February 14, 2012

A year ago today... the big Wisconsin protests began.

The Badger Herald has some reflections, including one by my assemblyman Brett Hulsey ("Gov. Scott Walker dropped a bomb on the people of Wisconsin") and one by UW polisci prof Donald Downs ("The country cries out for genuine vision that goes beyond the entrenched interests and shibboleths of the present right and left.")

Here's my February 13, 2011 post about the "very low key" crowd at the Capitol that day. Typical sign, from before things blew up: "Bullying Is NOT the Answer! Fix if the Plan Needed!" I went on about the lameness of the protest:
You can see that it wasn't a very big crowd. There was an effort to get cars to honk, and when they honked, the honkees went "Wooo!"

There were no speakers and no chants.
No chants! I need to be careful what I agitate for.
There was one man — I have video but I'm not posting it — who seemed a bit disoriented, who did something that is comically easy to do in a low-key protest. He started speaking, haranguing, like he was the leader. The group of nice, tolerant people did nothing to shoo him away. It was rather touching, even as it underlined the ineffectiveness of the protest.

It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm Sunday, and our new governor has just dropped a shocking union-busting proposal that our newly Republican legislature is likely to step up and pass. This is the push-back from the unions?
Ha ha. Is this all you got? I asked.

It was the next day, the 14th, that things started getting big. All I had that day was a link to Isthmus columnist Bill Lueders who said protests would be "a colossal waste of everybody's time, and exactly the reaction Gov. Walker hopes to inspire." The protests would boost Walker?
Either they are peaceful and accomplish nothing; or they turn violent and create a massive backlash against the unions and their members. Either way, Walker wins.
My reaction was: "Wow. When did Madison lefties become so cynical about protests?"

That's all very funny in retrospect. And I was definitely wrong. Madison lefties were immensely, passionately optimistic about protests. And Lueders was right, wasn't he? The protests, in the end — we're not quite at the end yet — will have boosted Walker.

58 comments:

damikesc said...

My 2 year old will eventually stop with his tantrum and deal with things.

It's sad when my 2 yr old has more emotional maturity than your average progressive in Madison.

garage mahal said...

The protests, in the end — we're not quite at the end yet — will have boosted Walker.

I wonder why Walker & Co. considered planting troublemakers in the crowds then?

Patrick said...

Garage,

Who is going to be governor following the recall?

LarryK said...

It seems so incredibly long ago...but until now I didn't realize that the protests were (almost) literally a Valentine to the unions.

Ann Althouse said...

"I wonder why Walker & Co. considered planting troublemakers in the crowds then?"

It was Lueders who thought that violent protests would help Walker, which would be a reason for Walker people to want to stir things up. It was Walker who, when asked about it, said the idea had been thought of and rejected.

You seem to be suggesting that Walker would have wanted the protests to get big, as they did. I doubt it.

Are you trying to blame Walker for having the imagination to picture something that he rejected as wrong/bad? You think politicians should be naifs who are incapable of picturing an array of options that include things that shouldn't be done?

What's your point?

TosaGuy said...

""a colossal waste of everybody's time, and exactly the reaction Gov. Walker hopes to inspire."

Cue Kathleen Falk . . . .

Ann Althouse said...

"Who is going to be governor following the recall?"

I think we all know now that it's going to be Walker. The recall is an opportunity for him to get a new, post-reform mandate. After a year of struggle, the recall effort will backfire.

Say I, who have a poor record as a prognosticator.

MadisonMan said...

The first protests were almost quaint. Then the Union Organizing Machine kicked in.

Rusty said...

MadisonMan said...
The first protests were almost quaint. Then the Union Organizing Machine kicked in.

Nothing says freedom of choice more than a union boot in your face.
For the children.
If it saves just one life.
Rethuglican.
Theocracy.

Patrick said...

"I think we all know now that it's going to be Walker."

I'd like to share your confidence, but I think it's a toss up. Certainly the Democratic field of announced candidates seems weak, but I think Feingold is still considering. I agree with you that he won't run unless he thinks he can win, but people who are inclined to seriously consider running usually believe they can win.

But, predictions are hard, especially about the future.

Matthew said...

If he wins his re-election, it should re-extend his initial term. I don't know if it does, or if he'll have to go through the election hoopla again in a year or two. It seems fair though; if the recall failed, then clearly, people want to keep him around. Likewise, someone who wins a recall should have a full term. This tries to build enough buffer so that we're not stuck in perpetual election cycles (without forcing people to, at least, perpetually sign recalls).

That's my view from VA, though. Maybe WI likes perpetual elections.

TosaGuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TosaGuy said...

If the Dems actually pick a candidate who wants to be governor of Wisconsin rather than the governor of Madison, they do stand a very good chance.

However, the folks who will write checks for the Dem candidate don't want a governor of Wisconsin.

Petunia said...

Falk is already bought and paid for by the unions. Feingold won't run because he stands an excellent chance of losing, and if he does, his political career is over.

Walker won't get an extension on his term, but he should. And we need to amend the state constitution to restrict recalls to cases of criminal conduct (Jeff Wood) or dereliction of duty (the fleebaggers). Recalls shouldn't be allowed because a bunch of people had a tantrum.

garage mahal said...

Are you trying to blame Walker for having the imagination to picture something that he rejected as wrong/bad?

Um, yea? What kind of sociopath contemplates sending troublemakers into a peaceful protest as a way to deal with conflict resolution?

David said...

He said "shibboleth."

Wow, he must have a Phd.

traditionalguy said...

SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!

Just practicing.

Next I will practice some Choke Hold drills.

That Walker fellow sure stirs up the Dairy Farmers.

Original Mike said...

"Gov. Scott Walker dropped a bomb on the people of Wisconsin"

Hulsey may be the most transparent pol I've ever seen.

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

"Um, yea? What kind of sociopath contemplates sending troublemakers into a peaceful protest as a way to deal with conflict resolution?"

If anybody is keeping a record of garage's all time knee-slappers, this deserves to be included.

Matthew said...

"Um, yea? What kind of sociopath contemplates sending troublemakers into a peaceful protest as a way to deal with conflict resolution?"

Lueders, apparently. Walker had to have someone suggest it to him to reject it. Lueders came up with it. The sociopath.

EDH said...

A year ago today... the big Wisconsin protests began.

"Big Wisconsin Protests"?

Is that like "Big Oil" or "Big Tobacco"?

edutcher said...

Wonder when GodZero will ask Harry Reid to put in a resolution calling this New Meadia Meade Day?

Ann Althouse said...

Bullying Is NOT the Answer!

Well, that went bye-byes in a hurry.

gerry said...

"Um, yea? What kind of sociopath contemplates sending troublemakers into a peaceful protest as a way to deal with conflict resolution?"

Karl Marx. Mao. Fidel Castro. Che Guevera. Lenin. Stalin. Hitler. Noam Chomsky. Emma Goldman.

Calypso Facto said...

Gov. Scott Walker dropped a bomb on the people of Wisconsin

Talk about a disingenuous cognitive load....

Chuck66 said...

I actually was not a Walker supporter in the fall of 2010. I still say he was wrong on the Hiawatha line extension. And was not really so sure about the budget fix.

But what changed my mind was:
A) The fleabaggers hiding in Illinois
B) The "YOU'RE FUCKING DEAD" being screamed at the female legislator.
C) And finally seeing all the kooks protesting in Madison

Those events turned me into a 99% Walker supporter.

Chuck66 said...

TosaGuy.......perfect campaign slogan for the Republicans.

Falk.....wants to be Governor of Madison.

Walker....wants to continue to be Governor of all of Wisconsin.

traditionalguy said...

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Cool Hand Walker is still escaping from the Liberal Boss's guards while the rest of the Wisconsin citizens chained to Union Gang corruption are watching and cheering.

Life imitates Hollywood once more.

LarryK said...

Um, yea? What kind of sociopath contemplates sending troublemakers into a peaceful protest as a way to deal with conflict resolution?

What a crock, one of the many deliberate distortions that characterize this shameful and soon to be interred season of protests...what Walker said (in response to a left wing loon, who recommended that Walker do it) was that someone mentioned the idea and it was immediately shot down, never seriously 'contemplated.' I'm sure Garage knows from political discussions with his pals just how many crazy ideas might come up in conversation, only to be vetoed by cooler heads (e.g. Scott Walker's)

damikesc said...

Um, yea? What kind of sociopath contemplates sending troublemakers into a peaceful protest as a way to deal with conflict resolution?

Saul Alinksy, for one.

garage mahal said...

Lueders, apparently. Walker had to have someone suggest it to him to reject it. Lueders came up with it. The sociopath.

Leuders did not come up with the idea. Nice try.

garage mahal said...

What a crock, one of the many deliberate distortions that characterize this shameful and soon to be interred season of protests...what Walker said (in response to a left wing loon, who recommended that Walker do it) was that someone mentioned the idea and it was immediately shot down, never seriously 'contemplated.

Here is the portion of that call:

Murphy: Right, right. Well, we’ll back you any way we can. But, uh, what we were thinking about the crowds was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.

Walker: You know, the, well, the only problem with that — because we thought about that. The problem — the, my only gut reaction to that is right now the lawmakers I’ve talked to have just completely had it with them, the public is not really fond of this. The teachers union did some polling of focus groups, I think, and found out that the public turned on ’em the minute they closed school down for a couple days. The guys we’ve got left are largely from out of state, and I keep dismissing it in all my press conferences saying, ‘Eh, they’re mostly from out of state.’ My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused is that that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has gotta settle to avoid all these problems. You know, whereas, I’ve said, ‘Hey, you know, we can handle this, people can protest. This is Madison, you know, full of the ’60s liberals. Let ’em protest.’ It’s not gonna affect us. And as long as we go back to our homes and the majority of the people are telling us we’re doing the right thing, let ’em protest all they want. Um, so that’s my gut reaction, is that I think it’s actually good if they’re constant, they’re noisy, but they’re quiet, nothing happens, ’cause sooner or later the media stops finding ’em interesting.

RonF said...

So how is the Walker recount petition review going, anyway. When will we start seeing counts of how many signatures were tossed (or at least are being challenged)?

Calypso Facto said...

Shorter garage: "Somebody suggested a bad idea to the Governor and he shot it down. Recall!!!"

You're so used to governors (looking at you, Doyle!) rubber stamping bad ideas that you don't know how to react appropriately to adult decision-making in the sometimes difficult real world.

Christopher in MA said...

He says he "thought" about it, Garage. And then he mentions "the guys we've got left are largely from out of state." It sounds to me as though Walker's "thought" in relation to Murphy's "plant some troublemakers" is that Walker was pointing out that it was what the spoiled Madison brats were doing already.

But if "thinking about planting troublemakers" is a crime now, then perhaps you ought to call up your Little Black Jesus and tell him how ashamed you are that his SEIU, Code Pink and ACORN goons infiltrated Tea Party rallies with blatantly racist signs in order to discredit the movement.

Althouse asked what your point was and you continue to prove it's the one on top of your head.

MadisonMan said...

I actually was not a Walker supporter in the fall of 2010.

I voted against him the first time (this shocks people, I know). I might vote for Falk, knowing she'd lose, so it's not like my vote would count. But I'm not a fan of one party controlling the Executive/Legislative branches. In my experience, that breeds bad laws.

It would be nice if a non-Dane Democrat was on the ballot. Not sure that'll happen.

Matthew said...

Murphy, Lueders. Whoever. Like I keep track of who prank phone calls governors.

Skookum John said...

I have "considered" all kinds of harebrained ideas proposed by others, and dismissed them out of hand. Sounds like that's whaT happened here. Criticizing Walker for this is really quite pathetic grasping at straws.

garage mahal said...

"We thought about that". Which means, they thought about it.

Spin that any way you want.

My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused is that that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has gotta settle to avoid all these problems.

Nobody should be at all surprised he is getting recalled.

Matthew said...

Are you suggesting we literally police other people's thoughts, perhaps like a thought police?

Jay said...

"We thought about that". Which means, they thought about it

Hysterical.

They thought about it!

They tought about it!!

They thought about it!!!

Seriously, you can't even be parodied.

PS, Obama told supporters to get in their faces and the number of critical comments you made on that remark remains at zero.

TosaGuy said...

"I might vote for Falk, knowing she'd lose, so it's not like my vote would count."

and

"It would be nice if a non-Dane Democrat was on the ballot. Not sure that'll happen."

If people who pondered the first part of the quote didn't vote for Dane County Libs in the first place then the second part of the quote has a better chance of coming true.

TosaGuy said...

The trendy Bayview part of Milwaukee in 2010 primaried out their moderate Dem senator and replaced him with a pure liberal incapable of adult conversation --he makes his constituents feel good with his rhetoric, but he will never help solve a problem in the state. He will also never go farther than what he is Meanwhile, I thought the guy who was primaried eventually had a shot someday at being governor.

This district would never go GOP, but the party longterm hurts itself statewide as they toss people who are capable of being something more than a partisan bomb thrower.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Whatever happened to Ian "fuck the troops and their cool robotic limbs" Murhpy? One moment he's traveling the state posing for holy pictures with Wisconsin Democrats and the next he disappears from sight. Too bad. He seemed like the perfect spokesman for the Wisconsin left.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... What kind of sociopath contemplates sending troublemakers into a peaceful protest as a way to deal with conflict resolution?.."

That's funny cause that's exactly what your OWS pals did and you didn't have any problem with it.

Hypocrisy much?

Alex said...

You know I have it on good authority that garage discussed genociding conservatives but rejected it at the end.

traditionalguy said...

Perusing Garage's comments it has become clear that Garage seriously charges that Walker committed a "Thought Crime."

Serious Re-education must precede the next great leap forward in Wisconsin.

LarryK said...

Why did you skip this part Garage, which comes immediately after the sentence you ripped out of context

"You know, whereas, I’ve said, ‘Hey, you know, we can handle this, people can protest. This is Madison, you know, full of the ’60s liberals. Let ’em protest.’ It’s not gonna affect us. And as long as we go back to our homes and the majority of the people are telling us we’re doing the right thing, let ’em protest all they want. Um, so that’s my gut reaction, is that I think it’s actually good if they’re constant, they’re noisy, but they’re quiet, nothing happens, ’cause sooner or later the media stops finding ’em interesting."

Are these the words of someone seriously contemplating sending troublemakers into a peaceful protest as a way to deal with conflict resolution?

You should give it a 'reste' (wv)

Jason said...

Um, yea? What kind of sociopath contemplates sending troublemakers into a peaceful protest as a way to deal with conflict resolution?

"If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." - Barack Obama

Original Mike said...

"Why did you skip this part Garage, which comes immediately after the sentence you ripped out of context"

Because garage is not interested in an honest discussion.

Patrick said...

Garage:

You keep beating around the bush. The Governor "thought about" planting trouble makers. He dismissed the idea. Be clear, now.
What conclusion would you have us draw from that. Don't be so coy, what of it?

Alex said...

Patrick - Walker is guilty of thoughtcrime.

Petunia said...

Meanwhile, a bunch of protestors, with bunches of red heart-shaped balloons, invaded the Capitol to demonstrate today. Without a permit.

Interrupting/delaying/ruining several wedding ceremonies, which DID have permits. And what does the chief of the Capitol "police" do? Discuss with pink dress twit their prior agreement that pink dress twit would help the chief by ensuring the protestors left the building in a timely manner so the weddings could proceed in peace.

Hmm, chief, what about actually requiring the protestors to get a permit, like every other event? Oh, but wait, this is MADISON! The rules don't apply to the useful idiot left. And you really thought it would be a good idea to TRUST pink dress twit?

Caught on video, and already up on YouTube.

Waaaaaay past time to resign, Chief Tubbs.

MadisonMan said...

petunia, why post something like that without a link?

Petunia said...

Because I spaced out? :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLJm7zgWqnU&feature=youtu.be

If it doesn't work, the video is called, "Did Police Chief Cut Secret Access Deal With Protestors?"

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Tubbs reminds me of Barney Fife. I wonder if they allow him to carry a bullet for his gun.

MadisonMan said...

They don't make it very easy to search on Rotunda wedding with that title :)

Thanks.

Alex said...

Bushman - of course you're not referring to Ricardo Tubbs. That guy was badass.