The Spectacle Blog

Dispatch from Madison

By on 2.22.11 | 8:28PM

Madison, Wisconsin -- Greetings from ground zero of the showdown between taxpayers and public sector unions. After arriving this afternoon I stopped by the capitol to check out the ongoing pro-union protest; commentary on that, and a couple of pictures that I snapped, are after the jump.

This evening Governor Scott Walker gave a "fireside chat" outlining his position; I don't see video online yet, but the transcript is here. State Senator Mark Miller -- speaking from Illinois (with a Wisconsin flag behind him) -- gave a Democratic response; Hot Air has video of that. The contrast between Walker's delivery and Miller's was striking; the former projected competence and confidence while the latter stuttered and looked ever-so-slightly deranged.

While most of the signs at the rally outside and inside the capitol were fairly boring, coverage of Tea Party rallies has taught me that it's standard practice to cherry-pick the craziest sign in the crowd, so here goes:

The Niemoller quote, of course, goes onto say "Then they came for the Jews." I'm fairly sure that Governor doesn't plan on building death camps, but if I find any evidence to the contrary I'll be sure to report on it.

Speaking of tropes from coverage of Tea Party rallies, the crowd both inside and outside the capitol was overwhelmingly white. One would expect this given Madison's demographics, but reports on the Tea Parties seem to think this is important to mention. Unlike Tea Party rallies, though, they have a drum circle:

The drums served to drown out the governor's arguments, which were being broadcast over the PA. According to local news, when Walker's live fireside chat was broadcast, it was also drowned out with boos.

More from Wisconsin to come; I'll be here for several more days.

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