April 16, 2011

How animalistic, frenzied, loud, rude, and desperate was the Wisconsin Capitol today?

"Andrew Breitbart confronts an angry union mob in Wisconsin," Says Instapundit, quoting Breitbart, who goes on about how ugly the "mob" was today at the Capitol:
[T]he defeats that the union’s leadership have suffered in that time have plunged these losers into an even more animalistic state of frenzy. Still stinging from last week’s election reaffirmation of Gov. Scott Walker’s policy of requiring public sector unions to face some of the economic realities that the rest of us have to deal with, the counter protesters both homegrown and bussed in them were louder, ruder and more desperate than ever....
Whoa! Breitbart's last trip to Madison was February 19th, the first Saturday of the protests, and things were pretty mellow then. But if you've been going to the protests all along, you would never think today was "an even more animalistic state of frenzy" or "louder, ruder and more desperate than ever"! Both Meade and I were saying that the crowd today was... pretty mellow! It's all relative. You should have been here on March 9th, when protesters stormed the Capitol. And some of those days when people were occupying the Capitol were surreal.

But today was distinctive because it was a Tea Party rally, and many people wanted to hear the speakers, especially Sarah Palin. The counter-protesters were there to drown out those speakers. Their earlier anti-Walker protests were about how they wanted to be heard. Over the last 2 months, the anti-Walker protesters have said many times — often directly to me or Meade — that they felt the GOP governor and legislators had the obligation to listen to them, that it was terribly wrong for their voices to be excluded, and that dialogue is the essence of democracy. They made a godawful noise saying that (and more), but what they did today was hypocritical, because today they showed up for the express purpose of denying other people the right to listen. So today was loud and angry, but it was nowhere near as loud and angry as it has been on other days. Nevertheless, today was bad in a different way, a way that betrayed values the anti-Walker protesters had voiced many, many times.

Back to Breitbart:
As I took to the stage, the shouting from those trying to disrupt the Tea Party intensified. Inarticulate shouting becomes their last weapon as their policies crumble. 
The shouting was actually much worse when they thought they could affect the policy. The passage of the bill and Kloppenburg's loss have toned things down.
I thought of the hypocritical calls for civility amidst the dishonestly cynical opportunism of blaming Sarah Palin who shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. 
I never took the calls for civility seriously in the first place, but I have seen so much incivility in the last 2 months that the subject rarely crosses my mind anymore. Maybe Breitbart got his hopes up about civility back in January when Obama made his speech after the Tucson massacre. But I think Breitbart's bringing it up because he's being criticized today for yelling "go to hell" at the protesters (which, you've got to admit, isn't super-nice). If Breitbart signed on to the civility deal, then I can see why he wants to bring it up for the purpose of saying he had the right to punch back since they hit first.

31 comments:

EnigmatiCore said...

The incivility you have seen is downright civil compared to what happens in Seattle, in Philly, in New York, in Washington.

Agitators are more efficient than ever in an internet and smartphone connected world.

This is the new normal. Only more so.

Beta Rube said...

I had not been to any of the goings on so like Breitbart I thought the unionists were shockingly loud and rude.

I don't recall a left wing speaker shouted down by the other side in Wisconsin in all the time I have been politically aware.

The main vibe I got from the union protesters today was their complete sense of entitlement. We were on their turf, talking about their topics, getting in the way of their pay and benefits, and they felt absolutely entitled to tell us to STFU and go away.

It apparently does not cross what passes for their collective mind that we are fellow citizens with first amendment rights, their equals before the law, and by the way we pay a boatload of taxes to guarantee their lifetime health care and early retirement.

manekineko said...

I missed Brietbart! Why wasn't he a pre-announced speaker?

I took my two young boys down down to the capital from Milwaukee. We didn't stay long. Too cold. And we couldn't hear anything. And frankly, I don't care enough about listening to Palin enough to bother sticking around. But, if I had know Brietbart was going to speak . . . .

As for the counter-protests, they can't win elections. All they have been successful at is throwing bratty tantrums. I thought today's behavior looked weak and pathetic. It's a desperate bunch.

edutcher said...

Agree that Breitbart seems to have lost it a bit, but sometimes polite just doesn't work.

Ann Althouse said...

The counter-protesters were there to drown out those speakers. Their earlier anti-Walker protests were about how they wanted to be heard.

There you go again, being logical.

And you, a law professor.

ucman said...

I work in downtown Madison and have witnessed the scene since the start and I fully agree with Breitbart. F-ing this and that has always been one of the staples of the Left's protest language but they took it a step further today. They were looking for confrontation amongst the Tea Party attenders and were pushing their way through the main Tea Party crowd. When I asked them who the rich were (in response to their chant) I was told how I was an F-ing puppet and then one rabid man went on to describe something so vulgar and wouldn't repeat it here. The number of middle fingers being diplayed by the "peaceful" protesters were too many to count as the day progressed. I'm guessing if you were on the peripheral you missed a lot of the action.

shiloh said...

Blah, blah, blah as the AA band played on ...

EnigmatiCore said...

I see Shiloh is the latest incarnation of placeholder, Michael, Doyle, etc.

May not be the exact same person (although has anyone seen them in the same room at one time?) but absolutely the same soul.

Mark O said...

Civil? Of course. Would you mind standing still while I hit you? Nothing personal.

Irene said...

One sign at today's rally read:

"Sarah Welcome to WI.

Please don't Shoot Any of Our Animals.

GOP and Teabaggers are fair game though."

Pogo said...

Government unions want the taxpayers to keep working in their sweatshops for them.

PaulV said...

the angry mobs of leftist protests have begun to work against them as their uncivility is revealed. Anger does not promote trust by independent voters and will entergize tax payers to vote.

JorgXMcKie said...

shiloh is a perfect example of the current Left. When they have no real argument, they resort to trying to shout down their adversaries or to interjecting pathetic mewlings.

shiloh said...

JorgXMcKie, shouting down a conservative at a die hard, right wing ideological blog like Althouse would be pointless.

Let me sum up AA's current fluff in (5) words: Breitbart doesn't like Obama ~ shocking!

lewsar said...

die hard, right wing ideological blog like Althouse

you really need to get out more. you don't really seem to have any idea what "die hard, right wing" means.

"die hard, right wing" voters don't vote for democrats, just like "die hard, left wing" voters don't vote for republicans.

since althouse has stated she voted for obama...

rmblam said...

Being heard isn't their problem, its getting their way that is the problem.

I've been following the committees, and in hour after hour of public testimony the left keep repeating the idea that their voices are not being heard. As they give testimony.....

Moneyrunner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lucius Septimius said...

So, wait ... soi-disant "Progressives" are really a bunch of statist authoritarian hypocrites?

I suppose the only thing there one could debate about would be whether or not the current crop of neo-Coms are self-aware enough or possessing of sufficient reason to actually be hypocrites, since it implies at least some level of awareness.

Regardless, as we've seen once again, the political forces of the Left have fully embraced the tactics of totalitarian fascism.

Even my students are catching on: one of the required books in our curriculum is Hannah Arendt's Totalitarianism. More and more of them are seeing the connections.

Lucius Septimius said...

"It’s why Breitbart is effective and why Palin is effective. Both of them inspire people to action; to get out in the street and become part of an movement."

Perhaps, but it bothers me no end to see a country founded on the best principles of the enlightenment being reduced to Berlin in 1919.

Moneyrunner said...

For some reason, lots of people are giving advice to the Right that they need above all to be “respectable.” Peggy Noonan, Rick Moran and (thanks to the demonstrations in Madison) Ann Althouse are all pointing out how uncouth the protesters are, all the while failing to notice that they are effective. They almost unseated a sitting justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court who shouldn’t have had to battle for his seat against a sacrificial lamb like Kloppenberg. There really is a heckler’s veto. The Left’s leaders who organize these demonstrations are not stupid even if the people who make up the mobs are. They organize the mobs because they know they work.

Demonstrations work. Violent demonstrations work. People who live and teach in ivory towers may not like them, but they influence the people who are closer to the mean streets and who want to be left alone. That’s why “pushing back twice as hard” is not an empty slogan but a time tested tactic. And which is why the call for civility and respectability to the Right is either disingenuous or simply wrong. To win a battle you have to be willing to field and army, get into the struggle and be willing to use the rules that the enemy has created. It’s why Breitbart is effective and why Palin is effective. Both of them inspire people to action; to get out in the street and become part of a movement.

Moneyrunner said...

Perhaps, but it bothers me no end to see a country founded on the best principles of the enlightenment being reduced to Berlin in 1919.
It bothers me also. But as a famous activist once said: “you may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” There is no alternative … correction: the alternative is to let the Left win.

Lucius Septimius said...

re: Moneyrunner

That was weird -- how did my response to your long comment end up appearing earlier on the page?

Space time continuum anomalies abound.

Mary Ann said...

I honestly cannot fathom what the leftists are trying to achieve. Do they think they win anyone over with their uncivil, animalistic behavior? They are truly a scary bunch.

Fen said...

The counter-protesters were there to drown out those speakers. Their earlier anti-Walker protests were about how they wanted to be heard. Over the last 2 months, the anti-Walker protesters have said many times — often directly to me or Meade — that they felt the GOP governor and legislators had the obligation to listen to them, that it was terribly wrong for their voices to be excluded, and that dialogue is the essence of democracy. They made a godawful noise saying that (and more), but what they did today was hypocritical, because today they showed up for the express purpose of denying other people the right to listen.

Fen's Law.

Marshal said...

Breitbart didn't sign on to the "civility deal". He's constantly bringing it up so the less politically involved remember the leftists who pose as moderates are merely playing a role which allows them to protect the radical left better than they could by openly espousing radical views.

Like RV.

Marshal said...

It's interesting that to shiloh a single deviation from the hard left makes one a "die-hard right winger". So by its definition ~75% of America is the die hard right.

Keep that in mind the next time Yglesias or some other idiot is waxing poetic on epistemic closure.

D.D. Driver said...

"They almost unseated a sitting justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court who shouldn’t have had to battle for his seat against a sacrificial lamb like Kloppenberg."

This is a lefty meme that needs to die. Losing the Supreme Court seat is in no way a moral victory for the left. There is a reason why incumbents usually win: the races are usually non-political and so voters usually elect the incumbent.

But, Gableman just beat Butler *two* years ago. (For the record, I actually voted for Butler because I did not like the tenor of the Gableman campaign.) The conservatives went after the seat and took it.

When the left turned the election into a "referendum on Walker" I thought Prosser was toast. The left was just too fired up. In a spring election which always have lower voter turnout, I didn't see any way that Prosser could close the gap.

I was wrong.

The left was mobilized and motivated and they still couldn't get it done.

Now all the left can do is throw tantrums. But, yes, they are really "effective" at being brats.

Meanwhile, the teaparty folks are making and breaking political careers.

Moneyrunner said...

Lucius Septimius: the explanation is easy. I deleted my comment to correct a grammatical mistake. I then re-posted my comment, but the corrected version appeared after your response. Either that or there is a hole in the space-time-continuum

D.D. Driver: The point of my earlier comment was to show the effectiveness of the demonstrations. They made the judicial election a close race because the demonstrations energized the Left. The people who show up at demonstrations are going to vote, and encourage their friends and neighbors to vote. The people who go about their lives don’t vote nearly as often. Voter turn-out in the election was very high by historical standards, 48% of voting age adults. Elections of this kind are easily won by committed groups who fire up their base.

We totally agree on the Tea Party and its effect on the political process. But if the Tea Party becomes anything other than a series of public demonstrations, it will lose its effectiveness. The vital difference of the Tea Party is the public demonstration. Many American – perhaps most Americans – share the Tea Party’s values, but only by going out in the streets and to town hall meetings were these Americans being energized and being heard.

“Get in their faces, punch back twice as hard.” Got a good ring to it.

paul a'barge said...

OK, so the civility thing is over, right?

So, can we attend these gatherings and kick some union ass now?

Big Mike said...

Nevertheless, today was bad in a different way, a way that betrayed values the anti-Walker protesters had voiced many, many times.

You took them seriously? You saw right through the "civility" BS, didn't you?

I can see why he wants to bring it up for the purpose of saying he had the right to punch back since they hit first.

Yup. As far as the unions are concerned it all started when he hit back.

Joanna said...

They were looking for confrontation ... pushing their way through the main Tea Party crowd.

I was in the middle of the crowd. A train of protesters pushed through and stopped by me. One of them was dancing to the drum beat and, by doing so, repeatedly pushing against me with mini-body slams. (She was also holding a sign with a puppet stapled to it. Puppet Killer!) I reacted to her body slams by pushing back; I literally stood my ground and refused to let her push me away. (Not that there was anywhere for me to go. If she had been successful in pushing me away, it would have initiated a series of dominoes falling that would have included a ten year old girl getting smashed who was standing five feet away.) I had the strong urge to punch her in the face but found the strength to refrain. Honestly, her physicality (or, dare I say, her assault) was so maddening that I contemplated, "There hasn't been serious violence thus far. Will I end up being the one to throw the first punch?" At one point, she and I were both leaning so heavily into each other that if one of us stepped away, the other would fall to the ground. This is what civility looks like. /sarc

Y'know, it'd be one thing if this were a Shared Space situation, like silently negotiating the shared arm rest on an airplane. But she came onto my turf. She stormed into my rally. She stepped into my space bubble. She repeatedly slammed against me. I had been trying to ignore them and do my own thing, and they stormed into my rally. They had their own damn rally planned for the opposite side of the square, but it was more important to them to bust up the TEA Party's good times than to have their OWN damn good times. Do they even know how to have a good time without bashing some other group? Do they have ideologies for which to stand that do not involve bashing some other ideology? Did that dancing chickie know how to take a stand for herself without hip-checking me?...

The number of middle fingers being diplayed by the "peaceful" protesters were too many to count as the day progressed.
One of those people was standing two people in front of me in the crowd. As soon as Palin began to speak, he turned his back to the stage, proudly smirked as he faced the TEA Party crowd, and flipped the bird high into the air. A few people told him lines about "your mother obviously raised you well", but he didn't flinch. I took out my phone and took a picture of him. Once he realized what I was doing (and, presumably, considered the consequences of that photo being used in whatever damn way I please), he TOOK DOWN HIS HANDS. His BIG PLAN had apparently been to infiltrate the crowd and flip off Palin during her speech, and a camera phone took him down. I really didn't think a photo op would thwart his Big Plan, so I asked him, "What, I take your picture and that makes you stop?" He said YES!

I really do not understand these people at all.

(Unfortunately, very unfortunately, something went wrong, and my phone did not save the Bird Man's picture. Such a shame. I was gonna have some fun with that one.)

kwood said...

Unfortunately, very unfortunately, something went wrong, and my phone did not save the Bird Man's picture. Such a shame. I was gonna have some fun with that one.

Not a shame at all. Your camera served admirably even if there was no 'film' in it to begin with!

Having the photo now would be an idle trophy and nothing more. That man learned a tiny bit of something about himself as he saw himself reflected in the lens of your camera phone. That's way more important than the (understandable) pleasure of humiliating him afterwards with the actual photo.