UPDATE 5, Saturday, Feb. 19, 5:10 p.m. CST: Here’s an encouraging statistic for those who followed the massive Wisconsin labor protests today. An estimated 60,000 people turned out, most of them suppo
UPDATE 5, Saturday, Feb. 19, 5:10 p.m. CST: Here’s an encouraging statistic for those who followed the massive Wisconsin labor protests today. An estimated 60,000 people turned out, most of them supporting labor but thousands of them backing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. But not a single arrest was made around the capital, according to the Madison police.
Listening to right-wing posterboy Andrew Breitbart this afternoon, however, you’d have thought the entire event was on the brink of chaos. Breitbart’s speech before the pro-Walker contingent was a long ramble, bouncing from one strange topic to the next. Nazi signs, tea partiers supposedly getting punched in the face, and on and on. The worst of it came when Breitbart pointed to the marching labor protesters and declared that “anarchists were central” to their movement. Here’s the video:
Now, I didn’t embed with the labor folks nor trail them the entire day. But rest assured I didn’t see a single “anarchist” in the throngs of people, no one stirring up trouble just for the sake of it, no one instigating fights with the pro-Walker people or lighting cars on fire or whatever it is that Andrew Breitbart thinks anarchists do. I saw moms and dads and their kids, teachers and plumbers, security guards and cops and firefighters in kilts. Lots of college students. Plenty more retirees. No anarchists.
That’s the best Breitbart could muster. In fact, none of the speakers at the counter-protest had any kind of substantive response to the labor folks’ position other than to call them greedy or lazy or irresponsible. And even those accusations didn’t last long. By late afternoon, the counter-protest was over, the Americans for Prosperity signs nowhere to be found. The other side of the capital, by contrast, was as loud as ever, and the biggest rally of the week would last until sundown. As I walked to a nearby hotel to write this, there were thousands of them inside and outside the capital.