By Elizabeth DiNovella on February 08, 2012

This week, conservatives will be gathering in Washington, D.C., to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Dubbed "Mardi Gras for the Right" by one rightwing reporter, the three-day festival "celebrates everything conservatives hold dear, including free-market capitalism."

Conservatives hold Wisconsin dear, as two Republican Badgers are giving keynote speeches. Representative Paul Ryan from Janesville takes the stage Thursday night, while Governor Scott Walker addresses the crowd on Friday night.

Both Ryan and Walker have national ambition, even if they demur when the subject comes up. In that ever-so-revealing Koch prank call, Walker crowed about his national media appearances, and the good feedback his was getting from his fellow Republicans, adding, "You start going down the list there's a lot of us new governors that got elected to do something big."

Wisconsin has emerged as a crucial swing state in the 2012 election, even though the state went for Barack Obama in 2008 and John Kerry in 2004.

In 2010, though, Walker and the GOP took over both legislative chambers and the governor's mansion.

Obama's campaign team has drawn up five strategies to win the Presidency in 2012. All five presume Wisconsin will go for Obama.

Wisconsin is purple these days. It's not a safe bet for either party in 2012.

But in 2010, the GOP bet big on Wisconsin and won. And its victory will be on full display at CPAC this week.

If you liked this story by Elizabeth DiNovella, the Culture Editor of The Progressive magazine, check out her story "Occupy the Super Bowl."

Follow Elizabeth DiNovella @lizdinovella on Twitter.


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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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