January 30, 2015

"Walker touted a Wisconsin-centric, meat-and-potatoes, small-government conservatism garnished with a heaping portion of scorn for Washington, D.C."

Writes Joshua Green at Bloomberg, quoting Scott Walker saying:
“As much as I love coming here, I love going home even more,” Walker said, calling Washington “68 square miles surrounded by reality.”
And it's just so laughably obvious that Green doesn't know the old line about Madison, Wisconsin: 30 square miles surrounded by reality. The hometown news reports Walker's wisecrack with better grounding in... reality:
"For a lot of folks here in our nation's capital in Washington it's kind of a dome," Walker said. "In fact, I like to call it 68 square miles surrounded by reality.... What I see in the states and from people in this country outside of Washington is a craving for something new, something fresh, something dynamic, instead of the top-down, government-knows-best approach that we’ve seen in Washington,” Walker said.

The line Walker used harkens back to a now notorious quote from former Republican Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus, who declared Madison "30 square miles surrounded by reality" while running for governor in 1978. Since then, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin proposed to make the updated geographical area version, "77 square miles surrounded by reality" the city's motto, which failed to be approved by the Madison Common Council in 2013.
ADDED: "People need to get hip to the Wisconsin references," I say, and Meade says: "Yeah. Wisconsin is cool. Wisconsin is happening. Get with it."

AND: I mock Meade for using that 60s lingo. I'm all "It's what's happening, baby. Who said that? Murray the K!"

54 comments:

chickelit said...

"Get with it."

Walker wants to show us how get without it.

chickelit said...

Dreyfus won in 1978, BTW.

gadfly said...

So the incorporated area of Madison is bigger than Washington, DC? 76.41 Sq miles - I rounded to 76, Paul Soglin rounded to 77 and Lee Dreyfus, PHD - was the President of UW - Stevens Point.

The Godfather said...

When I lived there DC was 69 square miles.

campy said...

"When I lived there DC was 69 square miles."

Maybe the rise of the oceans took some.

Paco Wové said...

I'll bet they say that about a lot of college towns. Boulder, for instance.

Danno said...

The District of Columbia, being surrounded by states, should not change in size over time. However, the DC metro area continues to grow. I believe that 7 of the ten most affluent counties in the U.S. are within the DC metro commuting area.

DC, like Madison, lives in a bubble, which I prefer as a metaphor to dome. If you ever have noticed, Obama goes from one bubble to another for most of his forays into the hinterlands.

It would be great to have Scott Walker go to DC to starve the beast.

bwebster said...

The DC quip ("XX square miles surrounded by reality") is an old one; I knew it when I came to DC for the first time in 1996, and I suspect it predates that by at least a few decades.

Ann Althouse said...

I think the 1978 quip about Madison came first.

Ann Althouse said...

I saw the quote on posters and t-shirts when I got here in the early 80s. It was the local slogan.

SeanF said...

You said "people need to get hip to..." and then you mocked Meade for [b]his[/b] usage of 60s lingo?

chickelit said...

Ann Althouse said...I think the 1978 quip about Madison came first.

I believe you are correct, Althouse. I read four Madison newspapers at the time: The WSJ, The Cap Times, Isthmus, and the short-lived Madison Press Connection. The latter three loathed Dreyfus and they would have relished pinning plagiarism on him. They didn't because they couldn't.

chickelit said...

And as gadfly pointed out, LSD was an academic -- he was part of the academy.

tmitsss said...

I learned on NPR today that the original nacho cheese was Wisconsin cheese

traditionalguy said...

Walker is ahead to stay. That's what's happening. All they have on him so far is that is that he is from a rural state full of dairy cows and farmers.

chickelit said...

traditionalguy said...Walker is ahead to stay. That's what's happening. All they have on him so far is that is that he is from a rural state full of dairy cows and farmers.

I can already hear the NPR stories from the intrepid journolist sent to report from behind the Cheddar Curtain. The story will feature a rural Dane county farmer who stood against Walker early on--a farmer whose grandfather stood with the progressive politics of "Fighting Bob" La Follette. The radio piece will feature mooing cows.

walter said...

"This American life" will have to do a hit piece..Ira Glass with that authoritative voice interspersed those poignant musical swells..public school teachers interviewed in their cardboard box camps.

Walter said...

I've heard the line used to describe Berkeley and San Francisco, but my favorite will always be Herb Caen's formulation:

San Francisco--a town surrounded on three sides by water and four sides by barbarians.

Charlie Currie said...

I was at the recoding of It's What's Happening, Baby.

Republicans have always been the stupid party...

Many members of Congress tuned in since this was partially sponsored by an agency of the US government. Senate Republicans, apparently not fans of rock & roll, denounced the show as "decadent" and "depraved." Senator Gordon Allott (R-Colorado) called CBS president Frank Stanton after the show and said "Every American who saw that show must be sick. I am about to throw up." An investigation was promised by Senator Everett Dirksen (R-Illinois) to determine who was responsible.

bbkingfish said...

I can hardly wait for him to start talking about Ronald Reagan.

chickelit said...

bbkingfish said...I can hardly wait for him to start talking about Ronald Reagan.

He already did: link. All you lefties need do is to substitute "Dems" for "Soviets" in that article.

Is that too hard for you?

Titus said...

Wisconsin is not cool. I thought Madison was cool at the age of 15, Milwaukee was cool at the age of 16 and Chicago was cool at the age of 17. And then I knew I had to immediately be educated on the East Coast which is actually cool. The summer of 1990 I lived in San Francisco, which was not Wisconsin, but too slow. All the cools left for more cool locales.

Madison has State Street which is really depressing, and rural Wisconites find totally cool and rad. But is surrounded by strip malls and chain restaurants.

Sorry Madison...your are not cool. And your fags are gross and fat.

tits.

chickelit said...

Wow Titus, you're a real Wisconsin "prodigical" son.

sane_voter said...

What the hell was that show and where was it shown? Looked like a lame attempt by the govt to get kids to engaged with the govt by bankrolling a music show.

By far the best musical part to me was Dionne Warwick. The Herman Munster bit was surreal.

Smilin' Jack said...

Madison, Wisconsin: 30 square miles surrounded by reality.

I always preferred "The Paris of the Midwest" or "The Athens of Dane County."

sane_voter said...

BTW, I had never heard of Murray the K before. But apparently he was a big deal in the 60's, the 5th Beatle (ha). Now totally forgotten.

Titus said...

I do still like the Plaza in Madison. I don't eat burgers but I love plaza sauce.

The Plaza is cool in a retro, kind of gross way. The paintings are hideous and the crowd morbidly obese

I do like Supper Clubs too. I enjoy the fish fry and relish trays but dislike the clientele who are fat and dress nasty. My muscled hubby told me they look like large turnips ready to explode.

I am a former Wisconite, working with many former Wisconites, who have fond memories of the state, but would never return.

Madison and Wisconsin citizens are really fat. I was home for Christmas and saw huge asses, chins, stomachs, and legs. I thought to myself...who fucks that fat? Their fucking huge.

"Tonette" who is also Wisconsin fat will be crucified by the evil East Coast thin and fashionable elites.

chickelit said...

@Titus: Massachusetts hasn't voted (R) since 1984. In the interregnum, we've had three terms of Republicans, the most recent in 2004 who beat the loathsome MA Senator John Kerry.

The bottom line is that MA only leads in coming from behind.

chickelit said...

I think the Republican strategy should be an unspoken "fuck MA and CA" they don't vote for us anyways.

buwaya said...

I dont understand cool.
What is cool ?
Why is cool cool ?
Does cool make you rich ?
Does cool make you happy ?
How ?
Why ?
Things that are pointed out as being cool seem to me, well, tinny and shallow. In 1960s words, plastic, man. I guess that 60s stuff isn't cool, and probably a good thing too. Sinatra was said to be the sum of cool, but he was fake.
And there is the subjective stuff. Cool for thee is not cool for the guy behind the tree. Makes you wonder whether you are cool doesn't it ?
The whole thing does not compute.
I have to write off the whole concept as something explainable through the madness of crowds. Fashion is fashionable because its fashionable or soon will be just because. Its nuts.

buwaya said...

PS, I come from a land of skinny people. They don't run anything very well. India is also a land of skinny people (have you been? Its very educational). Likewise.
These decisions are important and should be decided by scientific means. Skinny=stupid, in general population terms, seems a reasonable starting hypothesis, that can be tested with data.

buwaya said...

I'm a San Franciscan (20+ years, and wife is a native)
San Francisco is where things used to be made, and its pretty because it was made so by craftsmen paid mainly by richer craftsmen. Everything nice in SF, other than what nature provided, was made by a bunch of Catholic louts between 1880 and 1945, blessed with art and skill. Then they left, to retire in Novato or Petaluma.
I suspect most of the nice parts of Massachussetts are similar.
Then SF was repopulated by cool people who though they were cool because they lived somewhere where everything was pretty. Which was made by a bunch of uncool Catholic louts. Its a wonderment.

Ron said...

if you have to say it....you ain't it

Sharc said...

"It's what's happening baby" is a throw-away line from the song Electric Blues from the musical Hair (1967).
Here at 1:20.

Sharc said...

Looks like Murray the K beat out the hippies with that line by two years.

lonetown said...

Re: Wisconsin - I heard they have cheese there.

tim maguire said...

While I don't think "68 square miles surrounded by reality" requires context to work, Walker is going to have to show some care about making local references on the national stage. It's not our job to "get with it."

tim in vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

Walker benefits by the national good will towards the Packers. The Cowboys are hated as much as they are loved in much of the country. I don't know of anybody, outside of the Packers' conference, who hates them

caplight45 said...

Meade is cool, he is groovy, he is boss, he is far out, he is right on and he is hip to what is going down. Meade is not "Hipster." Not in his genetic code.

Jerry Blavat, Philly DJ circa late 60's early 70's was "the Geater with a heater, and the Boss with the hotsauce."

Guildofcannonballs said...

East coast jerks freeze their balls to the size of chick peas, then blame their impotence on The South.

I would be angry with pea-testicles too. Feeling a need to bitchily preen online that can never be fulfilled, brand names would be my be all/end all.

Seeing little sun, why by God it ain't no damned fun.

Rusty said...

Lonetown said...
Re: Wisconsin - I heard they have cheese there.

N0.2 after California.
About 55% of Wisconsins' GDP is in agriculture. Since most of the agriculture is family farms it would explain the slow jobs growth. Wisconsin needs to import more manufacturing from Illinois.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Caplight - Jerry Blavat is about 80 years old now and still DJing hereabouts but mostly in Margate, NJ.

RecChief said...

"And then I knew I had to immediately be educated"

hahahahahahahaha

Anonymous said...

Walker expands welfare across the entire state of WI, increases the size and scope of the State government, bails out billionaire sports team owners, and raises state borrowing to an all time high. And yet most of his base still thinks Walker is in favor of "small-government".

Then again, for most of them those facts don't matter. Scott Walker's claim to fame is the way he pimp-slapped all the teachers in the state right across their face and nothing else matters.

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

Is there a connection between the pirating and recycling of words (cool as not interested to cool as interesting, bad as (well) bad to bad as (maybe) cool, gay as happy to gay as homosexual, etc.) in popular culture and the way the Democratic party does it (women's health as having something to do with health then women's health and abortion, and about 6 other things too hard to write in a short parenthetical)?

tim in vermont said...

Walker's claim to fame is the way he pimp-slapped all the teachers in the state right across their face and nothing else matters.

Correctemundo. It is about time somebody stood up to them. I lost my home in NH many many years ago, when they were undergoing a regional recession and collapse in real estate prices. While I was still struggling to hold on to my home, I heard a local school board member talking to a teacher in the supermarket aver that "Nobody minds paying a little extra in property taxes to make sure teachers are paid well."

That little off handed comment has stuck with me for a couple of decades.

So Go Scott Walker!

BTW, your creative definitions of welfare completely undermine any credibility on the issue. When one side starts playing with the definitions of words, they shouldn't be surprised when people stop listening.

Wilbur said...

I had heard of Murray the K since the 60s. As a kid I was intuitively repelled by the idea of anyone insinuating to be the 5th Beatle.

Turns out my intuition was spot on. What an obnoxious worm, perfectly positioned to blather about the glory that is the Federal government.

Anonymous said...

Tim in Vermont sure uses a LOT of words to explain that he isn't listening to what I say. Guess even he knows that there is no way to defend Walker's expansion of welfare across the state, so instead he's just going to put his fingers in his ear while loudly proclaiming he isn't listening at all.

Guess that is what passes for "good faith" discussion on this blog.

MadisonMan said...

Walker should start wearing a bright red vest.

Ann Althouse said...

"Looks like Murray the K beat out the hippies with that line by two years."

I think it was his tag line from before that TV special. He was a radio personality for a long time.

Achilles said...

Don't worry. The Democrats won't need to worry about having to face an actual small government conservative. The republican establishment will take care of him for them. They made a mistake allowing Reagan to win the primary in 80 despite their best efforts to smear him. They won't let government shrink either.

mikee said...

Austin, TX, has as its motto "Keep Austin Weird."

Round Rock, 20 miles north is staunchly conservative. We have no known motto.

Pflugerville, in between, has bumper stickers reading, "Between a Rock and a Weird Place."