Wisconsin’s state motto is “Forward.” It may be President Obama’s campaign motto too, but it’s the “cheeseheads” who have truly embodied it. Last June, Wisconsin took a big step forward when voters fought back and reelected Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch, and a slate of state legislators over union and special interests. The election was a warning flag for November. Obama lost the public sector union battle in Wisconsin and now Wisconsin is bringing the fight to his doorstep in the form of a smiling, mild-mannered debate wunderkind named Paul Ryan.
Paul Ryan not only provides an injection of youth and an added fiscal layer to the Romney campaign; he’s also favored by the grassroots. In June, I joined Wisconsin tea party groups in Racine as they rallied for Walker, Kleefisch, and Van Wanggaard. Congressman Ryan joined the rally and stayed for a large part of it. He met with Wisconsin grassroots leaders before and after his speech and gave several interviews to Wisconsin citizen journalists. He was accessible to grassroots, which ameliorates a weakness of the Romney campaign.
The selection of someone like Ryan reflects a concerted effort to infuse a grassroots vibe into the campaign — and possibly some Wisconsin schadenfreude, too.