The Wisconsin State Journal reports that anti-union tea party protesters were out-numbered today 30-to-1.
The crowd of protesters on the Capitol Square this afternoon has grown to as many as 60,000, according Joel DeSpain, a spokesman for the Madison Police Department.
Early estimates of the pro-Walker crowd were around 2,000.
UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting that the number of pro-union protesters at 70,000. That takes the ratio up to 35-to-1.
In case there is any question about whether or not this was a tea party gig:
They also report a very peaceful event. The only negative they really report is, naturally, a tea partier losing his shit:
One lively confrontation: A pro-Walker protester rushes a group of anti-Walker sign-wavers at the Col. Hegg statue at the top of King St. and begins ripping down signs.
All together now: CLASSY!
The so-called pro-Walker contingent was brought there by Koch brothers-funded astroturf project. Click on www.StandWithWalker and you get redirected to the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity site americansforprosperity.org/walker. This is not to be confused with the website shown in this graphic:
That one, IStandWithWalker.com, was the one promoted by Rush Limbaugh wannabe Vicki McKenna, a right wing radio blatherer.
UPDATE 2: I think it is worth pointing out here that this wasn’t astroturfed by just ONE conservative group but, rather, THREE. The StandWithWalker.com site is supported by Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth (more at Think Progress on this). The IStandWithWalker.com site is supported by American Majority. So three different far right groups got in on the act and they still got pwned! And that, as they say, is a Good Thing.
UPDATE: The Daily Page did some very fun reporting:
Gov. Scott Walker’s shock troops came to the state Capitol today to rally in support of his budget repair bill, which would extract unilateral concessions from state workers while stripping almost all public employees in Wisconsin of their collective bargaining rights.
The rally, organized by the Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity, was a bit underwhelming compared to the anti-Walker rallies this week, today included.
Gregory, of Milwaukee (he declined to give his last name), took a somewhat broader analysis. “I’m for people, not the government,” he said. “I think people should solve their own problems.”
What does this mean in the context of a dispute over union rights? “I think they should be treated like the private sector,” Gregory explained. “The state is broke. We can’t pay for pensions when the state is broke – the same thing Scott Walker says.”
Gregory added something about his fundamental beliefs: “I consider the Ten Commandments the definition and the responsibility of liberty,” saying any great leader must take his direction from these. And, in a criticism inspired by Obama’s health care reform bill, he offered a critique of legislation in general: “No law should have more words than the U.S. Constitution.”
I thanked Gregory and moved on. Later, it occurred to me to look something up. Ah, yes, here we go: According to an online resource, the un-amended U.S. Constitution has 4,543 words, including signatures. According to my computer’s word count of a cut-and-paste file, Senate Bill 11, Walker’s budget repair bill, has 48,966.
Oh, teabaggers, why are you so cute when you’re stupid?
I wanted to highlight this most-awesome photo shared in the comments of my Daily Kos diary by dmhlt 66. So very perfect:
Also, there’s this great bit from Giles Goat Boy, describing the interaction he saw between the tea partiers and the pro-union protesters:
Some of them were just bullies, though. Two young women decided to bull their way with their Walker signs through the slow-moving march in the opposite direction, knocking into people including my wife and me. They were quickly surrounded by police and security. That was all. The cops surrounded them and walked along, deliberately slowing them down but not interfering in any other way. I saw that a couple times. Security was totally professional and the pro-union marchers killed the teabaggers with kindness. Not sarcastic kindness, either. I mean, these are teachers, librarians, nurses, firefighters, kids in wagons, teenagers playing drums – nicest crowd I’ve ever been in anywhere.
Speaking of beautiful, check out this press release issued at around 5:00 p.m. on Saturday from the Madison Police Department:
On behalf of all the law enforcement agencies that helped keep the peace on the Capitol Square Saturday, a very sincere thank you to all of those who showed up to exercise their First Amendment rights. You conducted yourselves with great decorum and civility, and if the eyes of the nation were upon Wisconsin, then you have shown how democracy can flourish even amongst those who passionately disagree. As of 5:00 p.m., no major incidents had been reported. There have been no arrests. However, discourse and discussion was – at times – loud and heated. That was to be expected. As previously indicated, the goal of law enforcement has been to provide a safe environment for democracy to take place. That goal has been realized for yet another day.
I’m just sayin’…