A VIEW FROM WISCONSIN
A savvy insider writes:
An out of state colleague asked me what it was like here. I thought maybe some of my other friends would like to know, too.
It is wild.
My personal feelings have been of incredulity and anger that our political process has been stopped by a mob. It is absolutely shocking.
For those of you curious about other viewpoints from the regular press reports, I recommend the MacIver Institute's website, and Media Trackers. org. and WisconsinEye. Also don't miss the coverage by Wisconsin Reporter.com Their tweets have been the best coverage of the events. Eyewitness history. #wisconsinreport
The tea party plans to rally in support of Governor Walker. I don't know what kind of numbers they can amass, but frankly, I doubt they can come close to busloads of union thugs being shipped in from all over the country. Last night one Senator told me they had been told to clear the Capitol because the new groups coming in overnight are filled with with people "who aren't afraid to be arrested" and the Administration could not guarantee the safety of the legislators and their staffs. In our Capitol.
On Thursday, legislators were advised to return to their offices and lock their doors. Mobs roamed the halls, banging on the glass of the doors, pounding on the walls. No one could move in the halls or enter or leave the building. The glass of the Supreme Court's entrance was broken. Legislators were genuinely afraid. Our elected representatives were afraid. In our Capitol.
A young female reporter trying to get into the Senate chamber struggled to get through the crowd. She arrived disheveled and upset because she had been roughed up as she tried to get through "Bitch-slapped" the mob told her. A senior senator was spat on. A senator and his female staffer struggled to get into the capitol. He was worried about his staffer because the crowd was grabbing at her and pushing her. University Police were two arms lengths away and did nothing. They, of course, are union.
Everyone has heard the story of the Democrats fleeing the state (Our slogan: Wisconsin; Illinois is beneath us). Everywhere are signs comparing Walker to Hosni Mubarak. What is their end game? Overturning an election and seizing our government?
Protesters spent the night on the floor of the Capitol. A friend of mine said the entire place smelled when she walked in on Friday morning. There was garbage everywhere. This is one of the most beautiful Capitol buildings in the country. The mob had no respect for the place, for what happens there, or for the citizens whose freedoms it represents.
On the other hand, one of the freshmen (Republican) members of the assembly tells me that the leggies are united and have bonded in a way that would never have been possible in other circumstances. On Thursday night, behind locked doors she said, they wept, held hands, and prayed, vowing unity. Another Senator says she thinks the tide has turned. Another (Repub) answered in response to my question; "This is kinda fun!"
The Governor stands firm. I understand that there are strategies in place for next steps which will shake up the stalemate....I have known him for at least 15 years, but he is different now. He is a man who has met his time and his place, and he seems to know it.