I went to the Capitol today to speak at an event sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. It was a great time. It’s always heartening to see people gather together to speak to their government.
I arrived a bit early. I thought that I would have trouble finding parking, but I pulled right into a public lot a couple of blocks from the capital. There were a bunch of fliers under the windshield wipers of the cars in the parking lot that told public employees to use their lunch break to protest to save their jobs or some such rot. I picked one up, but unfortunately, I accidentally left my stack of goodies at the rally. Oops.
As I approached the Dome I could see that the stage was still being set up. There were several hundred union folks there already getting themselves warmed up. I walked around the crowd a bit and chatted with some of the folks. Some of them were perfectly nice, but they didn’t know who I was. I chatted with a hippie who asked me, “so… is this the side that wants a budget or the side that doesn’t want a budget?” I proceeded to educate him that both sides want a budget - just with different levels of taxing and spending. I also enlightened him about the fact that Wisconsin continues to operate under the previous budget, so government can continue to operate unabated. He kind of meandered off and I didn’t see him again.
After mingling with some of the pro-tax-hike folks for 20 minutes or so, I made my way to the area that was set aside for the rally. As I was getting there, the police were asking the union folks who were in that area to move to behind the police cordon. One of the union guys recognized me and proceeded to yell at me for various things. He got around to insisting that I write about the fact they were being asked to vacate the space reserved for another group. When he stopped to take a breath, I was able to suggest to him that he start his own blog instead of telling me what I should write on mine. That flummoxed him for long enough to allow me to move along.
After chatting with a few more people I headed into the building. There were a bunch more union folks inside. One rather beefy gentleman was strutting around saying “this is OUR house.” I couldn’t tell if he meant to exclude the rest of us or not. I chatted with some more union folks and picked up some more fliers. It made for interesting reading.
Before the rally actually started I was asked to go out and do media interviews. I wandered out there, but all of the media folks were busy. So I took the opportunity to wander through the pro-tax-increase crowd some more. I spoke with some more people. One guy berated me for a while about whatever. Another guy said that I looked like a fag in my picture on this blog. Nice people, eh? Another guy had a button made that was derogatory towards B&S. I asked him if I could have it for posterity’s sake, but he energetically declined. I wish I could remember what it said… Oh well. A couple of times a union guy went over the line to crash into the rally area. His buddies would whoop and holler for him before the police escorted him back to the perimeter.
On my way back to the stage, I went through the main “entrance” to the rally area. It was lined with yet more union folks who were yelling at anyone who was entering. I met up with my old union friend from earlier who decided to yell at me some more. He kept asking a lot of questions but never actually stopped for an answer. At one point he said something about a group of firefighters who had just attended a 9/11 memorial and asked why they were on his side and not mine. It was a rather absurd question - as if the mere fact that they are firefighters who had just been to a 9/11 memorial should mean that I must agree with them about the appropriate level of taxation in Wisconsin. I said something like “because they’re not thinking right.” My union friend proceeded to yell to everybody else that I said that the firefighters weren’t thinking right and then took me by the arm and said that I should go over and talk to them. Well, about the time that you put your hands on me is the time that I end the conversation. I asked him to take his hands off me and proceeded through the cordon into the rally area. They were assembling on stage anyway and I needed to work my way up there.
It was great experience to be surrounded by so many great folks. I met a lot of new people and saw a lot of friends. When the event started, the crowd was electric. I won’t go into the details of everyone’s speeches. Honestly, behind the podium I had a hard time hearing a good chunk of them.
I suppose I should mention the behavior of the pro-tax-increase folks during the actual rally (warning: naughty language). Frankly, I found their behavior flat out rude and childish. They yelled and blew air horns the entire time to disrupt the speeches (they were not successful) as if just listening to what we had to say was unacceptable. Let me give you some examples. They chanted “loser” a couple of times. What are they, 5? During a couple of the speeches they chanted “bullshit.” I suspect that this was deliberately to prevent the speeches from being aired on television or radio. They should be ashamed of their boorish behavior.
I enjoyed giving my speech, but it didn’t go as well as I would have liked. The mike was too low, so I had to hunch over. I also had to yell into the mic to be heard and squint from the sun. So I ended up hunching, yelling, and squinting. Ah well, it seemed to be well received.
After the event I chatted with a few more folks and then hit the road. I was supposed to get on a bus for a minute and talk to some college kids, but I couldn’t find them. Sorry, guys and gals.
Thanks to AFP for putting together this event. Thanks to all of those people who showed up to support a budget without tax increases. And thanks to those legislators who are sticking up for the taxpayers.
I’ll be posting links at the bottom of this post to news stories and other blogs as they post about the rally. Keep checking back!
- Fred Dooley, who also spoke, has his recap up.
- Christian Schneider stuck out like a sore thumb.
- Our friends from WisPolitics were there.
- They also have some pics.
- Here’s the story in the MJS.
- Here’s the AP story from GMToday and the Post-Crescent.
- Fraley has some more pics and observations.
- No Runny Eggs was there and will have pics and video up later.
- Here’s Fox6’s news report. It’s pretty balanced. TMJ4’s report was horribly slanted.
- Here’s the CapTimes report. The comments are entertaining.
- My new friend from Caffeinated Politics was there.
- Patrick McIlheran has some thoughts on the rally.
- Silent E Speaks… well… speaks, and has pictures.
- Lance Burri was there.
- No Runny Eggs has his report up.
- Here’s some pics from No Runny Eggs.
- Raw video of Fred Dooley.
- Raw video of some freak.
- Jib was there with his camera.
- Somebody was Stepping Right Up in Madison.
- There were imported badgers.
- Fred has posted some of his own pics.
- Jib has his pics here.
- AFP’s blog has all kind of stuff - just keep scrolling.
So I ended up hunching, yelling, and squinting.
Great image. In a few years, this is how you will look to your children. Trust me—I’ve already been there/done that.
Can’t remember where the Hell the t-shirt is, though.
We heard you fine, believe it or not. Good speech!
Prior to the event starting, Owen Robinson, a well-known conservative blogger was in the area dominated by public employees. I went up and introduced myself and we chatted a minute about blogging, and the perfect weather that allowed us all to enjoy the rally. It was then that someone made a remark about the way he was dressed, and ended it with a sexual remark that was uncalled for.
Now Owen and I see the world through very different perspectives. We agreed on the weather, but had the conversation turned to the topic of the rally would have found much to disagree over. And that is fine. People can agree to disagree. But for someone in the crowd to throw out a horrid comment based on the fact Robinson had different views on the tax issue is absurd. Frankly, I was embarrassed to be standing there at that moment.
Thanks, man. It was nice to meet you today.
Just caught the Fox6 report, you’re right - quite balanced. Nice that they worked in a couple clips of Mr. Boots/Sabers himself! You didn’t look overly hunched.
Thanks for standing up for us.
Owen, I had to work today so I can’t attend stuff like this. But I’m grateful that you and whoever else did go. And for writing blog entries like you do that explain that things are running just fine without a “budget”
Keep up the good work to all of you on this from the private sector crew!
What, no one called anyone a hoor? And someone made Boots & Kittens (TM) buttons?
I have interest in speaking out on behalf of getting that budget passed. But wouldn’t dream of attending that rally. Owen’s very likely accurate depiction of the mood at the rally leads me to believe it was a lot of senseless posturing on both sides.
Forget that. Get to work. Pass a budget. And can we please stop pretending its really OK to continue without one? Operating a state without a budget is irresponsible regardless of political affiliation.
Stop the linear thinking; start the hard work.
Oh, and also, Fox6 report was far better than TMJ4which was lame.
I can’t help but notice in the pictures and videos I saw of the event that the good side definitely has the pretty ladies.
thanks for sticking up for the good guys and gals…now I have to get back to work so I can pay some more taxes.
Owen, I had to work today so I can’t attend stuff like this. - Steve Austin
Ah, Steve’s not a union employee.
Everbody on that stage was great. Thanks for speaking Owen and it was good to finally meet you…...
Prior to the rally: I to was wandering around the pro-tax crowd with an AFP pamphlet in my hand. The way I was dressed, as well as my age, I would have easilly fit in with these insects. I proceded to sit down off to the side next to a few of these pro-tax socialists. Well, I overheard numerous comments directed towards me which I will not, can not, repeat here.
Walking around with a pamphlet, I could easilly have imagined that I was walking amongst the Red Guard in Communist China during the cultural revolution. Needless to say, this pro-tax, pro-union socialist crowd probably has no clue about the cultural revolution, Nazi Germany or Kim Jong Il, and the ultimate result of Socialism. But I digress(?) My point? -
IT’S A PAMPHLET FOR CRYING OUT LOUD - GET A REAL JOB, GET A LIFE, YOU TAX SUCKING SCUM!
Glenn Reynolds just linked to your report.
I am a County Supervisor looking for help to get a referendum on the ballot April 2008 that will eliminate a new tax ($10.00 wheel tax) that the board pass 2 to 1 last meeting. I need any advice and support to eliminate this $750,000.00 (approximate) sucking sound from the citizens and businesses in the county. Please e-mail me with the subject - wheel tax petition. thanks chuck
It’s nice to know Ags have conquered Wisconsin. Nice pic.
Chuck, you do know that all correspondence you receive via email is a public record, right? How do you archive it?
Operating a state without a budget is irresponsible regardless of political affiliation.
Why is this so hard for people to grasp ... THEY HAVE A BUDGET!!!!!! What they don’t have is a NEW Budget.
What is irresponsible is to raise taxes by over a BILLION DOLLARS on an already over taxed populice.
Now if Doyle would stop obstructing the process and drop his ridiculously high tax increase demands, maybe we could get that new Budget that some people think is so darn important!
Your speech was heard fine. Thanks for a great speech.
What really struck me about the whole thing was the fact the those who feel they need to pay higher taxes acted in such a childish and profane manner. I heard them chant at one point, “We pay texes too, F*ck you”.
On the side of us that feel we pay more than enough I never heard one vulgarity used.
TD, why is it hard to grasp that what we have is an old budget from the previous year, often based on the projected cost of things made a year before that? If you were managing a budget in the private sector, and even if circumstances dictated no new funding, any sane manager would see the need to re-adjust the current operations to reflect your best estimate of present-day realities. You think that’s what we have?
I wonder how many of the pamphlets can be traced to a State government printer/computer and have been cmposed on taxpayer time?