The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a long, interesting profile of Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Krystal Ball issues warning to Biden supporters Saagar Enjeti: Crenshaw's conservatism will doom future of GOP MORE (R-Wis.) this weekend that contains at least a few nuggets.

The piece centers on Ryan's ability to appeal to the conservative base while maintaining a moderate image in a not-so-conservative district.
Of the 50 most conservative lawmakers on that list - a group dominated by Southerners - Ryan was one of only three whose districts were won by Obama. None of the other 49 had a seat that resembled Ryan's - a blue-collar, Rust Belt district that leans modestly Republican but has alternated in national elections between red (Bush in 2000 and 2004) and blue (Obama in 2008)...

Ryan's success has a lot to do with his "happy warrior demeanor," allowing him to maintain "conservative first principles" (as Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner describes it) while not appearing to be a demagogue. But he tacks to the middle on at least a couple of issues. Consider his thoughts on unions:
"A lot of conservatives just think unions are nothing but bad. That's just not true," says Ryan, who grew up in a city with a huge United Auto Workers local and broke with most conservative Republicans by voting for the auto bailout in December....

..."They're people who are just trying to make their lives better, people trying to collectively negotiate a better standard of living for themselves. What the heck is wrong with that?"

And on whether homosexuality is a choice:
"The way I see that...may be informed by just friendships I've had, people I grew up with in Janesville who didn't choose to be gay. It wasn't an orientation they decided to experiment (with) or choose. It's just who they are. They were just created that way."

And so how does Ryan strike the balance? We get a glimpse of the answer when the profile captures Ryan dealing with an angry, conservative audience:
At a recent listening session that Ryan held in East Troy, a constituent told him she was so disturbed by Obama she could hardly open her eyes in the morning.

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"I think he wants to destroy private enterprise. I think he's really out to destroy this country," she said.

Ryan let the comment go, one of several he fielded over the course of six listening sessions that day from conservatives angry and exasperated over Obama and Democrats in Congress.

"It's like you're their psychiatrist but you don't charge them. They just want to get this stuff off their chest to you so they can vent. So just let them do it," Ryan explained later, paraphrasing the advice his wife, Janna, once gave him about handling what Ryan called "comments in frustration."