ON-Lion Letter
"What is it about big ideas and the state of Wisconsin?" begins an article by Warren Kozak in the December 2012 issue of Wisconsin Interest.

"The state doesn't have the largest population -- it ranks 20th out of 50.  It's not the wealthiest -- Wisconsin's median income puts it 21st from the top.  And it's not even that big -- again the state in square miles is close to the exact middle at 23 (and well behind its larger neighbors, Minnesota, 12, and Michigan, 11)," Kozak continues.

"Wisconsin is pretty much near the middle of everything.  It's even situated close to the middle of the country," he writes.

"But for some strange reason for over the past century, Wisconsin, that middle-of-everything state, has also been the incubator of some of the greatest political reform ideas in the United States.  Let's call it Badger exceptionalism.  In fact, many of the most original concepts to benefit the common man since the dawn of the industrial revolution began not in Washington, D.C., or California, New York or Massachusetts.  They started right here, in places like Madison, Milwaukee and little Primrose."

Kozak is a Wisconsin native, frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, and the author of the recently published e-book, Presidential Courage: Three Speeches That Changed America.  Wisconsin Interest is published by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI), which is substantially supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.

"Major new concepts like welfare reform and school choice began in Wisconsin under [Gov. Tommy] Thompson in the 1990s and then took hold throughout the country," according to Kozak in "Badger Exceptionalism."  "The ground-breaking ideas have continued with a new wave of younger Republican conservatives -- Scott Walker's fight to break the hold of public sector unions in order to reverse huge unsustainable deficits and the celebrated fiscal policies of a congressman from Janesville, Paul Ryan.  It doesn't end there.  The new chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, also comes from Wisconsin."

Now, Kozak concludes, "a younger generation of Republican transformers is writing whole new chapters of the state's history books … and the country's as well."
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