Ok, a disclaimer. This is the first time I've tried to upload a photo with a post, and I have no idea where the darn thing is going to land! So to start, I want to make sure all of you know of the internet "Hey Girl" meme (rhymes with seem) that's out there for Paul Ryan. What a way to put a laugh into a day!
But that's why I made my own. You see, for all the backbiting taking place right now in the Republican U.S. Senate primary, there's one thing that can't be disputed: U.S. Senate candidate Mark Neumann helped Paul Ryan understand those budget numbers early in Ryan's career.
Ryan was a staffer for Kansas Congressman Sam Brownback when he first arrived in Washington, D.C., and Neumann was then the Wisconsin 1st Congressional District Congressman. I heard stories from a couple of people this past weekend that Neumann and Ryan used to sit on the Capitol steps and talk budget and numbers.
Later when Neumann made the decision to run against Russ Feingold in 1998, he couldn't be on the ballot for both slots, and so he suggested to Ryan it was time to join the Congress. Don't construe that as Neumann hand-picked Ryan. There were several interested in the spot at the time, but Ryan easily rose to the top of the list, and Neumann was pleased to help the usually Democrat district stay Republican. Neumann made the effort to introduce Ryan to the people he represented.
I know there are a lot of people who consider themselves "good" Republicans who love to dump a heap of hate on Mark Neumann. Heck there's even a radio talk show host who spent a good amount of time a couple of years ago making up stuff about Neumann and ethanol. None of it turned out to be true.
One thing is very consistent about Neumann: That which makes him a lackluster candidate to some, his competitiveness, his tenacity, his stubbornness, his wont for detail, will make him an excellent Senator from the state of Wisconsin.
Consider the other candidates:
Tommy Thompson now sits on pharmaceutical boards to pad his income. Do you really think go-along-to-get-along Tommy! is going to have your taxpayer-back covered when he votes the next health care bill? I'd bet on footsie under the bedsheets to keep his coffers filled.
Did you know that back in the 90's when Neumann defied then Speaker of the House Newt Gringrich on a vote, Tommy Thompson, the governor at the time, called Neumann to get him to cave in on it. No wonder Gingrich was in town stumping for Tommy! this past week.
Eric Hovde may be America's gift to hedge fund management, but he hasn't lived in Wisconsin for years. The term is carpetbagger - someone who picks up his household and pretends to have roots in a community where there's an open seat for office.
Heck, even Tammy Baldwin, the Democrat candidate calls Thompson and Hovde the "Washington twins."
Jeff Fitzgerald may have orchestrated an assembly win for Governor Walker, but he hasn't mounted a credible campaign.
So by elimination, you have Mark Neumann. He's managed the pubic support through fundraising. He has a number of great national endorsements - Senate Conservatives, Tea Party Express, Club for Growth, and even Erick Erickson from RedState.com - and he has the momentum. Insiders now say Neumann will win.
To be honest, Neumann is never my choice by elimination. He's always my first pick. If you had a chance to spend time with him, you'd understand why. There is a quiet integrity that permeates the room when he's there. He never glad-hands. True, he can be intense sometimes, but it's with such sincerity that you know it to be genuine.
Listening to Neumann fire up on an issue is like attending and old-fashioned tent revival. Every once in a while you catch a glimpse of a staff person in the back of the room jumping up and down pointing to a watch when Neumann is engrossed in a topic.
Remember, what makes the best Senator may not make the candidate who gives you the warm fuzzies. Even if you've heard things to make you think otherwise, check those details out before you vote for someone else tomorrow. Send Mark Neumann to the Senate so he can work side-by-side with Paul Ryan. Again.