When Paul Ryan was elected to Congress, there really was a "Detroit West" in Wisconsin. His votes and his policies were not entirely responsible for the collapse of the auto industry in southeastern Wisconsin.
But Ryan did reject the pleas of his constituents -- members of UAW Local 438 in Oak Creek, UAW Local 95 in Janesville, UAW Local 72 in Kenosha -- to side with them and against the dictates of the speculators and the outsourcing pioneers on issues of trade and industrial policy.
There are empty factory buildings and vacant lots across southeastern Wisconsin that can testify to what happens when Washington insiders like Ryan side with Wall Street, rather than Main Street.
That's something voters in states that still have significant auto production should keep in mind as Ryan promises to do for them what he did for "Detroit West." And it's something Joe Biden ought to be prepared to discuss when he meets up with Ryan in a vice presidential debate that can and should focus on the jobs and manufacturing issues that were so missing from the first presidential debate.
For more on the GOP's support of free trade at the expense of US jobs, check out John Nichols on Romney and NAFTA.