After dealing what he probably believes was the death blow to public unions in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker got about as far from Madison as it was possible to get. Way the hell and gone up north, where the only thing separating him from Canada was one great big lake. Way up to the town of Washburn, where he'd celebrate his victory with a representative of the Koch brothers, one reality TV star, and a few big money donors. A big steak and champagne fundraiser, where he'd collect on delivery of his unpopular agenda.
"While thousands of nurses, firefighters and teachers are about to lose their jobs, and Wisconsin's standard of living is driven into the dirt, Hollywood Sean Duffy and Scott Walker find time to raise champagne toasts to their Koch Brothers masters," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said in an statement. "It is an obscene display, but at least we see Walker and Duffy now for who they are -- true enemies of Wisconsin's working families."
A little hyperbolic maybe, but it seems to have done the trick. While the Bayfield County GOP chair said he had reservations about having "this controversy to deal with," he was more excited than worried. He had it backwards.
[Duluth News Tribune:]
Wisconsin's protracted family fight over the budget and public employee unions moved to this Bayfield County town Saturday evening, as embattled Gov. Scott Walker spoke at an invitation-only event and was greeted by at least 2,000 angry protesters outside.
Walker arrived in a convoy of six unmarked police cars that pulled up at
5:45 p.m. to the Steak Pit for a Republican Lincoln Day fundraiser. The large, boisterous crowd, which had been lining the streets leading to the restaurant since 4:30, quickly recognized him and erupted in boos and shouts of "Recall Walker."
The protesters followed Walker to the restaurant and spoiled the whole shindig. The report tells us "they continued the protest within earshot of the Republican Party faithful inside." How big is a 2,000 person protest for Bayfield County? "[T]he protest probably at least doubled the size of Washburn, which has a population of 2,271," we're told.
So yeah, pretty big.
That was Friday. On Saturday, Wisconsin turned out a huge protest at the state capitol. As many as 100,000 protesters greeted the Wisconsin 14 back home as if they were astronauts returning from the moon. It was a massive demonstration; one that outnumbered the largest of the Tea Party rallies by about 30,000. Recall petitions are now flying around the state, with one activist describing signature collection as being "like taking candy from a baby."
It's at this point that I begin to wonder how Scott Walker and the his pet Republicans in the legislature saw this all turning out. In fact, all evidence points to gross incompetence. They obviously did no polling on the issue, no groundwork was laid, no base of support built beforehand. They just went ahead and did it, apparently assuming everyone in Wisconsin shared their opinions. Trapped in an insular little Republican world, they spoke only to each other, to corporate lobbyists, and Tea Party activists -- then they assumed those people spoke for everyone.
There's a word for that and it's one that, ironically, the right has been known to throw around -- elitism. That this description of the Walker GOP is more apt than calling blue collar dems elitist is probably lost on them. But they live in a little bubble of a world, where Utopian theories are treated as fact and corporate control is better than democracy. Millionaires and billionaires, political bigwigs and corporate lobbyists, they are all elitist to the core and now it's destroying them.
They've gone to great lengths to protect their ideas from reality, never testing them or questioning them or even seeing if anyone agreed with them. And now it's become clear that those protected ideas can't survive in the wild. The whole thing's coming down around their ears and you really have to wonder how they saw it turning out any differently.