Is Wisconsin the New GOP 'Power State' for 2016?

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Champion of the right,
“Forward”, our motto,
God will give thee might!

(The final stanza of the Wisconsin state song.)

Currently, on the front lines of all the partisan political battles are three Wisconsinites uniquely positioned to make Democratic-leaning Wisconsin the 2016 Republican power state.

The success of this trio would inject new meaning into those century-old state song lyrics in a state where no Republican presidential candidate has won since 1984.

The three, Congressman [mc_name name=’Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000570′ ], Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus, and Governor Scott Walker all close friends and in their forties –  have great potential to dominate the 2015 -16 political and presidential landscape.

Let’s start with Congressman [mc_name name=’Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000570′ ] who was just elected to his eighth term and is now the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Ryan, a mild-mannered “policy wonk” best known for his federal budget expertise, was thrust into the national spotlight as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate in 2012.

By all accounts, Ryan was an asset to the ticket and could have run for the 2016 nomination himself. Instead, he chose to focus on leading his chief tax-writing committee now tasked with developing an alternative to Obamacare. This is in addition to presiding over all the usual contentious fiscal and budget issues — the outcome of which will detract or enhance the GOP’s chances of winning the White House in 2016.

As for Ryan’s direct involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has appointed Ryan to serve as Chairman of the Presidential Trust overseeing the coordination of millions of dollars that will be spent between the RNC and the nominee’s campaign.

“There is no one better suited for this important role than my friend and my Congressman, [mc_name name=’Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000570′ ],” said Chairman Priebus in the press release.

This leads us back to January 16, 2015, when Reince Priebus was reelected to become the RNC’s longest serving chairman.  Previously, he had chaired Wisconsin’s Republican Party before being given the arduous task of rescuing the national party from disarray.

Five years later, Priebus presides over a party that controls both sides of Capitol Hill and  a House with 246 Republican members, the highest number since 1947. His party claims 31 of the nation’s 50 governors and 69 of 99 state legislative chambers.

Priebus has made the RNC competitive fiscally, technologically, and on the ground. Moreover, he is respected by both the Tea Party and “establishment” wings. No small feat!

In his January acceptance speech Priebus said “2016 could be a do-or-die moment for our party.” So does Priebus believe his friend Scott Walker is the man for that moment?

At political forums throughout 2014, Priebus was not shy about voicing admiration for Governor Walker who Priebus helped elect in 2010 in his role as state party chairman. Priebus had bragged how Walker wins the “who do you want to have a beer with on the ballot” contest and that he successfully governs based on his campaign promises.

However since Governor Walker was reelected in November and Priebus, now confronted with mini-vans full of presidential wannabes, must scale back the Walker rah-rah.

But now Walker is generating his own rah-rah — leading early primary state polls and  exciting base voters while not scaring the party’s “establishment wing” concerned about electability. (Of course Priebus IS the leader of the establishment wing.)

As the GOP searches for a leader with popular appeal and a winning message, there are 180 degrees of separation between likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton and the Wisconsin governor. For starters, Walker is a preacher’s son with his own strong Christian faith but famously lacks a college degree. His career and convictions send the professional left into a tizzy. Already there is talk of Walker’s “divisive message for winning the White House.”

Then watch out for union “dirty tricks” since Walker is their public enemy No.1 after he won the union backed 2012 recall election — the first governor to triumph over such an effort.

But unions and the left do not scare Walker, for like Priebus, he also has a “do or die attitude.” Walker’s PAC, aptly named, Our American Revival, recently launched its first video looking and sounding like a slick 2016 campaign commercial. Can we expect an official presidential announcement in the near future?

For now, all politically engaged Americans should watch this Wisconsin trio as one takes action on Capitol Hill, another directs the party infrastructure and the third is a fearless, rising presidential contender  with a record of winning against the odds. And perhaps if they all prevail, at the 2016 RNC convention Ryan, Priebus, and Walker will lead the crowd in singing:

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Champion of the right,
“Forward”, our motto,
God will give thee might!

(At least we know Republicans, unlike Democrats at their 2012 convention, won’t say no  to invoking the name of God.)