As I stood on the capitol steps in Madison yesterday, chatting with some friends I hadn’t seen in quite a while, someone pointed out that a small sign had been posted in one of the windows of the Assembly chamber. (The chamber was to be the venue for Governor Walker’s budget address later in the day.)
Being the curious, troublemaking, bottom-feeding, slobby hanger-on that I am, I wandered closer to the building and looked up. The sign was a simple sheet of standard 8.5 x 11 inch paper with some printing on it. Two gentlemen in ties stood near the window smirking and pointing out at us. The sign was obviously printed from an office printer, so I knew right away it couldn’t be a message from the Democrats, who’ve had their printer privileges revoked by one of the Generals Fitzgerald.
Brilliant move, by the way! I bet it reduced the crowd of protestors by the thousands.
After I read the sign, all I could think was “Stay classy, Republicans.” Here is a photograph. It’s partially obstructed but it says:
If your sign is misspelled, can we blame a teacher???
Mind you, this is not in the office window of a staffer, or even a member of the legislature. This was posted in the window of the chamber where the Governor was preparing to explain how his new “tools” would allow local municipalities and school boards to fill in the gaping holes he was about to blast through their budgets. And just in case a town decided on its own to raise property taxes or something, the budget includes new laws that curtail local governments from implementing any local solutions.
This is the same Governor who last week claimed that he honored and respected Wisconsin's dedicated state workers.
Of course, we know it wasn’t tools he was giving to local governments, no more than if he had vomited on them then handed out coupons for 20 cents off a bottle of Shout.
As one commentator put it last week, Walker’s tactics aren’t calculated or part of a larger strategy, they’re simply lazy. It’s hard to negotiate with unions, so just outlaw them. It’s a challenge to make tough budget choices in tough times, so just shift responsibility to local officials and let them deal with the angry constituents and laid-off workers. It’s annoying to listen to the constant drumbeat of people asking to be treated with dignity, so just lock the palace doors and hire some out-of-town deputies (who need the overtime) to keep the noise down.
I held up my large sign that said “SHAME” and pointed it at the smirkers, which predictably prompted more smirks and some giggles from them.
It’s all a big game, right? What’s next? Are you going to remove the toilet paper from the bathrooms and issue it one sheet at a time to the Democrats?
Question: If this ends with middle class Wisconsinites leaving the state in droves, or with thousands of new bankruptcies, or with someone committing suicide or lashing out violently at law enforcement officers, can we blame Walker???