Today in Wisconsin

As I write this, it’s less than two hours away from the 4 p.m. (Central Time, I assume) deadline for protesters to leave the Wisconsin state capitol building. Yesterday, members of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association were saying that they would not enforce the order. Now that the time is getting near, it’s not clear to me (from far away New York) what’s going on.

The governor says he’s not backing down. No doubt he’s seen himself mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2012 several times in the past few days.

The Right is still trying to spin this weekend’s rallies as a tale of raging union goons, but from what I can see this is not the way mass media is telling it. I am not watching Faux News, of course.

(And speaking of Faux News, there’s a rumor Roger Ailes will be indicted. I’m skeptical. We’ll see.)

Update: Live feed at Firedoglake.

Update: From what I can see, the protesters are being allowed to stay in the Wisconsin capitol building. No arrests, no confrontations reported.

15 thoughts on “Today in Wisconsin

  1. Re:
    Ailes Indictment — Not likely, as Marcie Wheeler points out — the relevant statutes of limitation have likely run; and THIS Justice Department — not likely either. Wish it were otherwise, but it isn’t.

  2. You just know that Walker (that punk!), his supporters, FOX, and the Kapitalist Keyboard Kommando’s are praying that there’s some major confrontation between the police and the protesters.
    I hope the police do what the Egyptian military did, which was, if not outright joining the protesters, at least not putting them in their crosshairs.
    The right wants to see a Libya, not an Egypt. They loooooves them some strongmen and violence!

  3. Maybe I am dense, but if they clear the building aside from drawing attention to the confrontation, which is good for labor, what does the governor expect to gain? The building must open tomorrow. The protests could and should resume with even greater publicity if there are arrests.

  4. Way I see it, Walker has taken a position that is a lose-lose for him. Had he been a little smarter–okay, make that A LOT smarter–he would have made a pretense of doing his damnedest to find some means of reconciliation, thus allowing himself some weasel room. But he didn’t. Instead he took a big all or nothing gamble with no fallback position.

    I’m confident the protesters will refuse to leave. If the police arrest them, they will go to jail peaceably. Big oops for Walker if that happens. Arresting people for peaceably assembling in the People’s House–especially your kids’ teachers, your minister, priest or Rabbi, your friends and neighbors–does not sit well with most folks, regardless of their political ideology. (And BTW, where can the police house them? I’m guessing jails are already pretty full.)

    If the police defy Walker and refuse to follow orders–whoa, Nelly!–another major oops. He’s going to come off as a delusions-of-grandeur simpleton.

    And one thing that makes me smile is, I do not believe the man has the vaguest idea what kind of hornet’s nest he’s stirred up for himself, personally, down the road. But I’m sure he’ll get a clue when his street isn’t plowed, no deliveries arrive on time, and his trash, for some strange reason, never gets collected.

  5. From the FDL feed, it seems like the cops cleared people from the main floor but allowed people to go upstairs to other floors and stay there. It sounds like it was peaceful and orderly. A compromise of sorts?

  6. Purple Girl, I interpret this action as a agreement between the protesters and the police that, sub rosa, reads something like this: Look, we’ll help you all we can, but we’ll be fired if we don’t follow orders, so go upstairs and hang on, and we’ll see that the pizza deliveries get through.”

    I don’t say this as an idle speculator. Been through a first-ever teacher’s strike in my part of my State. And I can tell you with great confidence, among our greatest allies were members of the poilice department. And Teamsters.

  7. Reading this post, I found myself making these adjustments in my head:

    “Central Time” –> Egypt Time
    “the Wisconsin state capitol building” –> Tahrir Square
    “the Wisconsin Professional Police Association” –> the Egyptian Army
    “the governor” –> Mubarak
    “presidential candidate in 2012” –> successor to the god Ra
    “the Right” –> the regime
    “union goons” –> foreign interlopers
    “Faux News” –> Faux News

    Seriously, though. Disquieting parallels.

  8. I heard Walker briefly in a video – basically dismissing the power plant sale as an old idea that’s been around a long time.

    But my takeaway is that this guy is not as dumb as everyone says he is – in the video he was quick speaking and quick thinking, and he stuck to his guns – I’m sure being a pastor’s kid had something to do with this. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the GOP 2012 inner circle, especially if he can pull off Wisconsin.

    People with big ideas tend to be ambitous, and there’s nothing wrong with that per se. It’s just that when the ideas are morally wrong is the problem.

  9. Chilling article by George Lakoff (I know – “chilling” and “Lakoff” don’t ordinarily go together), The Real Issues: A Wisconsin Update:

    …If the Wisconsin plan to kill the public employees’ unions succeeds, then there will be little union money in the future to support democratic candidates.

    Conservatives will be effectively unopposed in raising campaign funding in most elections, including the presidential elections. This will mean a thoroughly conservative America in every issue area.

    …That is the obvious half of what the Wisconsin protests are about. The other half concerns the rights of ordinary people in a democracy — rights conservatives want to deny, whether gay rights, women’s rights, immigrant rights, retirement rights, or the right to the best health a nation can provide to all its citizens. Unions, through their political contributions, support the basic freedoms, protections, and resources we all require to have a decent life and live in a civilized society. If those unions are destroyed, American life will become unrecognizable in a remarkably short time.

    Democracy as we know it is at stake in the Wisconsin protests, not just budgets and unions.

    Progressives are organizing rallies to “Save The American Dream.” They are understating the case.

    If Democrats are not talking out loud about these deeper issues, then they are, by their reticence and silence, helping conservatives destroy unions, defund the Democratic party, and take over the country.

  10. My take on Walker is that he’s emulating the name above all names among conservatives….”tear down this wall!”. He’s taken a big bite and if he can succeed in devouring it he will have elevated himself to the highest heights of the conservative cause with the assurance of exaltation in the GOP. I think that his being a preachers kid will guide his mindset with a ” putting your hands to the plow, don’t look back” mentality. I’d also guess his anticipation of events wasn’t calculated for the resistance that he’s met with so far, and that the longer the resistance in Wisconsin stands against his gamble, the greater is his chance to fail in his attempt.

    It’s abundantly clear that his desire to destroy collective bargaining rights is not necessary in order to address budget deficits and it is not in the interest of the people of Wisconsin, so he is treading on dangerous ground that could easily shift from under him.

  11. I can imagine the conversations in the governor’s office. He has to make the protesters go away without using tear gas. He hasn’t left himself room to negotiate. (A mistake Obama never makes.) Walker may see himself as presidential – and he will be the darling of the tea party – only if he brings this off without compromise.

    As I look at possible outcomes, I think it will be the legislature that blinks. Either a democrat returns to Madison or some moderate republican(s) defect. Suppose it gets passed. One has to wonder if the law violates federal labor law. If it does, then this could turn into a showdown between Walker and Obama. Which is what Walker would like.

  12. I don’t think Walker is alone. I think is called everyday by bunches of the main group of Republican thugs to keep his spirits up. I am sorry that Lakoff is so pessimistic about this. I am watching the Academy Awards and many of the winners are thanking everyone and noting that they are all union. I think the Walker and the Repugs bit off more than they can chew this time.

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