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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Can Janesville Recover From Paul. Freaking. Ryan.

The Janesville jinx.

There is no sense of loss or betrayal for me since I've had Paul Ryan's number years ago, but there has to be a huge hole developing in the hopes and dreams of many of his local red state political supporters. Remember it was just a few days before his announced exit that Janesville locals were asked about their rock star politician leaving Congress and most of them said no way, that "he's not a quitter."

But the last time I saw Janesville look this psychologically burned was in the mid-2000's when Janesville-born business dynamo Ken Hendricks spoke publicly about how he came back to Janesville to locate his roofing business only to have Janesville banks reject him for the loans. Hendricks, feeling obviously scorned, said it was Janesville's better-than-thou "country club set" that eventually drove him to Beloit where he built his business to quickly become one of America's most successful men.

The Hendricks Fortune 500 story became a major embarrassment for local movers and shakers. Indeed, Janesville let the big one get away.

Some might think the Janesville GM auto plant was another major letdown for Janesville. But I would argue against that sentiment. The Janesville GM plant was a 90 year success story that any town in America would be happy to duplicate even knowing now how it comes to an end. Eventually, all things must pass.

But the same cannot be said for one Paul Ryan. No person or group I know would ever, after selling an individual as courageous and principled as confidently as his supporters have, do it all over again knowing he would leave them dangling at the most crucial point when things got tough. What Ryan did to those who depended on him most was brutal.

Afterall, Ryan IS a product of Janesville. Even Eric Cantor had more fight in him to face the music when possible rejection was becoming imminent.

But not Paul Ryan. A decision so predictable and lingering so permanent. It's reflection on Janesville won't be erased easily.

Janesville will undoubtedly survive Paul Ryan, but not without feeling once again that collectively - it doesn't recognize authenticity and heart, or the lack thereof - when it needed to the most.


Vox - Ryan sold himself as a deficit hawk. Then he championed a $1.5 trillion tax cut

WaPo -Paul Ryan’s pathetic legacy

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