35,000 to 1: Protesters Mobilize To Take Down Scott Walker

An estimated 35,000 Wisconsinites rallied at the Madison stop for Wisconsin’s AFL-CIO’s “Reclaim Wisconsin Tour,” the immediate focus of which is the recall of Governor Scott Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and four Republican state senators.

Saturday was the anniversary of Governor Scott Walker killing collective bargaining rights for public employees in Wisconsin. The underhanded way the law was passed has become a signature for Scott Walker’s conduct; a law passed in the dead of night, in seeming violation of the Open Meetings Law, behind closed doors and to massive protests. The collective response to the announcement that the Republicans had put one over on the people was deafening.

It’s one year later, but Wisconsin has not forgiven or forgotten.

Saturday’s rally was Wisconsin’s usual high energy turn out, but 35,000 people for a rally over an event that happened one year ago is incredible. This is a state that knows how to fight back. Protesters showed up in droves, replete with the Solidarity Singers, who still sing at the Capitol daily. They drummed and chanted, “This is what democracy looks like!” They carried signs reading, “Fire the Liar!” John Nichols of the Nation was in the house, along with Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin and Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt.

Phil had plenty to say about the “policies” of the Wisconsin Republicans, “Brothers and sisters, these families are real. Their pain is real. Your pain is real,” he said. “It is the kind of pain that has no place in our Wisconsin.”

Supporters of recalling the Governor rode The Recall Express around the state, concluding the tour in Madison. Supporters include former Walker voters and lifelong Republicans, not just “union members and Democrats,” as some people would like the public to believe.

A former Walker voter had this to say:

“Eliminating collective bargaining rights is wrong, and it’s not the way we do business here in Wisconsin,” said Jeff Huenink, who voted for Gov. Walker in 2010. “The more I learn about Scott Walker, the sorrier I am that I voted for him. If I had known about his extreme agenda and the direction in which he was going to take Wisconsin, I never would have voted for him in the first place.”

And as for the Governor’s alleged “pro-life” cred, Sue Carey is a lifelong Republican voter, who says she will not support him again because of his caps on Wisconsin’s Family Care; cuts which will impact her as the mother of an adult with Downs syndrome. Either she or her husband will have to quit their job in order to take care of their daughter.

And where were the Walker supporters? Wisc Politics did spy one lone Walker supporter holding a sign reading “Support Scott Walker, Not Union Thugs.”


Was it something Walker did?

Gosh, it could be the stench of corruption surrounding Scott Walker. Close aide Kelly Rindfleisch has been charged with four felonies in the John Doe investigation and Darlene Wink has been convicted of two misdemeanors. Another has been granted immunity.

It could be the fact that Walker either violated the law in starting a legal defense fund or he is being investigated for campaign finance violations and/or breaking election laws. Yet he tells us all that he is not being investigated. What is his word worth these days, anyway?

Maybe it was the fact that job growth is “troubling” under Walker’s policies. “Policies” is the word Republicans use for inflicting pain and punishment upon the 99% while rewarding the thieves at the top. “Tough fiscal policies” means they will be tough for the 99% but there will be government subsidies for the 1%. It means absolutely zero about fiscal responsibility, as evidenced in Wisconsin where Walker and his Republican posse have racked up quite a large amount of debt due to legislation.

The support for Walker in Madison on Saturday was nowhere to be found.

Last year, during protests of Walker, supporters were bussed in and at least made themselves known. One year later, the support section was a ghost town. Walker supporters have apparently whittled down to just one man, holding a sign calling union members “thugs”, which presumes that the protesters were all union members and also presumes that teachers, firefighters and police are thugs. That’s a mighty small tent the Republican Party is building.

One day the Wisconsin Republicans will wake up and realize that it wasn’t just union members and Democrats who objected to their policies.

Source: Attendance numbers are the official numbers from the Department of Administration.

Image: AFL-CIO

11 Replies to “35,000 to 1: Protesters Mobilize To Take Down Scott Walker”

  1. In fact, if that man had really thought the protesters were “thugs”, he wouldn’t have dared come alone. In fact, these protesters are a deal more tolerant than their opposite numbers in the right wing Rent-a-mobs, who have beaten and curbstomped people right in front of cameras and threatened legislators with violence.

  2. On Wisconsin!

    I am proud that after all this time, 35,000 people show up. That’s a lot of people. The more they come out like this, the chances of a Koch/Walker surviving the recall!

  3. The former Walker voter seems symbolic to me, of the people duped by the GOP into thinking they were voting conservative in the small “c” sense, rather than for John Birch style radicals.

    There was time when Birchers were considered so subversive that they were not allowed–at least in California–to run for public office. Ronald Reagan was a John Bircher, but J. Edgar Hoover gave him a free pass, and it was not disclosed till after Reagan’s death.

    The Koch Brothers, whose father was a founder of the JBS, are so loyal to his memory and the ideals of that radical fringe group, that they have spent a fortune trying to promote its ridiculous ideology across the nation.

    It’s not just their hatred of Obama’s oil policies, nor is it his skin color they detest. It’s that he represents what the majority of Americans want their government to be–on their side, against the enormous corporate powers ranged against them.

    In my opinion, Obama’s election drove the Kochs up the wall, and they have made a full court press to end the ‘scourge’ of liberal democracy once and for all. I think they’ve way overplayed their hand. Time to get them to accept reality, and bow out.

  4. 62,000-65,000 was the crowd estimate by organizers. The official number is 35,000. Organizing of any event always have a vested interest in inflating their crowd estimates. Remember how Glenn Beck claimed that he drew hundreds of thousands to his rallies, when it was really a tenth of that, or how organizers of the first OWS protests estimates tens of thousands in attendance when the number was thousands? You should always crowd estimates from event organizers with a grain of salt.

  5. It’s about time Wisconsin reclaimed their reputation from the likes of Walker. I can hardly wait for the recall election as a real bellwether of what is in store for the nation.

  6. This is so heartening to hear from former voters of Walker who lied his Kochead off. It’s always scary how easily they can lie and fool the people but encouraging to know some have opened their eyes to what actually happened after the liar took office.

    That poor lone Walker supporter with his ignorant sign. If he only knew that Walker is the Koch Thug and the Unions are working for the People.

    Thank you, Sarah!

  7. Thank you for bringing that to light, jjm. I had read before that Kochs’ father was co-founder of the John Birch Society. Speaking of thugs..the fascist kind.

  8. Actually the number of total protesters was estimated in the Milwaukee Journal at 68,000!! We won’t forget what Walker has done to our state!

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