Tea Party activists are taking a special pride in Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan’s ascendance to the Republican presidential ticket.
The decision by Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, to name 42-year-old Ryan as his vice presidential running mate “is an acknowledgement by the Romney campaign that this election has to be about the issues that Tea Partiers care a lot about,” said Matt Kibbe, president and chief executive of FreedomWorks, a group that supports lower taxes and less government. “There’s definitely been a lot more energy since the announcement,” he said
While many Tea Partiers consider Ryan an ally rather than a full-fledged member of the movement, he has a long history with the Tea Party in his home state.
Nancy Milholland, a co-organizer of the Racine, Wisconsin Tea Party, said that, with the exception of one rally in January in freezing temperatures and snow, Ryan has attended all of the Racine chapter’s major rallies over the past few years.
Ryan reminds Tea Party activists like herself of the former Republican President Ronald Reagan, said Milholland. “He is for smaller, more efficient government, for reform,” lower taxes, and free markets, she said. “It’s like he’s channeling Ronald Reagan, he even looks like Reagan,” she said, referring to his swath of wavy black hair.
Milholland has created a hashtag on Twitter standing for “Got Paul Ryan’s Back Army.”
“He’s one of us,” she said.