I got to the State house around 5:45. At the time I got there you could see two distinct groups. On the right side of the street (the state house building) were the unions. About 1200 people appeared on that side of the street (I actually counted).
On the other side of the street was the tea party folk, mixed with union folk, there were considerably more Union folk so they spilled over but the Tea Party had flags at the Shaw memorial precariously perched on the top of an ice bank.
The police did the best to keep the side apart at first and keep the road open since there was no permit to close it:
After my initial count I started interviewing I began on the Union side of the street with Kat:
The next willing person to talk was from the Democratic Socialists of America, ironic:
As soon as I talked to him a union fellow came up to me to claim that the tea party was having people show up pretending to be union folk. The irony of that statement was huge. This is called “projection” and we would see more of that before the end of the day.
I then crossed the street the crowd was getting thicker as more union folk turned up (were the stewards counting?). On the Tea Party side was Susan who was pushing a priest in a wheelchair and is clearly more Catholic than me:
I didn’t see Marty Knocked down, if someone has the film I’d like to see it. I also didn’t know they were making some union guys sign in. That suggest payment but I have no direct evidence of that.
At this point the street was shut down, I went to the police to ask about it and they said it was a matter of safety, too many people were there and they could not guarantee safety of people if cars kept going though
I then climbed up the ice hill and saw Roxeanne (who will talk about this Saturday on the show) and talked to Ralph who was now surrounded by union guys so his flag would not show up in the pictures
Climbing down was a bit of an adventure. I briefly chatted with one of the union guys covering the event and we agreed that the ice hill didn’t care what side anyone was on.
And of course the Axis of Fedora was represented:
more than once:
As the day wore on there were more of the standard: “I show up for every protest” people along with the LaRouche cult (sans Obama Hitler mustaches signs) their suggestions were…interesting.
Shortly afterwardMichael Graham of WTKK showed up and he was not well received by the union folk as he gave out his “Doctor Notes”
The union guys swarmed him so police had to come, ironically one of the union guys heckling him made the best case of anyone there for unions in general:
This guy should have been on the stage, if the unions were smart he would be their spokesman. Meanwhile I followed Graham as his very presence made buzz
and seemed to drive people over the edge:
To craziness and Nazi salutes. This really took State Rep Bastein (R Gardner) aback
He talked to me about it directly afterward:
We never saw this kind of nonsense in our neck of the woods. I lost track of Graham at this point but found an interesting person who had lived in the Soviet Union who had some comment:
It’s funny how people who have actually lived under oppression seem to be on the conservative side. He was the second Russian I had met today saying the same thing.
At this point (about 5:30) it looked like things were dying down
However it wasn’t as dead as I thought as this fellow started to call the Tea Party people (who were more prominent as some union people started leaving) mass murderers.
I tried to interview the union guy who tried to block the interview but he declined curtly. Even more interestingly was an actress Trudy and her friend Bob who both talked to me until my memory card filled:
It was really interesting to see really odd charges made against the tea party which are totally contrary to reality and to my own reporting over the last 14 months but I never thought to ask her, if she was an actress for all these decades with the Union to look out for her, how is it she never made it into the middle class? I guess the union movement didn’t do much for her.
Once I changed my card I talked to Edward of the tea party who I see regularly at these events and Karen who follows me on twitter (thanks)
We both bemoaned the lateness of our Koch brother checks that should be keeping us in luxury. I made it a point to stay as the union folk packed up, there was a fair amount of trash that was left in the area and I wanted to see if they would pick up after themselves, in the end pickup was done but from an unexpected source:
Yes that’s right, a tea party guy was picking up after the union, after all “janitor” was likely not in their job description.
At that point I went back to the tea and a nice fellow allowed me to put my PC on his bag as he sat allowing me to finish my Examiner article (click on it, that’s worth .75 of a cent to me).
How did it come out? Well it really will have no effect on Wisconsin but you could see that the union side was tense, they are very afraid of what is going on in Wisconsin, they were in denial about the last election, and I think they realize that it’s a question of when (not if) Gov Walker wins this fight.
The image of democrats fleeing the state and doctors giving out “sick notes” have made a very bad impression that is likely going to stick. Even worse if Walker turns Wisconsin around he will be copied and the game will be over.
Update: Welcome Big Government and Gateway pundit readers. Take a peek around and don’t forget to check out my two articles on the subject at the Examiner. Anger and Loathing in Boston and The News Hounds that didn’t Bark. Also check out my two interviews with Andrew Breitbart, one from CPAC and one from Madison.