Wisconsin was the birthplace of modern progressivism, with the Governorship of Robert La Follette, Sr. from 1900-1906.
Regarded by scholars as the greatest Governor in the history of all states throughout American history, La Follette promoted regulation of corporations, labor protections, environmental conservation, the direct primary, and the role of women and intellectuals in government policy making.
A Republican, when many believed government was good, he would go on to the US Senate, and be regarded as one of the top five US Senators of all time, and his son Philip would promote progressive reform as Governor in the 1930s.
Others would be in state government and in Congress promoting what La Follette believed in, including Democrats such as William Proxmire, Gaylord Nelson, Russ Feingold, and Herbert Kohl.
But two years ago, Wisconsin took a sharp turn to the right, defeating Russ Feingold for reelection to the Senate, and putting into office a Tea Party activist, Ron Johnson.
At the same time, Scott Walker was elected Governor, and declared war on labor rights, women, and education, and was able to win a recall election through the power of the funding of the Koch Brothers and other right wing interests.
Reince Preibus, the Republican state chairman, succeeded Michael Steele as Republican National Chairman.
And Paul Ryan, in the House of Representatives since 1998, became head of the Budget Committee, and promoted the Ryan Plan, which wishes to destroy Medicare as we know it, and calls for major cuts in Pell Grants, the end of ObamaCare, privatization of Social Security over time, the gutting of Medicaid, and massive cuts in Food Stamps, among other aspects of the plan.
And now, Ryan could be a heartbeat away from the Presidency next January 20, were Mitt Romney to win the Presidency on November 6.
The battle between progressivism and conservatism is in full heat, and Wisconsin is the center of the battle, and one wonders what Robert La Follette, Sr. is thinking in the afterlife, as he realizes what has happened in his beloved state!