The Squire of the Stately Manor made friends with an economy-size bottle of ibuprofen over the weekend. He washed down his meds with a fine muscadet from the Loire Valley. It has been too long since I have done so much standing, walking and marching. I helped make history Friday and Saturday at the State Capitol.
The dramatic siege of the State Capitol here in Madison, now in its second week, is unprecedented. It seems like an orange sunshine flashback of the March on Washington D.C. of 1969, minus the tear gas and mass arrests. And it ain't over yet.
The nearest precedent would be Father Groppi's takeover of the State Capitol in 1969 on behalf of welfare mothers. It lasted but a few hours before the occupiers were tricked into leaving. We thought we were being marched off to jail.
These are the days my friend. Truly, no superlative suffices to describe this national phenomenon. A dozen other states, Congress and the President himself are watching to determine how the federal budget will play out. Madison is Ground Zero for the power struggle between the voters, their elected representatives, and their hired public servants.
If we are at a tipping point, Madison is the tipping place.
I truly fear the hard core banging the drums and chanting themselves hoarse -- mostly college students -- inside the Capitol Rotunda these days are turning it into a mob mentality echo chamber.
Scott Walker and the Fitzgeralds can wait them out. They have all the time in the world. The governor can announce the first round of employee layoffs while all 14 Senate Democrats visit the International Space Station. And the second round and the third round ...
You can't exaggerate this stuff. It's that big.
Saturday came the Tea Partiers
Yes, I participated in the tea party counter-protest on Saturday. I did not hear a word from the speaker's platform. Someone unplugged the microphone at the rally off the East Wing of the Capitol facing Main and King Streets. I stood in back with fellow tea partiers Rick Berg and a fellow we met whom I will call Robert the Electrician. We stood well in back where we could interact with the Leftists.
Joe the Plumber may have been speaking but we could not hear. I spoke to Vicki McKenna this morning and she says it took awhile to find someone to replug the sound system. Isn't that typical of our friends on the Left?
She says arrests were made. I'm trying to get details.
I got some attaboys for my sign, a milk carton with mug shots of the missing Senate Dems, on one side and "I Stand With Walker" on the other. I made certain to march around the Square in the midst of the Leftists. Hey, these colors don't run. In general, I was not harassed. Then again, I'm pretty mean looking.
Even so, I witnessed several exchanges of ideas, mostly civil.
My favorite signs from the Right:
"They ran and hid, too." Pictured are Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein."
"I'm here on Saturday because I had to work all week."
"Stop Leaching, Start Teaching," with a crybaby.
"To the Unions: You're Fired," with Donald Trump.
Favorites from the Left:
"Don't tase me, bro."
"Walker, Corporate Street Walker" with the gov PhotoShopped in drag
Friday evening, waiting for the Rev.
Ann Althouse asks the right questions. As for that indoor crowd, are they Wisconsin school teachers, or are they UW students and teaching assistants? Is it still about the Scott Walker budget, or has it skewed into more generic left-wing causes?
The Socialist Workers Party had a table under the statue of Col. Hans Christian Hegg, the Civil War Norwegian. A selection of communist literature, heavy on race and gender, was available for purchase. In addition to the Communist Manifesto itself. Lots of beards, berets and Trotsky wannabes.
On the NE corner of Pinckney and East Wash stood a temporary TV studio where Robin Vos faced the lights and cameras. Because the Assembly co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee was so well dressed and coiffed, the unionists guessed right away that he was a man of the Right and thus felt entitled to try to drown him out. Thankfully, the microphones today are very directional.
After his interview, six uniformed officers escorted Rep. Vos through the hostile crowd and back into the Capitol. Robin Vos did not run and hide.
I got tired of waiting for his self-importance, Jesse Jackson, Friday night. When I left, Peter and Lou Berryman were quavering Solidarity Forever. The sound boomed down West Washington Avenue, which was on the opposite side of the Friday evening rally. A contrast to Saturday's sound level.
Does it cover fraud?
The fake doctor issue has been well covered in the news media. Sure enough, it's a UW Medical School prof. who is writing fake sick notes. Unions member are so mentally anguished they can't work but they can march on the Capitol.