GOP, Dems have different takes on national spotlightProminent Republicans who spoke at this year's state GOP convention over the weekend said the country was watching what was happening in Wisconsin.
By: Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Prominent Republicans who spoke at this year's state GOP convention over the weekend said the country was watching what was happening in Wisconsin.
The theme popped up in speech after speech at the convention. Menominee Falls Republican Jim Sensenbrenner told the crowd that President Obama's political machine was already here, and what they saw with massive protests at the state Capitol was part of a national plan.
"And that's because Wisconsin is Ground Zero in 2012 and we can never forget it," said Sensenbrenner.
Janesville GOP Congressman Paul Ryan--the author of a controversial plan to change Medicare--also said the county was watching Wisconsin.
"I mean, they really are,” says Ryan. “The clash of philosophies and the battle of ideas is right here in Wisconsin. We will largely determine the direction of this country because of our ten electoral votes, because of the reforms we have here in Wisconsin."
The theme also carried on down to state political leaders, including state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who helped pass the Governor's plan to scale back bargaining rights for public workers.
"The reforms we're making in Madison make us the tip of the spear nationwide."
Republicans aren't the only ones to point this out. During the protests at the state Capitol, one of the regular chants was "The whole world is watching." But state Democratic Party Chairman Graeme Zielinski said it was Republicans who started this battle.
"They have chosen this fight, they have brought this fight to the people of Wisconsin and against the middle class of Wisconsin,” says Zielinski. “They have done this, they've made us a petri dish for these oddball right wing beliefs."
Zielinski said the fact that Republican ideas had caused division among residents was nothing to be proud of, and went against Wisconsin tradition.