A new era began Monday in Wisconsin as a new governor was ceremoniously sworn into office.
Has a Wisconsin governor's inauguration speech ever been picketed? At noon, your roving reporter came, took pictures, and froze his tuchus as a demonstration bused in from Milwaukee protested the election results at the State Capitol.
In the evening, the Squire of the Stately Manor came, saw and was seen at Governor Scott Walker's inaugural ball at Monona Terrace.
Hard to say what they were protesting, the 400 or so protestors outside the State Capitol Monday noon. The people wanted jobs, they said and, in the tradition of chant and response protest marches, they wanted them now.
Many hoisted professionally printed, union-bugged signs to that effect; white on black T-shirts made the same point. I told some of the folks that if they wanted jobs, the right man was being sworn into office, let the ink dry. Where were they when the previous occupant was shedding jobs at record rates?
Overhead a helicopter hovered (Lots of assonance, today.) City of Madison, State Patrol, and Capitol Police were everywhere. At least one arrest was made. A journalist friend I encountered said the young lady invited it.
Intended or not, the two ladies who held up a homemade banner, "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" caught the essence of Governor Scott Walker's inauguration speech pledge:
"As your Governor, I make this pledge: I will work tirelessly to restore economic growth and vibrancy to our state. My top three priorities are jobs, jobs, and jobs."
A handout sponsored by five Milwaukee organizations, including the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, claimed that Walker had lost 13,000 jobs "on Day One." That was a reference to wildly inflated numbers supposedly lost by spurning the deficit-spending, federally financed commuter train. The actual number of "lost jobs" is just 12. It's in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Recall Walker petitions were proffered but I saw few signers. They only need 540,000 more signatures.
"The people," as my Prog-Lib acquaintances call everyone but Tea Partiers, were hoping to confront the new governor as, presumably, he walked to his car parked on the curb, keys in hand. Folks, I can tell you they have built way more security into the Capitol in the last 12 years for that to happen. He is inserted into the Capitol from blocks away.
We had a ball at the ball
The squire inhaled and squeezed into his Sunday best dark suit for the Inaugural Ball, themed "A Wisconsin You Can Believe In."
I am guessing a good 500 folks paid $50 a head to nosh, rub elbows, and gaze at great gowns (there's your alliteration fix). Maybe half the guys were in tuxes. The ladies, of course, were much more creatively attired. Your faithful blogger appreciated his fair share of well presented cleavage, as is his right under the Constitution.
The ball occupied three floors at Frank's Place, which is a great place to put on the dog. We arrived promptly at 7 and were greeted by Jason Joyce and Isthmus videographer Ben Reiser. I made some suitably inane comments for the benefit of the camera and then headed to the bar. $7.25 for a plastic cup of white wine. Only later did my designated driver and I discover the hospitality rooms, where the booze was free.
Slogans were projected on the wall of the main ballroom conveying such thoughts as "People Create Jobs, Not Government" and "Wisconsin's Best Days are Yet to Come." After a presentation of "the colors" by a military -- a must for any Republican function -- John Scocos led the Pledge -- a nice touch. The former secretary of Veterans Affairs was ousted in a coup by Doyle appointees shortly after returning from active duty in Afghanistan. Then in came the UW Marching Band. Rev. John McVicar from Milwaukee pronounced the invocation. Lt. Gov. Becky Kleefisch made a few remarks, then onto a stirring video of sounds and images from the successful campaign.
Scott Walker, Tonette, and the two boys came on-stage at 9:01 by my clock and announced that he had convened the legislature to enact a job-creating agenda and that he had handed Attorney Gen. J.B. Van Hollen "the letter" authorizing Wisconsin's entry into the suit v. ObamaCare. Both announcements got big cheers.
The governor and new first lady Tonette Walker then led the ball's first dance to Frank Sinatra's "The Best is Yet to Come."
Saw lots of folks including old boss Rick Chandler, now back as Secretary of Revenue, and Ray Allen, who had just been named Number 2 man at Financial Institutions. Told former sheriff Gary Hamblin that he would have his hands full at Corrections but wife Sue, a former Madison alder, confirmed that he has already been warned. Phil Salkin said his job lobbying the Dane County Board just became a whole lot easier. Eileen Bruskewitz was getting last-minute nomination signatures for her run as county executive. Dane County Towns Assn. head Jerry Derr said he had attended the Milwaukee inaugural ball Sunday night, as well.
I know I'm going to miss some names. Saw Art Zoellner, County Sup. Bill Clausius, Dane County GOP vice-chair Nancy Bartlett, and Nancy Mistele. Greeted sometime golfing partners Jim Mohrbacher, Liz Orella, and Molly Koranda. Saw old friends from the Tommy T days Tony and Rachel Langenohl, Brett Davis, Connie O'Connell, Scott Smith and his new wife. Chatted with State Rep. Keith Ripp, the only Republican legislator from Dane County and met his charming wife, who says she reads my blog. I'm in heaven.
My most unusual meet was Scott Walker's executive assistant -- a job that was no less esteemed when it was called personal secretary. A nice lady by the name of Dorothy Moore, and her husband. She has served as such for all eight years that Scott Walker was Milwaukee county exec and organized his Harley rides around the state, a true feat of logistics.
Dorothy has been on the transition team since the day after the election, commuting to Madison all the time. She enjoys working with Scott Walker, obviously, and says "what you see is exactly what he is really like." Very upbeat and positive, I would say.
At 10:30 I told my lovely Lisa it was time to head back to the Stately Manor. As we retrieved our coats at the free coat check we spotted the new governor striding briskly in the opposite direction surrounded by a small retinue. We reached across the velvet rope and shook hands.
"Congratulations, Scott," I said. "I mean, Governor."