looking for a similar phrase that captures the mood of the country at this time and sets the tone for the mid-term elections this fall. Surely, the wind is at the party’s back. And certainly, Democrats are in as vulnerable a position as Jimmy Carter was in 1980. But if the picture at this point remains unclear about the party’s electoral prospects in November, an image of the electoral landscape is becoming sharper everyday. It is a landscape that presents Republicans with something they haven’t seen in a very long time: A New Horizon. It is a horizon that looks completely different than the one Republicans faced in November of 2008. Then, the GOP was coming off one of its worst defeats in recent history, as Democrats recaptured the White House and added to their majorities on Capitol Hill. The horizon today is much brighter. It is one shaped as much by the missteps of the Obama Administration as it is by the victories of Scott Brown, Bob McDonnell, and Chris Christie over the past few months. It is also one that presents Republicans with both opportunities and challenges. In this edition of the Forum, we examine some of these opportunities and challenges. We begin by focusing on the political environment in Ohio. The state has trended blue in recent years, electing a Democrat as Governor and to the U.S. Senate and supporting Barack Obama for President. But as former Congressman Mike Oxley explains in our lead essay, Obama’s “soaring start has stalled and is now more of a freefall, as Ohioans increasingly disapprove of the broad direction on mega-issues like the economy, health care, energy cap-and-trade, government spending, and security/ terrorism.” As a result, Republicans have been presented with a new horizon in the Buckeye State, with John Kasich and Rob Portman leading the effort to reclaim the electoral ground that has been lost in recent years. Similar opportunities await Republicans elsewhere in the country as well. In fact, as Contract with America strategist Joe Gaylord writes, the horizon facing the GOP in 2010 is very similar to the one the party faced in 1994, the year it took control of Congress. But Gaylord also notes that there are differences, too, not the least of which is the fact that the party has not yet gotten behind a Contract-like slate of solutions that would tell people what Republicans are for, not just against. One important area where the GOP has no shortage of solutions is national security. In light of the failed bombing of an airliner on Christmas Day, these solutions have been receiving not just more attention, but a greater sense of urgency as well. We look at some of these solutions with Representatives Peter King, Buck McKeon, and Dan Lungren, three leaders in Congress who are working to keep America secure. And finally, to the extent that the health care debate is at a crossroads (or, depending on your perspective, in a ditch), we feature a terrific essay by Utah Senator Bob Bennett explaining why he supports reforming the current system but is opposed to what the Democrats are trying to do. We hope you enjoy this edition and encourage you to write at editor@riponsociety. org with any thoughts or comments you may have.
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 Winter 2010
Lou Zickar Editor The Ripon Forum 3
Why I support health care reform but oppose what the Democrats are trying to do BOB BENNETT In a desperate attempt by Senate The health care debate has proven where negotiations would be broadcast Democrats to “make history” a health to be an emotionally charged issue over C-SPAN and the final bill would be care bill was crafted behind closed causing frustrations to grow among available online for all to read 72 hours doors. The voices of the people were Americans as we witnessed the Obama before a vote. Neither occurred. Instead, ignored. Backroom deals were cut to administration break promise after the bill was created by a select few and buy last minute votes, and a bill was promise. In a September speech before without any input from Republicans. jammed through on Christmas Eve as Congress, President Obama pledged What’s more, because none of the if Americans wouldn’t promised broadcasts notice. The Senate appeared, the Democrats certainly American public made history; they never witnessed any made a mistake of of the negotiations. historic proportions. As Not even the a result, Americans still senators had enough have a broken health time to read the care system and rapidly entire bill prior to disintegrating faith that the Christmas Eve Congress can fix it. I vote. believe we can achieve On January health care reform, but 19, voters in only if we start over and Massachusetts focus on reducing the responded and costs, improving quality spoke loud and and not adding to the clear on behalf nation’s debt. of Americans Obama’s health everywhere by care plan would electing Scott restructure one-sixth I believe we can achieve health care reform, Brown to become of the economy and the 41st vote needed but only if we start over and focus on drastically shape the in the Senate to future of America. block the health care reducing the costs, improving quality and Something of this legislation. Brown’s not adding to the nation’s debt. magnitude should never victory brings new be constructed on a hope to the fight partisan basis and should never exclude to oppose any bill that would add to against a government takeover of health the voices of the people. I voted against the federal deficit. However, he later care and the opportunity for Congress the Senate bill because it would increase applauded the passage of both the to start over and get it right. insurance premiums and taxes, slash House and Senate bills despite the fact Although the health care debate Medicare benefits and essentially create that the federal deficit would increase is badly bruised, the fight is not over. a new entitlement program during a time dramatically under either proposal. The Congress must create a new way to when mandatory spending is strangling president also promised a bipartisan move forward: the country’s financial health. approach with a transparent process First and foremost, we must 4
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possible and settling for anything less Finally, we need to recognize address the issue of cost. A study by would be a mistake. the great progress that has been the Kaiser Family Foundation found Second, we must provide made on a state level and ensure that that the average premium for a family Americans with choice and portability. federal legislation does not undo the receiving health care benefits through Today, more than half of American successful innovations already in an employer rose above $13,300 in workers who have employer-provided place. The state of Utah has been a 2009 with employers paying more health insurance have no say in the leader in creating a market-based, than $9,800 of that, while the workers innovative program that is contributed the rest. Workers specifically tailored to the also faced larger deductibles and ...we need to recognize the needs of Utahns. Congress must co-payments despite receiving encourage states to develop fewer benefits. The Kaiser study great progress that has been these promising models and not estimates that if we continue to see made on a state level and undo the success of programs the trend of the last 10 years, health ensure that federal legislation already in place. insurance premiums in 2019 will Every member of Congress almost triple. These numbers, does not undo the successful agrees that we need to reform coupled with the statistics on how innovations already in place. the health care system and much our government spends on bring down the unsustainable health care, is a strong reason rate of growth in health care why we cannot ignore reforming costs. However, Congress must focus the health care system. type of coverage they receive. We on fixing the problems rather than Congress must commit to need to empower individuals with considering only legislation that the ability to choose the plan that best rushing through haphazardly simply to claim victory and make history. would turn the cost curve down. We suits their needs. Once Americans We need to start over and get it need legislation that is market-based have chosen health care coverage that done right. RF and allows insurance companies to works for them, they should be able to reduce costs as they compete for keep it. Insurance should be portable Bob Bennett is a United States Senator business. Crafting a bill that provides so individuals donâ€™t feel locked in a from the State of Utah. affordable health care for Americans job they donâ€™t like for fear of losing without adding to our national debt is their health care coverage.
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RIPON FORUM Winter 2010
The War in Afghanistan and the Challenges Ahead HOWARD P. “BUCK” MCKEON As the world transitioned to a new year, Americans were reminded that we remain a nation at war. On Christmas Day, the act of one individual solidified this reality: America faces a determined and ruthless enemy who is committed to killing innocent civilians and destroying our way of life. This enemy resides in ungoverned spaces like those found in Afghanistan, Pakistan,Somalia,and Yemen, and exploits our advances in mass communication and modern means of travel to mobilize and execute missions of hatred. For the last decade, Congress and the Executive Branch have worked together to develop the necessary policies and tools to take on this global, multifaceted, and constantly evolving threat. Like the threat, America must refine these instruments in order to keep this war out of America’s backyard. As our nation’s Commander-in-Chief, President Obama plays the critical role in guiding the United States during wartime and must send a clear message to our enemies and allies that America will not stand down. We will take the fight directly to those who seek to do us harm. On December 1, 2009, with his speech at West Point, President Obama 6
officially took ownership of the war in Afghanistan and the broader war on terrorism. He correctly reminded the country and the world that alQaeda — operating from safehavens in Afghanistan — planned and launched the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Al-Qaeda does not act alone. They are supported by the extremist Taliban who continue to provide sanctuary within its tribal homes in Afghanistan and Pakistan and intimately linked to a robust terrorist network in that part of the world. If America and our allies fail to defeat – not only degrade – the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Pashtun tribal belt in Pakistan, there is the possibility that al-Qaeda could re-formulate to its pre-2002 strength and launch attacks RIPON FORUM Winter 2010
against the United States, our allies, and our interests once again. The President rightly committed the Unites States to a counterinsurgency strategy designed to separate the Afghan people from the threats posed by the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Just as important, the President announced that the top military commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, will be provided most of the military forces he needs to implement his strategy. While many have questioned whether the President has provided the resources necessary to win inAfghanistan, General McChrystal personally reassured Congress that he has the resources to win. More importantly, he committed to requesting additional troops if they are necessary to successfully complete the mission. Now the hard work has begun. Logistically, deploying 30,000 additional forces is a heavy lift. Politically, in the coming weeks and months, some of my colleagues in Congress will attempt to either narrow or end our troops’ mission in Afghanistan — even before the full 30,000 troop surge arrives in the country. While Congress must continue to exert its oversight role to ensure
General McChrystal and our troops of Defense and State have allocated of armed conflict — not the criminal have the resources they need to win, I approximately $70 million to help the justice system. In the war on terrorism will call on my colleagues to support Yemeni government professionalize its — like any other conflict — combatants our brave troops by providing them the force in order to defeat al-Qaeda in the need to be thoroughly interrogated by tools and time they need to complete Arabian Peninsula and gain control of the the Intelligence Community before they their mission. We must resist the entirety of its territory. By working with encounter counsel, let alone a public temptation to judge progress or success host countries to develop their security defender. All terrorists captured in the in Afghanistan against the Washington forces, it reduces the likelihood that the war on terrorism should be charged political clock. Events and conditions United States will have to commit its as enemy combatants, taken into on the ground must drive our decisions sons and daughters to completing the military custody, interrogated for vital from this point. mission. intelligence, and tried in military courts Afghanistan and Pakistan offer the In addition to effective security under the laws of armed conflict. most relevant and immediate examples assistance tools, the United States The President could send a strong of what criteria must exist for al-Qaeda must commit to treating those message to Americans, the international and its terrorist affiliates to operate terrorists captured in the ongoing war community, and those terrorists most effectively: ungoverned or underon terrorism, such as Christmas Day aspiring to attack the United States by governed swaths of land and the lack of bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, treating Abdulmutallab as a combatant strong local governance. As captured in an ongoing evidenced in Iraq’s al-Anbar war. In addition, the Province in 2006 – 2007, President should reverse If America and our allies fail to al-Qaeda will step into the his decision to try 9/11 defeat – not only degrade – the vacuum of ungoverned space mastermind Khalid in a country; set up training Sheikh Mohammed Taliban in Afghanistan and the facilities; intermingle, and his cohorts in U.S. Pashtun tribal belt in Pakistan, there threaten, or coerce the local federal court in New York is the possibility that al-Qaeda could population into cooperation; City — and recommit and then launch attacks to to prosecuting these re-formulate to its pre-2002 strength further destabilize the “host” dangerous terrorists and launch attacks against the United through the military government or harm United States interests. commissions system. States, our allies, and our TheattemptedChristmas This step by the President interests once again. Day bombing of Northwest would ensure that military Flight 253 has drawn renewed operations are not attention to Yemen — a country roughly as enemy combatants — not common compromised. twice the size of Wyoming located on criminals. On January 5, the U.S. Court We have invested significant a key international transit lane between of Appeals for the District of Columbia amounts of our precious blood and the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Circuit upheld the right of the United treasure to defeat al-Qaeda and its The Yemeni government is currently States government to detain criminals networks, and curtail these terrorist fighting at least two insurgencies within suspected of committing terrorist acts. ambitions. All Americans have asked its borders — one against al-Qaeda in The decision — in placing a higher much of the men and women of our the Arabian Peninsula and the other value on war powers over the individual military and diplomatic corps — and against Shiite extremists. Yemen is also rights of detainees captured in the their families who support them at the current home of the al-Qaeda cleric ongoing war on terrorism — reaffirms home. and recruiter who had communicated the belief that the laws of war are the By recommitting ourselves to with Fort Hood shooter Army Major appropriate foundation by which to providing them with the tools and Nidal Malik Hasan, and the site of the continue to detain and try terrorists who resources they need to effectively do 2000 al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole are captured by the United States. their jobs, we are taking strides to better that killed seventeen American sailors. On January 6, the top Republicans protect our nation and citizenry. RF The failed Christmas Day terrorist on the House Appropriations, attack underscores the importance of the Intelligence, Homeland Security, and current efforts by the United States to Judiciary Committees joined me in Howard P. “Buck” McKeon represents work with foreign governments to train, calling on the President to designate the 25th Congressional District of equip, and professionalize their security Abdulmutallab as an unprivileged California. He is the senior Republican forces — both military and police. For enemy belligerent, and detain and on the House Armed Services example, the United States Departments prosecute him according to the laws Committee. RIPON FORUM Winter 2010
Terrorists should be treated as enemy combatants, not criminal defendants Peter King On Christmas Day, while many landed, federal law enforcement Abdulmutallab’s attack as a crime and Americans were preparing to exchange officers took the al-Qaeda-trained charge him as a criminal in federal court gifts and enjoy Christmas dinner, Umar Abdulmutallab into custody and (FBI Director Mueller acknowledged Farouk Abdulmutallab was preparing informed him that he had the right to that “very senior people in the FBI to attack America. remain silent, which is exactly what he had input”), we lost the opportunity to As Northwest flight 253 did. Then, federal prosecutors brought interrogate him in order to seek lifeapproached Detroit, Abdulmutallab charges against him in federal criminal saving intelligence. We will not learn left his row-19 window seat, more about al-Qaeda in the went to the lavatory and Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), assembled a bomb, the parts the terrorist group claiming of which he had hidden in his responsibility for the underwear before boarding. Christmas Day attack. We After he returned to seat will not learn where and how 19A, he ignited the device in he obtained his explosive an attempt to bring down the device and his training. We plane and murder hundreds will not learn from him what onboard. other attacks against America We got lucky. Despite are planned by AQAP. Abdulmutallab’s planning Instead of arranging and training by al-Qaeda for Abdulmutallab to meet leadership in Yemen, the with our most well-trained terrorist failed in his attempt interrogators, the Obama to fully detonate his weapon Administration arranged for and explode the plane. But he this terrorist to meet with a did start a fire. Fortunately, it well-trained lawyer. was quickly extinguished by Even though American vigilant passengers and flight lives are at risk, the crew, who also subdued the Obama Administration’s perpetrator. decision sadly is not all If Abdulmutallab’s attack that unexpected when you had been successful, he would consider the Administration’s have orchestrated the worst apparent belief that we can Instead of arranging for terrorist attack on America defeat international terrorism since September 11, 2001. in the courtroom instead of Abdulmutallab to meet with our As troubled as I am by the most well-trained interrogators, the on theIf battlefield. fact that federal intelligence we are going to agencies failed to recognize Obama Administration arranged for protect Americans in our Abdulmutallab as a threat international war on terror, this terrorist to meet with a and the fact that he was able Abdulmutallab and his well-trained lawyer. to smuggle the device past fellow terrorists should face airport screening, I also am trial in military commissions, troubled by the response of the Obama court. not in civilian courts. Administration. Now, because of the Obama Clearly and tragically, the Obama Shortly after the plane safely Administration’s decision to treat Administration sees things differently. 8
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A year ago, the President announced courthouse. The director of the Federal the Military Commissions Act -- to try his decision to close Guantanamo Bay Protective Service -- charged with terrorists captured on the battlefield without any plan of how to do so. In protecting the courthouse -- stated as enemy combatants in military November, he made what I believe to at a recent Committee on Homeland commissions at Guantanamo. be one of the worst decisions by any Security hearing that he does not House Republicans are working to president when he decided to move have the resources to properly secure pass legislation to appropriately direct Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM), the facility during the trials while the Obama Administration in dealing the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 performing its normal duties. with dangerous terrorists and keep them attacks, and four co-conspirators It seems that every month we out of civilian court. For example, I from Guantanamo to New York City learn of a new Obama Administration co-sponsored the Keep Terrorists Out for trial in civilian court. This illplan to try terrorists in civilian court. In of America Act, a common-sense bill conceived decision – made to prevent terrorists from being without consulting any law brought onto our soil. I have If we are going to protect enforcement officials in New also co-sponsored the Terrorist Americans in our international York – will launch judicial Detention and Prosecution Act proceedings that will surely war on terror, Abdulmutallab and to ensure the President has clear drag on for years and cost to utilize military his fellow terrorists should face authority American taxpayers hundreds commissions to try terrorists of millions of dollars. The trial in military commissions, not captured in the U.S. President’s decision also The Christmas Day attack in civilian courts. threatens to expose highly was a wake-up call for many; sensitive sources and methods my hope is that it awakened the used to gather intelligence, creates a November, KSM and the others in New Obama Administration to the need to platform for spewing anti-American York; in December, Abdulmutallab treat terrorists as enemy combatants, not propaganda to attract more jihadists, in Detroit; this month, we see reports as defendants in criminal courts. RF and could almost stretch the NYPD to that the Bali nightclub bomber, for its breaking point. inexplicable reasons, may face trial in Peter King represents the 3rd Transferring terrorists to lower downtown Washington, DC. Congressional District of New York. Manhattan creates an enormous, The fact is that trial in civilian court He is the Ranking Member of the unnecessary risk to the people who House Committee on Homeland is unnecessary. Last year, Congress already live and work near the federal Security. established a meticulous forum -- per
Legislative Spotlight H. R. 4415 The Terrorist Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010
To amend title 10, United States Code, to authorize the President to determine that certain individuals are unlawful enemy combatants subject to trial by military commissions, and for other purposes. Introduced - January 12, 2010 Sponsor - U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (MI-10) Cosponsors - U.S. Reps. Paul Broun (GA-10), Dan Burton (IN-5), Tom Cole (OK-4) , Jim Gerlach (PA-6), Gregg Harper (MS-3), Peter King (NY-3) Jack Kingston (GA-1), Robert Latta (OH-5), John Linder (GA-7), Pete Olson (TX-22), Frank Wolf (VA-10)
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Understanding the Enemy DAN LUNGREN To adequately defend against new threat. checkpoints. a threat one needs to understand Our best approach includes Because of 9/11, airport the nature of that threat. This actionable intelligence and layered screening procedures (stripping is particularly true with regard defenses. Within that overall context, down at checkpoints and taking to Islamic extremists who have the best way to detect a PETN off your shoes) have become more attempted to hijack a religion to bomb or any bomb concealed under intrusive and sometimes irritating justify their terrorist actions against clothing is with whole-body imaging to air travelers. These security innocent men, women and children. technology. I support this screening procedures are necessary in today’s The danger they pose threat environment. to innocent lives They are essential to is magnified by an secure the aircraft and unnatural obsession ensure the safety of with death. the traveling public. We must If you were told that understand that a body bomber would we face an enemy be on your next flight, who is as elusive as wouldn’t you want all they are deadly and passengers screened sinister. They have with whole-body made adaptations imaging technology? in response to the Unfortunately, we measures we have won’t be given prior taken to protect the notice. What we do flying public. As know is that Islamic the threat evolves, extremists remain we must constantly committed to killing adjust our defenses. us. We did this after Therefore, I the shoe bomber oppose unreasonable incident and then privacy concerns We must understand that we face an standing between me again after the London liquid bomber. Obviously and the rest of the flying enemy who is as elusive as they are this task is made all public and the Jihadist deadly and sinister. the more difficult by body bomber. We need the willingness of the to employ the very best perpetrators to offer themselves technology because it is the very best screening technology available to as human incendiary devices. The available. It detects anomalies on the deter or defeat this Jihadist threat. latest threat – a lone traveler carrying human body. It will detect plastics, Safe and secure air travel is far more a pentaerythritol trinitrate bomb ceramics, explosives, liquids and gels important than any arbitrary privacy (PETN) hidden in his underwear – that cannot be detected with current standard. Dead people are not in a will again require us to adapt our technology. It would also meet the position to raise privacy concerns. defenses since the magnetometer higher throughput requirements Let me be clear – I understand will not be effective against this necessary for our busy airport the initial objections to whole-body 10
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imaging technology centered on body anomalies to be automatically an authority on pat-down screening. privacy concerns. We have taken identified with no need for screener I have been patted up and down and steps to address the substance of those review or retention of these images. down and up in airports across the Whole-body imaging technology country. Whole-body imaging would concerns. The outlined image of the screened passenger, while graphic, was first piloted by TSA in 2007 not only relieve me of this invasive is not identifiable to a particular as an alternative to the pat down in procedure but every other person individual. The Transportation secondary screening. With 90 percent with an artificial body part. Security Administration (TSA) of the public selecting whole-body More importantly, using wholehas separated the security operator imaging over the pat down, TSA has body imaging for primary airport reviewing the images (no window now moved it to primary screening at screening will improve our airport office) from the actual defenses against this passenger being screened, so evolving extremist threat. We need to employ the very best Elected officials must no linkage is possible. Images are not stored or transmitted screening technology available to assure our travelers that we and are immediately consider their safety to be a deleted after review by deter or defeat this Jihadist threat. solemn obligation. RF security personnel. Blurring techniques for the face are also used for added privacy. The select airports. I agree with the vast Dan Lungren represents the final piece, which should eliminate majority of the public who chose 3rd Congressional District of remaining privacy concerns with whole body imaging over the pat California. He is the Ranking whole-body imaging technology, down for both security and privacy Member of the Homeland Security is automatic detection software. reasons. Subcommittee on Emerging After receiving my new metal Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and This software is currently being field tested. It will allow for whole- hip two years ago, I’m somewhat of Technology.
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Getting it Right
Financial reform begins with good policy, not populism Phillip Swagel More than a year after the up) to increase lending, since the institutions were islands of relative financial system nearly collapsed, tax is meant to be levied on funding stability during the crisis (even as the administration’s lurch into that banks would use to support others were not) while dozens of smaller banks have failed. It might populist rhetoric has put the already- increased lending. The second lurch on financial sound good to attack banks, but it’s stalled effort for regulatory reform regulatory reform, immediately not necessarily the right move for into reverse gear. In tacking hard left, President following the Massachusetts election, the economy and for the millions Obama has shifted focus from involved a salvo against proprietary of American families with low and ensuring that the financial system trading and toward limiting the size moderate incomes who benefit from expanded access to contributes to credit as the result of growth and job financial innovation creation through and the activities of intermediation (e.g. large banks. lending) to instead The strike bluntly constraining against proprietary the size and scope trading is perplexing, of bank activities. since it would be Protestations by well-nigh impossible White House aides to distinguish this that proposals from banks’ normal to punish banks activities in making were long under a market for clients consideration, if looking to buy and anything, make the sell securities such situation worse. It as stocks and bonds. is sadly revealing A bank acting as to learn that the a “broker-dealer” President’s jarring will at times accept switch to nona sell order from a substantive rhetoric It might sound good to attack banks, but client that results in is actually the result taking a security or of a considered it’s not necessarily the right move for derivatives position policy process the economy… onto its own book rather than a crude for a while until but understandable of U.S. banks. This appears to be it finds a buyer or an offsetting political calculus. Two policy switches in January a strike against a phantom menace, derivative position. This risk-taking 2010 are directly at odds with since the administration put forth no helps create the deep and liquid President Obama’s putative agenda evidence that either trading or size financial markets that attract capital on financial reform. First, the were meaningful factors behind the to the United States — and that not proposed tax on banks is at odds crisis, or pose a risk to the economy, incidentally helps fund the massive with the earlier urging of bank or to public resources going forward. federal borrowing in the “new era of executives (those who would show After all, some of the largest financial fiscal responsibility” proclaimed in 12
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President Obama’s February 2009 for example, focuses on the status take over a failing financial firm Budget. of its deposit insurance fund to the and use taxpayer money to support The impression is that both neglect of broader systemic issues. it. Ironically, this proposal — now lurches on financial reform are It might be useful to establish lost in the vapors of the President’s driven by political necessity. When a council of regulators to watch for populist rhetoric against bailouts — President Obama is quoted in the systemic risk, as now proposed by has the essential characteristics of press as being upset that he is on the House Financial Services Committee the TARP in allowing the executive “wrong” side of an issue, it should chairman Barney Frank, so long branch to put public money into be understood that he means the as the Fed remains the ultimate a private firm without a vote of wrong side of popular opinion, not ‘free safety’ in football terms, with Congress. And it goes a step further, the wrong side of substance. As the mandate to run down financial by allowing the government as well with his flailing efforts to challenge sector activities that appear to put to change contracts. Put simply, the the AIG bonuses condoned by his the system at risk or that seem to be administration’s proposal is for a top staff, the President is following motivated mainly by the prospect of permanent and supercharged TARP. the pitchforks rather than seeking a government guarantee or backstop. A better alternative would be to channel popular energies into Such a mandate would have led to a to improve the bankruptcy process, productive legislative efforts. prolonged whistle-blowing at Fannie to ensure that troubled firms are All of this is unfortunate Mae and Freddie Mac, the two allowed to fail without putting at because it detracts from the still government-sponsored enterprises risk the rest of the financial sector or vital agendas for regulatory reform for housing finances, whose outsized the broader economy. The failure of that would help prevent Lehman Brothers had impacts future crises and provide a on the broader economy framework under which the through lax oversight of While the financial industry government could better deal money market mutual with financial crises when funds that held Lehman’s is among the most regulated they inevitably arise. debt, through a disorderly in the U.S. economy, the crisis unwinding of Lehman’s The key aspects of the positive agenda on financial exposed gaps in oversight and derivatives positions, and regulatory reform focus on through poor coordination information gathering that helping to detect activities between the U.S. and UK would be useful to fill. that contribute to systemic bankruptcy regimes that left risk, and improvements to the assets of some Lehman the way that failing financial clients “frozen” in London. firms are dealt with. These policy portfolios put the banking system These failings can be addressed— areas are related; reforms that make at risk and necessitated a costly and doing so would be preferable clear to banks that they will be taxpayer rescue of these firms in to a permanent TARP. This is not allowed to fail in the end will lead September 2008. saying “no more bailouts ever,” but to changes in behavior by market Even with this change, it is it does require a vote of Congress participants that helps make failure inevitable that the financial industry for public funds to be deployed at less likely. will eventually develop problems length in the future. While the financial industry that include the potential collapse Such a focus on bankruptcy is among the most regulated in the of major industry participants. would help fix market expectations U.S. economy, the crisis exposed Resolution authority over non- that firms would be allowed to gaps in oversight and information bank institutions would provide a fail. This would affect risk-taking gathering that would be useful to fill. roadmap for the government to deal behavior and thus help reduce the The Federal Reserve has become with firms that are not banks (such likelihood of future crises. RF politically unpopular, but it remains as the holding companies that own the only government institution that banks along with other financial has both the broad overview of the subsidiaries such as insurers and Phillip Swagel is a visiting economy and the deep knowledge broker-dealers) or the forty or fifty professor at the McDonough of the financial system needed to banks that are too large for the School of Business at Georgetown serve as an effective backstop to effective capabilities of the FDIC. University. He previously other financial regulators. Other The administration’s approach served as Assistant Secretary for regulatory agencies necessarily would institute a system under Economic Policy at the Treasury have a narrower view — the FDIC, which the executive branch could Department. RIPON FORUM Winter 2010
by MICHAEL G. OXLEY
New Horizon John Kasich and Rob Portman stand poised to lead a Republican comeback in Ohio
After two dismal showings in the elections of 2006 and 2008, Republicans in the great political state of Ohio are ready for a comeback. Let’s face it, in both of these cycles, the Democrats didn’t win so much as our Republican Party lost, due to scandals and poor judgment exercised by some of our Ohio elected officials. In a recent piece about Ohio politics for National Review Online, Jim Geraghty quotes a source who observed that the 14
losses stemmed from “an anti-corruption wave in 2006 and the excitement and enthusiasm for Obama in 2008.” Voters in the ultimate swing state are smart and engaged, and they don’t hesitate to make their displeasure known at the polls. The Republican brand has been damaged, and it’s up to us to restore it with quality candidates who connect with voters on core values and who advocate sound public policy. Just one year ago, few would have predicted the tremendous
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opportunity for our Party that is now before us in 2010. to present proven leaders with effective ideas to the voters. President Obama’s campaign message of hope and Politically, our candidates must be able to bring together change has quickly become dismay and disappointment Republican Party loyalists and conservatives, as well as among the electorate. His soaring start has stalled and is making progress among youth, women, and minorities. now more of a freefall, as Ohioans increasingly disapprove We have a great deal of enthusiasm. However, should of the broad direction on mega-issues like the economy, Republicans and conservatives fail to unite, the result will health care, energy cap-and-trade, government spending, be more years of liberal Democrats in public office who and security/terrorism. generally seek to use government as a means to re-engineer Internationally, despite Obama’s hopes expressed during society, as well as to collect and to redistribute wealth. the campaign and in the first months of his presidency, his Should we fail to unite, we will be standing by and watching personal appeal and popularity have done nothing to budge it all happen. the world’s dictators and nuclear bullies. The extent to We are fortunate to have talented and capable candidates which he has adopted many of the previous Administration’s running for the Republican nominations for Senate and international policies is remarkable, and he is learning that Governor this year. I believe that Ohio Republicans can perhaps many of those policies were the best course, after present one of the most formidable tickets in the nation by all. nominating Rob Portman for Senate and John Kasich for At home, Ohioans are less than impressed with Governor. I was fortunate to serve with both of them in the economic stimulus bills that cost hundreds of billions of U.S. House of Representatives. John and Rob have energy dollars but don’t stimulate the economy. At this writing, as well as years of experience, policy expertise as well as Ohio’s unemployment rate is 10.6 percent, and behind common sense. that number stand hundreds As one of the best of thousands of out-of-work budgeteers in Congress during Ohioans and their families who his tenure, John Kasich has President Obama’s are paying the human cost of the what it takes to effectively campaign message of hope housing/credit crunch combined tackle Ohio’s economic and and change has quickly with a vicious recession. In financial problems as governor. July of 2009, the unemployment He also knows the workings of become dismay and rate was above 11 percent, the business and the media and is disappointment among worst since the recession of the one of the most energetic and early 1980s. committed people you will ever the electorate. While it seemed meet. overwhelming at his Similarly, I can’t think of inauguration, President Obama’s job approval is fading fast. anyone better suited to represent Ohio in the U.S. Senate It has turned out to be a thin reed on which to build the than Rob Portman. Rob’s deep knowledge about budgeting Democrats’ basis for governing. and international trade, as well as his abilities to think The elections of 2009 revealed the shallowness of the strategically and to connect with voters, will make a dynamic Democrats’ support, particularly in the gubernatorial races contribution to Ohio’s recovery and prosperity. in Virginia and New Jersey. In those two races, the firstWe are fortunate to have these two intelligent and time voters, unmarried women, younger voters, African respected leaders running as Republicans. We should Americans, and Latinos that comprised the Obama “surge” nominate Portman and Kasich and do everything possible to stayed home. Candidates (now Governors) Bob McDonnell ensure their election in November of 2010. in Virginia and Chris Christie in New Jersey outperformed Certainly, Buckeye football transcends politics for GOP presidential nominee John McCain’s 2008 results Ohioans. But perhaps the Buckeyes won’t mind if we among conservatives, moderates, and men. The truly borrow some inspiration and a page from Coach Tressel’s independent voters who came to the polls in 2009 were Rose Bowl playbook: with talent, unity, drive, intelligence, more conservative than those who voted in 2008. and hard work, the Buckeyes got up from numerous defeats Going forward, it is important to watch the views of and won. We can too. RF true independent, swing voters, as they determine the outcomes of elections. By definition, they are likely to Michael G. Oxley is Of Counsel at be uncomfortable with one-party rule and with excessive Baker Hostetler, Washington, D.C. He government programming and spending. represented Ohio’s 4th Congressional Having said all of this, it would be a huge mistake for District in the U.S. House of Republicans to assume that Democrats’ stumbles will result Representatives for more than 25 years automatically in GOP success. and was a Member of Ohio’s General As Republicans, it is our challenge and responsibility Assembly for nine years. RIPON FORUM Winter 2010
The Winter of Ohio’s Discontent WILLIAM BINNING that vital sector have been enormous. The political environment in the battleground state Moreover, the few auto jobs that were saved by last of Ohio is shaping up to be a toxic one for incumbents year’s infusion of federal capital are still at risk. Unlike in in 2010. the past, these unionized, high paying jobs will not return The economic challenges facing the state are chronic with the awaited recovery. and severe. According to the Plants have been closed; Ohio Department of Jobs factories have been shuttered. and Family Service, the state Unlike in the past, these The layoffs are no longer unemployment rate in the unionized, high paying jobs just temporary. A reduction last quarter of 2009 was 10.6 in Ohio’s unemployment percent. will not return with the awaited rate will not bring happy Of greatest concern is recovery. Plants have been days back again. The hardy that many of these job losses industrial workers will be appear to be permanent. closed; factories have been carrying their lunch buckets Indeed, a significant portion shuttered. The layoffs are no to jobs that pay less than of Ohio’s unemployment longer just temporary. half what they once made, is the result of the long working at call centers rather standing but accelerating than the assembly line. deindustrialization of the The loss of jobs has had a rippling effect to other state economy. The poster child for this most recent sectors of the Ohio economy. Realty Trac reports that deindustrialization is the auto industry. Despite the the number of foreclosures in the state reached 113, federal government’s infusion of capital, the job losses in
Taxpayers deserve “their money’s worth” JOHN KASICH “While Ohio’s problems are daunting, I believe they are fixable – but only by creating a business environment that rewards investment and increases wages. “With forward-thinking, solutions-oriented leadership, we can transform Ohio into a model of job creation and economic vitality that other states will want to follow. To succeed we must: “Lower taxes – Create a tax climate that allows Ohio to compete with other states to attract new businesses, foster job creation, and keep our precious, existing jobs here; “Make government more efficient and effective – Skinny-down state bureaucracy to ensure taxpayers are getting their money’s worth, and reform state government into a 21st century partner with Ohio’s job creators – not one that punishes business with outdated or unnecessary regulation; “Transform our education system – Help our kids achieve, compete and succeed to meet the workforce demands of tomorrow’s economy; and, “End the influence of special interests – Build common-sense solutions to our problems and kick out those who, for too long, have kept us from fixing all that is wrong in our state.”
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570 in 2008 – the 7th highest in the U.S. The loss of tax revenue has led to layoffs and service declines in local governments and school districts. Those local fiscal budget problems will also be chronic. Public service employment will have to return to being its own reward.
The impact on the state’s biennial budget will also be significant. Democratic Governor Ted Strickland’s first biennial budget was adopted in July 2008 with little partisan rancor, despite the fact that Republicans held majorities in both houses of the bicameral legislature at the time. The FY 2010 budget approved last summer was much more challenging to the state leadership, because the 2008 elections had given Democrats control of the House. The difference between the political parties over budget issues was intense because of the significant loss of tax revenue. Further, Governor Strickland was unwilling to propose any tax increases, so the budget was very lean and a number of the issues were not settled until late December 2009. The Democratic leadership in the House under Speaker Armond Budish, the GOP Senate leader Bill
Harris, and Governor Strickland were noticeably restrained in their rhetoric in their budget dispute. This has mitigated the partisan rancor going forward into the 2010 election, even though the stakes are very high. A number of groups closely affiliated with the state Democratic Party of Ohio were very disappointed by the lean budget. Without the infusion of federal stimulus monies, the state budget situation would have been much more difficult to resolve. The final and possibly most significant environmental factor in Ohio’s 2010 election is Ohioans’ assessment of the performance of President Obama’s government and the Democratic Congress. The most significant Obama policy that specifically impacted Ohio was the bailout of the auto industry. Particularly significant was the federal aid to General Motors and Chrysler, both of whom have a strong presence in Ohio. The financial condition of those now publicly financed corporations remains precarious. Reflecting national trends, President Obama’s approval rating has declined precipitously in Ohio. The most recent state polls show him at 47 percent. The political party in the White
“Jobs aren’t created through government” Rob Portman “Having grown up in a small family business and being back in the private sector as a lawyer and small business owner since leaving government 2 1/2 years ago, I know that jobs aren’t created through government, but through hard work, innovation and investment in the private sector. “In fact, the taxes, fees, rules and regulations that government imposes on businesses makes it more difficult for Ohio to retain and create jobs. With Ohio continuing to lose jobs and fall behind economically, I have spent the past year touring factories, farms, hospitals, and research centers, listening to small business owners, workers, local economic development experts and others about how current and proposed policies affect jobs here in Ohio. “I have made it a point to talk directly with the people making hiring decisions about the impact of tax law policy, health care proposals, cap and trade and other energy ideas, card check, regulations and government spending. After 24 plant tours, several small business roundtables and meetings with economic development groups in every region of the state, I am more convinced than ever that the reckless spending and anti-jobs policies coming out of Washington today are bad for Ohio jobs. I am also convinced that there is a better way, one rooted in the free enterprise system that creates the environment for job growth in Ohio.”
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House typically is a liability for that party’s candidates seeking election to office. Efforts of candidates to run and hide from that burden typically fail. It is folly to attempt to predict the outcome of the significant state elections in a highly competitive state like Ohio. However, we can identify the likely major actors in Ohio’s 2010 statewide election and speculate on how some of the environmental factors mentioned above will impact on those races.
standard bearer. There is a wealthy Cleveland car dealer named Tom Ganley who is attempting to run to the right of Portman in the GOP primary. It is not clear how much of his own money Ganley is willing to put into this primary challenge. If he does not spend millions, then Portman, who has not run statewide, will carry the flag for the Republicans in this very important race, which could, in the final weeks of October, become a national headliner. The Democratic candidate in this matchup is not yet determined. Lt. Governor Lee Fisher is facing a formidable Races to Watch challenge from Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. The marquee race in the Ohio midterm will be the race Most of the state pundits are picking Fisher, who is an for Governor. At the beginning of 2009 it appeared that experienced statewide campaigner. But that will likely Governor Ted Strickland was expected to win reelection be a very hotly contested primary. This U.S. Senate race, easily. Strickland’s soft spoken, civil, down home style is perhaps more than the race for Governor, will be greatly a perfect fit for Ohio politics. However the environmental influenced by environmental factors, particularly Ohioans’ factors -- principally the dismal conditions of the Ohio opinion of the Democratic government in Washington. economy and the very tight state budget -- have put his Portman is running even with Fisher in some public polls, tenure at risk. despite the fact that, at Ohio is reluctant to this juncture, Portman is deny a governor a second virtually unknown outside Strickland’s soft spoken, civil, term. The 1974 defeat of of the Cincinnati media Democrat John Gilligan by market. down home style is a perfect fit the master of Ohio politics, The Republicans can for Ohio politics. However the Republican Jim Rhodes, take heart that, after two was the last time an Ohio environmental factors -- principally very bad election cycles, incumbent governor was the stars are lining up the dismal conditions of the Ohio denied a second term. in their favor in Ohio. economy and the very tight state Governor Gilligan had In 2004, the total two introduced the state income party vote in Ohio was budget -- have put his tenure tax in his first term, and 5,674,259, while in 2008 at risk. that contributed to Rhodes’ the total two party vote was surprising win in the midst 5,534,259 -- a decrease of of Watergate. 140,296 votes in a national In 2010, Governor Strickland faces the energetic election that produced close to a historic national record former member of Congress John Kasich, recently of Fox turnout. Recent national polls are showing an increase News fame who more importantly served as Chairman in GOP voters’ enthusiasm. Perhaps that will spread to of the House Budget Committee when the federal Ohio. However to take full advantage of these apparent government had a budget surplus. Kasich has never opportunities, Ohio Republicans need to figure out who run statewide in the byzantine, bifurcated state of Ohio. they are, and how they should campaign. The environmental conditions will put wind in the sails They might want to keep in mind the classic work of of his campaign; he actually has led Strickland in some political scientist John Fenton, who wrote years ago that recent public polls. Certainly the political environment Ohio politics are issueless. No one understood that better is contributing to Strickland’s weak poll numbers. The than the 20th century Ohio Republican political icons, themes of that important contest have yet to unfold. The Ray Bliss and Jim Rhodes. condition of the state’s economy will be a central part of Energized Ohio Republicans also should keep in that narrative. mind that the best laid plans can go astray. As Machiavelli The other very important race in Ohio in 2010 is pointed out, fortuna can change quickly. RF for the open United States Senate seat resulting from the decision of one of Ohio’s most potent vote getters, George Voinovich, to step aside. The actors in this very William Binning, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of important play have not been cast. It does appear that on Political Science at Youngstown State University. A the Republican side, Rob Portman, a former Cincinnati former Chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Congressman and an appointee to a number of important Party, he has been involved in a number of gubernatorial posts by President George W. Bush, will be the Republican campaigns in the State of Ohio. 18
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Politics & Perspective
Will the 2010 Elections be a Replay of 1994? Joseph R. Gaylord No two elections are alike. There are too many variables in play. The economy changes, the culture evolves, new leaders and new issues emerge. But I see three important similarities between the GOP’s status in 2010 and in 1994 when Republicans won control of Congress. I also see three differences, which are equally important.
Unusually unified. In both 1994 and 2010, the GOP quickly recovered from the disillusionment of losing a presidential election and forged a united front. Frankly, much of the credit for that unity should go to the Democrats. In both years, a Democratic president was polarizing and Democratic Congressional leaders were hyper-partisan. There’s nothing like fear of a common adversary to unite people. Two months ago, when Republicans lost the U.S. House seat in New York’s 23rd district, Democrats hoped that it signaled the beginning of a civil war in the GOP. But the victory of Scott Brown in the special Senate election in Massachusetts dashed that hope. Brown ran a populist campaign, calling himself independent, and communicating a mix of conservative, moderate and nonpartisan positions. Yet all kinds of Republicans, from all over the country, rallied around him. We have not seen that kind of GOP unity and enthusiasm since Ronald Reagan. Energized by conservative grassroots activism. The GOP leaders in Congress are usually “conservative” in taking action – they tend to be patient and gradual, rather than quick and aggressive. But conservative activists, demanding outright defeat of liberal schemes for more intrusive government, strengthen the resolve of GOP
incumbents and help motivate GOP challengers. Listening to grassroots activists makes Republican leaders more responsive and in touch with public opinion, and thus more effective candidates – in contrast with Democratic incumbents afraid to hold “Town Hall meetings” or engage in debate. Genuinely optimistic. In 1994, the unpopularity of a Democratic president and a Democratic controlled Congress helped convince GOP incumbents and challengers that the off-year election would be a great opportunity to gain seats. As a result, better challenger candidates were recruited, more money was raised, more volunteers got involved, and candidates acted with greater confidence. “Great expectations” can be self-fulfilling that way. Recent elections have given us ample reason to be optimistic about GOP prospects in November. Republicans won resounding victories in three states that Barack Obama carried – governorships in Virginia and New Jersey, and the Senate race in Massachusetts. If a little-known Republican could come from 30 points behind in the polls to win the Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy, the greatest icon of contemporary liberal Democrats, all things seem possible.
Galvanizing Leadership. In 1994, House Republicans were fortunate to have a Teddy Roosevelt type of leader as a catalyst – a hard-charging reformer. That was Congressman Newt Gingrich of Georgia. His spirited challenges to Speakers Tip O’Neill, Jim Wright and Tom Foley inspired fellow Republicans to realize that being in the minority didn’t mean you had to be silent or acquiescent.
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Equally important, he helped recruit good challenger of being shy and overly polite, challengers drew bright candidates. Without credible challengers, of course, lines of contrast with incumbents. Instead of talking like incumbents can’t be beaten. Gingrich not only gave these accountants, they spoke with the conviction of reform. candidates hope and confidence, he also gave them an Instead of wasting money on campaign overhead, they example. They adapted his rhetoric in making the case invested in persuasion. Instead of being fearful of the against the arrogance and corruption of one-party rule, and news media, they used imaginative tactics to create and they adopted his attitude of being a “happy warrior.” sustain the kind of controversy that exposed out-of-touch We don’t yet have a clear national GOP leader who is a incumbents. catalyst in uniting our party, defining our reform message, In Massachusetts, Scott Brown was running for an and developing our campaign strategy. But we do have open Senate seat against the state Attorney General, Martha new leaders emerging – including those who won in New Coakley. Yet he ran a challenger style campaign in the spirit Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts. of 1994. He ran against the arrogance, over-spending and Alternative solutions. The GOP House candidates corruption of the liberal Democratic establishment. And signed and campaigned on a platform of clear, compelling he forced his opponent to defend that establishment. reforms, the “Contract with America.” This accomplished He had the confidence, capital, contrast, controversy a number of things: and creativity to pull off an upset victory – the second “shot It nationalized House races heard ‘round the world.” – not allowing Democratic We don’t yet have a clear incumbents to get away with The Prospects for pretending in their districts to be national GOP leader who this Fall all about constituent service and In 1994, Republicans had is a catalyst in uniting our “bringing home the bacon” while a net gain of 54 seats in the voting for harmful liberal policies party, defining our reform House and 8 in the Senate, in DC. It also enabled GOP taking majority control in both message, and developing our candidates to appeal to a larger campaign strategy. But we do chambers. percentage of voters than the This year Republicans 40 percent who call themselves have new leaders emerging should have major gains, as conservative – offering ideas, well, having the advantages – including those who won like we promote at American of the three similarities with Solutions, which appeal to 70-80 in New Jersey, Virginia and 1994: being unusually unified, percent of voters. The “common being energized by conservative Massachusetts. sense reforms” in the “Contract grassroots activism, and having with America” (e.g. “require all the optimism that goes along laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally with great expectations. to the Congress”) appealed to skeptical independents and But for Republicans to win enough seats to take control disillusioned Democrats. of both House and Senate, the GOP needs to work harder In 2010, the GOP has not done as well in convincing on the three things that are different from 1994: we need non-Republicans that it has alternative solutions to the more GOP leaders who are galvanizing in a positive way; radical proposals of Barack, Nancy and Harry. In the we need to offer clear and compelling alternative solutions, Massachusetts Senate race, Scott Brown gave us a good not just opposition to Democratic legislation; and finally, example. He made clear that he’d be the 41st vote against we need our challenger campaigns to be aggressive, Obamacare, but he also said, “We can go back to the innovative, reform-minded and persuasive. drawing board and do it better.” Can we achieve the last three goals by November? He made clear that he favored sensible reforms – not a With a little more help from the Democrats, I’m very 2,000 page monstrosity that would make things worse. optimistic. RF Innovative challenger campaigns. In 1994, GOP challengers learned from GOPAC and National Republican Joseph R. Gaylord is CEO of American Solutions, a Congressional Committee books and audiotapes that they citizen action network of over 1.5 million members, needed to run campaigns which were opposite those of chaired by Newt Gingrich. In the 1980s, Gaylord entrenched incumbents. They realized they needed five was Executive Director of the National Republican essential things to pull off an upset victory: creativity, Congressional Committee and then directed GOPAC, capital, confidence, contrast, and controversy. a political action committee credited with “the long That new model for challengers led to a new kind of campaign” that in 1994 resulted in the GOP takeover of political entrepreneurship. Challenger campaigns were the House. more aggressive, innovative and persuasive. Instead 20
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The Real State of the Union A balanced response from the GOP JOHN FEEHERY Mr. President: It is a relatively new tradition for the party that One thing you haven’t done is put it all in context is out of power to give a response to the President’s for the American people. You haven’t talked to them State of the Union. about the very real challenges this country faces in This was done initially by Congressional honest terms. Democrats who in the mid-80s desperately wanted to So, what I would like to do is be straight with the give their side of the story in response to President citizens of this great country. Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union Addresses. In the spirit of balance, I would like to talk about They wanted to provide balance. the seven ways this country is, well, out of balance, In the spirit why that lack of of balance, I will balance will hurt provide this response the long-term to your address. health of this You have country, and what given another we should do to well-delivered bring ourselves and glib speech to back into balance. the country. You have attempted to Fiscal convince people Imbalance that everything you have done is fine We can’t and honorable, and continue to everything your spend money opponents have we don’t have done is corrupt and on government misguided. spending we Mr. President … You have continued the You have don’t need. We fiction that all is well in America, and that continued the fiction can’t continue to that all is well in borrow money the state of our union is strong. America, and that from the Chinese government to fight terrorists in Afghanistan. We can’t the state of our union is strong. continue to borrow money today with the promises You have also done all of those things that so that we will pay it back a generation from now. At many presidents have done in the past. You have laid some point, the bills will come due. At some point out your agenda for the new year, you have urged in the not-too-distant future, the interest payments we the Congress (which you control, by the way) to pay on our debt will exceed the money we spend on get moving on last year’s agenda, you have detailed our national defense. At some point, we will either your new spending wish list, and you have kept your have to sharply raise taxes, sharply cut spending, or colleagues moving up and down in their chairs for see inflation spiral out of control. a better part of an hour, all in the hopes of currying Our budget is not just a little out of balance. It favor with the voters. RIPON FORUM Winter 2010
is out of balance in historically high terms. We are deeper in debt than we have ever been in our nation’s history. Our debt as a percentage of GDP is at a higher percentage than at any time since the Second World War. This is unsustainable and unnecessary. Just a decade ago, we had a budget surplus. We need to get back to a budget surplus so we can start paying off some of this debt.
future. Our national budget tells the story. Social Security and Medicare cost the federal treasury well north of a trillion dollars a year (last year, it was $1.152 trillion). Last year, we spent about $70 billion on education (at the federal level) and children’s health care. We need to find a way to achieve a better balance on that spending allocation.
Private and Public Sector Imbalance
Trade is an essential part of any growing and Without a robust, vibrant, and large private sector, thriving economy. But trade, by its very nature, is a the public sector won’t have the resources to operate. two-way transaction. You trade something of value After all, somebody has to pay the taxes to fund the to me and I trade something of value back to you. government. But over the last couple of decades, the Over the last 15 years, we have traded our dollars for public sector has threatened to eclipse the private consumer products of all kinds, and, unfortunately, sector in its size and its cost. This imbalance has dire to a much lesser extent, we have traded our products budgetary implications, at the local, state and federal to people in other level. countries for their For example, version of dollars. while the private A healthy sector has largely trading relationship a b a n d o n e d means that the trade defined benefit in products and pension plans, money is roughly in understanding balance. We have that individual a healthy trading companies can’t relationship with afford them, the Europe, to a large public sector extent. We don’t continues to insist have a healthy on them. But trading relationship that leads to large with China. They budget problems make all the products at all levels of Our budget is not just a little out of and we consume government. balance. It is out of balance in historically Another example them all. This needs to change for a with high terms. We are deeper in debt than we comes long-term, balanced labor contracts. have ever been in our nation’s history. relationship between Government jobs our economies. are as close to The Chinese permanent as just need to consume more of our products and we need to about anything can be in this life, no matter what the consume less of theirs. performance of the government employee. In the private sector, employees have to perform or they risk Age Resource Imbalance losing their jobs. This imbalance builds resentment A nation that spends considerably more on between those who work in the government and those its senior citizens than it does on its young people who don’t. is a nation that is looking not to the future for its We need to seek greater parity between the two. We inspiration, but to its past. certainly shouldn’t give the public sector employees a We don’t spend enough making our kids ready to better deal than they can get in the private sector. compete for the future. We don’t spend enough on education, we don’t invest enough in teacher quality, Wealth Imbalance and we don’t do everything we can to make America’s Democrats look at the gnawing wealth imbalance future brighter. We can’t, because we spend so much in this country and see that the rich are making too of our resources on senior citizens, now and in the much. I see the great wealth imbalance and think 22
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that the poor and the working class aren’t making enough. I believe that the marketplace should and does accurately assess the worth that each employee brings to the market. We shouldn’t try to manipulate the market to bring the rich and poor closer together. We should try to improve the worth of the worker so we can make the poor richer. Life-long education and worker-retraining is a necessary component in making the poor more productive. Making communities safer, keeping drugs out of the hands of kids, and improving the chances for families on the margins is another part. The President has authorized a surge in Afghanistan. Perhaps it is time for a surge in our most isolated and distressed communities to help them climb out of poverty.
This all comes to my final point. The American people want Republicans and Democrats and independents to all work together, free of spite, in a spirit of bipartisanship. That’s not going to happen any time soon. But hard-won bipartisan compromise can and should happen. Right now, the political system is leaning severely to the left, while the country is leaning slightly to the right. Liberal Democrats run the House, the Senate and, of course, the President is the leader of the liberal Democrats. But according to polls, only 20 percent of the country sees themselves as liberal. What the system needs now, more than ever, is divided government. This will give the President a counterweight, to bring him closer in line with the wishes and hopes National Security of most Americans, Imbalance who are centrist in their It is time for ideological makeup. us to reconsider the Mr. President, the basic premise that has dominated the national purpose of the response security discussions for to your State of the the last 50 years. It is Union address is to the “I’ll buy, if you fly” provide the American philosophy. We take care people with both sides of of the national security the argument, to give the Government jobs are as close to interests of all the Western viewers a more balanced permanent as just about anything world (including Japan), assessment of the world. and they allow us to use Balance is an important can be in this life, no matter what pieces of their countries in life, in policy the performance of the government attribute to store our weapons, and in politics. employee. In the private sector, planes and armed services I believe that in personnel. many key ways, America employees have to perform or they In the second half of is dangerously out of risk losing their jobs. the 20 th century, this all balance. It is time that made perfect sense. The we seek greater balance rest of the world needed as we work together to our robust presence to keep the Soviet Union at bay and move this country forward. RF to impose stability in an instable world. It also made sense because America, with its economic superiority, John Feehery is a former congressional aide. He is could afford it. Well, we can’t afford it anymore. also the founder and president of The Feehery Group If our allies want the promise of American (www.thefeeherygroup.com), a boutique advocacy economic security, they should start helping us pay for firm that focuses on communications and government it. If they don’t want it, we should pull our troops affairs strategy. out. RIPON FORUM Winter 2010
The Blue Dogs:
Are they all bark and no bite? BURDETT LOOMIS Any conversation about moderates in the 111th disproportionately from rural areas and southern states, Congress begins by focusing on the Blue Dog Democrats and are thus easily stereotyped as across-the-board in the U.S. House. Although centrist Senate Democrats conservative Democrats. Second, they make up a wellwield more power, the cleverly named Blue Dog Coalition organized, formal caucus in the U. S. House; would-be gets the lion’s share of attention. And let’s face it, the members must apply to join (some are rejected), members House Blue Dog Democrats, those fifty or so fiscal must attend most meetings to remain in good standing, conservatives on the right side of their party, have had a and 60 percent approval is needed to endorse a coalition great ride. position. Although these legislators maintain strong ties to Established in the wake of the 1994 GOP takeover each other, it is their stated commitment to fiscal restraint of the House, they have consistently won broad that gives the Blue Dog Coalition its potential clout. coverage for their various As veteran Rep. pronouncements, usually Dennis Moore (D-Kansas) on issues of fiscal restraint, observed, “Our focus is key deficits, and governmental – on the economic issues of growth. During the 12 balanced budget and paying years of Republican House for program (Paygo). We majorities, the Blue Dogs don’t take positions on social were a bit of a curiosity, issues.” It is no wonder that though never a major force, in journalists turn to the Blue that Speaker Dennis Hastert Dogs as a good story; they decreed that only bills that often personify conflicts could be passed with a strong inside the Democratic Republican majority in the caucus by opposing the House would be brought up. powerful party leadership Thus, negotiating with Blue and offering a centrist No question that the Blue Dogs Dogs – who might well have counter-narrative to that of tried to moderate their party’s been interested – was rare on Speaker Pelosi and a liberal major issues. majority. fiscal policies, both on the floor Starting in 2007, Given a catchy name and behind closed doors. But did and a clear organizational however, the Blue Dogs appeared to gain real structure, Blue Dogs they accomplish much? That’s leverage, given the provide journalists a simple another story… Democrats’ 35-seat margin way to touch base with in the 110th Congress. With centrist Democrats – get a about 235 Democrats in the House majority, the fifty Blue quote from a leader like Mike Ross of Arkansas and move Dogs should have been able to move legislation to the on. This is problematic in at least three major ways. right – toward what political scientists call the median First, the Coalition is often split on given issues; point of the chamber. No question that the Blue Dogs second, beyond fiscal concerns, its members hold widely tried to moderate their party’s fiscal policies, both on the divergent views (say, on abortion or gun control); and floor and behind closed doors. But did they accomplish third, the Blue Dogs are all Democrats. To be sure, their much? That’s another story – and a lesson, perhaps, in centrist views pull them away from their leaders on some the difficulties of practicing moderate politics in a highly issues, but (save for the recent defection of Alabama’s partisan age. Parker Griffith) they remain members of the Democratic Who, then, are the Blue Dogs? First, they come caucus, whose careers depend in part on how well they can 24
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work with the leadership. Coalition members argue strongly that it does, by Moreover, as Democrats they agree with many of their bringing like-minded legislators together and providing a party’s initiatives. In fact, Blue Dogs almost never vote as voice for fiscal moderates. As for impact, however, the a separate bloc to oppose a major party position. And in the answer is less clear. Despite the fears of some liberals and three-plus years since Democrats won control of the House, the attention of many journalists, there is little evidence it has not happened at all. From TARP to stimulus funds to that Blue Dog votes have made much of a difference. health care reforms, Blue Dogs simply do not constitute a Whether they have significantly altered the Democrats’ cohesive or powerful force in agenda may be in the eye congressional voting. of the beholder, with House From TARP to stimulus funds Rather, their members leaders acknowledging few to health care reforms, Blue argue that their voices are adjustments and Blue Dogs heard within the Democratic seeing real modifications on Dogs simply do not constitute caucus, in committees, and given issues, such as Paygo. a cohesive or powerful force in in private conversations with In the end, actual congressional voting. the party leadership and the substance may not matter president. This claim of insider much. The Blue Dog brand influence over the agenda and name is convenient for on specific issues is credible, but difficult to pin down. the press to use, standing broadly, if inaccurately, for all Ironically, the Democrats’ likely loss of, say, 25 seats moderate-conservative Democrats across all issues. in the 2010 mid-term elections, would reduce Blue Dog The Blue Dog narrative continues to work, even as the numbers in the House, while increasing their clout. Were Coalition’s impact remains open to question. RF there 230 or so Democrats in the next congress, fewer than 20 Blue Dog defections could determine the outcome Burdett Loomis is a professor of political science at the of key votes, and the Coalition might well exercise both University of Kansas and author of a recent study on the voting and agenda-setting power. Blue Dogs entitled, “Blue Dog House Democrats: Lead So, does the existence of the Blue Dogs matter? Dogs or Mythical Beasts?”
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RIPON FORUM Winter 2010
The Archie Manning of American politics Lou Zickar To young Americans today, Archie Manning is best known as the father of Peyton and Eli. But to those who grew up watching the game of football in the 1970s and 1980s, he is perhaps better known as one of the finest quarterbacks never to win the Super Bowl. A two-time pro bowler and NFC offensive player of the year, Archie spent most of his career playing for the New Orleans Saints. Long before Katrina devastated the Crescent City, the Saints were known as the biggest disaster on the Gulf Coast. During Archie’s tenure as quarterback, the Saints compiled a record of 4196. But no one ever blamed him for the losses. In the words of sportswriter John Fennelly, the fans viewed Archie as “a terrifically talented QB,” but also knew that “the teams he played for were hapless to say the least.” One year into his young administration, President Barack Obama is viewed as different things to different people. To some Republicans he is a socialist, while to some Democrats he is a saint. To some on the left he is a savior, while to some on the right he is a threat. Now, with polls showing that the President is hemorrhaging support among independents and those in the political center, another view is beginning to take hold — namely, that Barack Obama is the Archie Manning of American politics, the one shining star on an otherwise hapless team. On issue after issue this past year, Obama has called a play only to have others on the field let him down. On the economic stimulus package, the president called for legislation that didn’t just “throw money at our problems.” 26
Then he handed the ball off to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who proceeded to do just that by including the biggest spending increase since World War II in the 1,071page bill. On the climate change measure, the president called for legislation in which special interests didn’t overshadow “common sense.” Then he handed the ball off to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, who proceeded to defy common sense by including the largest tax increase in history in the 1,427-page bill. And in the health care reform debate, the president called for legislation that would not put “government in charge of your health insurance.” Then he handed the ball off to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who proceeded to give government a massive new role in health care by including 111 new federal bureaucracies in the 1,990-page bill. On each of these issues, Obama took the snap from the center, then watched as his teammates took the handoff and ran to the left. The result is that independent voters are now leaving him in droves. The numbers speak for themselves. In the spring, numerous polls showed the president had an approval rating of over 60 percent among those in the political center. By the end of the year, that number had dropped to below 45 percent. As Democratic pollster Doug Schoen noted in the New York Daily News: “That erosion can only be called a cratering of support. The single biggest reason independents are breaking away from Democrats is that they feel he is
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spending too much money, increasing the deficit and not of independents in his successful campaign to become the addressing the nation’s problems in a bipartisan way.” commonwealth’s next governor. Of course, it should also be noted that Obama himself The Brown/McDonnell blueprint for victory represents remains very popular. In fact, a recent poll by John Zogby not just the best hope for Republicans in 2010, but the worst found that 52 percent of Americans are proud to have him as nightmare for Democrats. It is a blueprint that stresses their president. But then, Archie Manning was popular, too. issues over ideology and value over values. And the people of New Orleans were certainly proud to have It is also a blueprint very similar to the one Obama him as their quarterback. based his campaign on last The difference, though, year — one that seeks to ....with polls showing that the is when fans were unhappy govern from the center, President is hemorrhaging support with Archie’s team, they and one that, unfortunately, would sit in the stands Obama’s teammates have among independents and those in wearing brown paper bags now chosen to ignore. the political center, another view is over their heads with the Nearly 25 years after word “Aints” written across Archie Manning retired beginning to take hold — namely, the front. from football, his old team, that Barack Obama is the Archie But they would still the Saints, are in the Super Manning of American politics, the come to the games. For Bowl. In large measure, Obama and his teammates, their success this year one shining star on an otherwise the problem is much worse. has come because they hapless team. If independents are unhappy have found another great with the Democrats in the quarterback in Drew Brees. midterm elections this More than anything November, they will either stay at home or switch their though, the success of the Saints is due to the fact that their allegiance to the other side. great quarterback is finally surrounded by good talent and That is exactly what happened this January in the team is all on the same page. Massachusetts, where Scott Brown won 65 percent of If only Obama were so lucky. RF independent voters in his upset victory for Ted Kennedy’s seat in the United States Senate. And it’s what happened Lou Zickar is the editor of The Ripon Forum. last fall in Virginia, where Bob McDonnell won 62 percent
Ideas that matter, since 1965.
RIPON FORUM 2007 RIPON FORUMApril/May Winter 2010
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Name: U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson Hometown: Cape Girardeau, Missouri Occupation: Member of Congress Previous Jobs: Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, American Insurance Association; Director of State Relations and Grassroots Programs, National Restaurant Association; Deputy Communications Director, National Republican Congressional Committee Individual(s) who inspired me as a child: My father, Ab Hermann, who was the executive director of the RNC in the 1960’s. He was charged with the task of uniting our party and redefining the Republican Party to a new generation of conservatives using new technologies and media – our challenges today are much the same as the ones he took on 50 years ago. Historical figure(s) I would most like to meet: Abraham Lincoln – he had to fight to preserve our Union and, though the challenges are different today, we have to stop runaway federal spending and work harder to preserve individual freedoms in order to guarantee the blessings of liberty for future generations of Americans. Issue facing America that no one is talking about: People may be talking about how the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy is hurting, but no one is talking about the changes we must make. For starters, we should expand tax incentives for American businesses to invest in modernizing equipment and to expand R&D efforts. We should also emphasize business expensing for all kinds and sizes of American businesses, instead of depreciation, to speed the benefits of tax treatments to the U.S. economy at a critical time. Finally, we must make wise choices in government to curb wasteful and redundant spending in favor of investments in public infrastructure – chiefly transportation infrastructure – to create lasting, stable jobs in America. What the GOP must do to reclaim its congressional majority: Simply put, but not so simple to do, we must return America to the days when an entrepreneur could make his idea a profitable reality entirely within the United States. Today, great business and manufacturing ideas from America are assembled in Mexico using labor from Central America, capital from Japan, energy from Brazil and the Middle East, and packaging from China. The call centers to answer questions about the resulting product are in India, and the only thing made in America is the credit card transaction to buy the thing. Public-private partnerships to achieve this goal should be a staple of a smaller, more streamlined government that encourages American economic productivity.
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The Ripon SocieTy
2010 policy & politics Dialogue Series Winter ‘10 confirmed schedule of events
Republican Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives “The Year Ahead in Congress” January 27, 2010
Chairman, National Republican Congressional Committee “Battle for the House” February 3, 2010
Ranking Republican House Budget Committee “Fight Over the 2010 Budget” February 25, 2010
Chairman, National Republican Senatorial Committee “Battle for the Senate” March 10, 2010
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