Midwest lame duck: Wisconsin

Nora Taylor

After years of being the butt of the rest of the country’s jokes, the Midwest is finally getting the attention it deserves. President Barack Obama and most of his cabinet hail from the great state of Illinois. Minnesota has been garnering national attention for its much contested, celebrity-infused senate race. Michigan has the illustrious “Big Three” from Detroit. Your turn, Wisconsin.
Gone are Wisconsin’s glory days and those who represented all that was good and true in the badger state: Russ Feingold, Miller and Brett Farve. With a drama-free election, underwhelming football season – so I’m told – and failure to compete with the delicious Budweiser American Ale, Wisconsin is falling faster than (Insert economy joke here!).
Between Al Franken running for Senate and Rod Blagojevich’s aggressive campaign to become the new Boss Tweed, Wisconsin politics have, in comparison, lost their luster. While Steve Kagen ups the oil factor a bit, there is still a considerable want of skeeze. Herb Kohl’s getting pretty old; ask yourself, should something happen to him, would Doyle have the gumption to auction his seat off like Blago – I don’t think so.
Rahm Emmanuel is totally the newer, sexier Russ Feingold so there goes that card. And, much like Urkel wooed a resistant Laura with the lethal combination of his geekish charm and persistence, so will Roland Burris woo the nation.
Brett Favre has left the state for greener pastures. With his absence, I can’t even remember the last time a Wisconsin athlete came up when I was Googling hot guys.
Miller merged with Coors this summer to form – you guessed it – MillerCoors. While we are indebted to the company for bringing us Blue Moon, Leinenkugel and that delectable Miller High Life guy – a man with a steady job and plenty of unsolicited advice – I like the company, and mark my words, will “put a ring on it.” But I digress. While the aforementioned are some of life’s little joys, they are instantly negated by the holy trinity of awful: Keystone, Milwaukee’s Best and Sparks.
Speaking of beer, Wisconsin did gain some notable mention in The New York Times recently as a haven for binge drinking. According to the article, Wisconsin leads the nation in drunk driving deaths and boasts an impressive 5,000 liquor licenses. It also notes that bar culture is a huge part of Wisconsin’s state identity, quoting one resident as saying, “On game days, a buddy of mine will come to the bar with his 2-year-old, his 8-year-old and his 10-year-old, [and] he might get a little drunk. But his wife just has a few cocktails. It’s no big deal. Everybody has a good time.”
So you see, beer is to Wisconsin as “Fargo” accents are to Minnesota and Kanye West is to Illinois – kind of embarrassing to be associated with, but too damn good to give up.
In short, Wisconsin is cold. Very cold. And not very sensational. Wisconsin is officially the Spitsbergen of the United States, without the prestige of the northernmost things. Bested by the U.P. once again.