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Madison Tea Party battleground more divided, entrenched than ever

Madison Tea Party battleground more divided, entrenched than ever

This past Saturday marked a change for the now-annual Wisconsin Tax Day Tea Party in Madison, Wisc. While thousands turned out — an organizer said it was 6,300 —  it wasn’t the masses that had showed up in the pouring rain last year to see Andrew Breitbart and Sarah Palin cheer them on. The tone among the attendees was markedly different–more tempered and positive compared to the battle cries of last year.

The counter-protesters, which last year had come in drones to shout down Governor Walker, were down to a few grisly operatives–this year there were 100 of them at best. They stayed on the outskirts of the protests, marching in their counter-circles and observing from afar.

So with the sun shining over the crowd at the epicenter of the battle between small-government conservatives and union-backed leftists, it was clear that the movement is down to its essence on each side.

On the one side, what Breitbart referred to as his “army of Davids”–the Tea Party activists. Last year he had received some flack for shouting in the midst of his fiery speech that the near-frothing leftists in the crowd could “go to hell.” Despite the best efforts of the speakers on Saturday, from BigJournalism’s Dana Loesch to Wisconsin radio host Vicki McKenna, the crowd wasn’t seeking war cries this time, but patriotic, positive messages like the little boy who led them in the Pledge of Allegiance.

If the Tea Partiers, down to their core constituencies, were a bit mellowed in their anger, the slack was taken up by the others in attendance–the small contingent of counter-protesters who until recently had been marked by the overwhelming support from unions nationwide. Wisconsin has become their ultimate battleground, too, and the anti-Walker bus brigade has been bringing people from as far as Canada to ensure a big crowd for the cameras.

Not so this year, as the only remnants of last year’s cavalcade were the hardcore union and fringe leftists operatives. (A bonus for those of you who relish the caught-on-camera idiocy sometimes on display among these lefties: a little birdie reports that the infamous You Know Ja headliner has been found again this year, video to-come.)

Three observations about the Madison battleground, now distilled into its core elements:

1. The sides of the battle are fully entrenched. No longer attempting to convince each other, they kept to their sides, with the Tea Partiers clearly seeking positive messages and the leftists full of vitriol and hate.

2. The Tea Party is all grown up. They knew how to handle the lone infiltrators–a flag-stomping union heavy who wandered in the crowd was immediately surrounded, peaceably, on all sides with signs obscuring his.

3. There is less distinction between the Tea Party and the Republican party. With the tempering of their fire, also evident was the weakening of their position. One the outskirts, a Paulian argued with a Tea Partier over Romney being the father of Obamacare (sign of things to come….).

Last year I drove back to Chicago with Andrew Breitbart after his appearance at their Tax Day Tea Party last year. He worried over having said “go to hell,” and basked in the glow of his (first?) in-person conversation with Sarah Palin, whom he adored.

That car ride Andrew had said the Tea Partiers were a movement of anti-activists. That their fire came in opposition, not in being a movement of activists themselves. One year later, his image was captured on signs throughout the crowd, but his army of Davids was quieter and more grown up.

Was Andrew right that this is an anti-activist movement?



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Define “anti-activist” for us, please, Ms. Sorock.

    Anne Sorock in reply to Ragspierre. | April 16, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Believe when Breitbart said it he was referring to them not getting reward simply through the act of the protest. That the Tea Partiers are doing their duty to their country by protesting, but aren’t like some other protest groups that derive pleasure in the protest as an end in itself.

[…] – Thoughts On A Tea Party – via Anne Sorock at […]

“The counter-protesters, which last year had come in drones to shout down Governor Walker, were down to a few grisly operatives–this year there were 100 of them at best.”

Hopefully this is indication that the WI unions are running out of cash.

Welcome Anne!!! \o/

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to quiznilo. | April 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    They’re probably just saving it for the big push right before the recall election.

    Never misunderestimate the amount of taxpayer cash obastard has doled out to the unions that we are not even yet aware of.

[…] Legal Insurrection on the Tea Party in Madison Wi. this weekend. […]

“…marching in their counter-circles.”

interesting, are there hard and fast rules to which direction radical leftists march… is it counter-clockwise circles or does counter-circles pertain to marching in squares or rectangles?

If not, its no wonder they’re always angry.

Fine observations. This appears to be a natural evolution, in conformance with the basic character of adult caretaking patriot on one hand and childish anarchist/subversive on the other. I sort of agree that tea partiers and modern, engaged conservatives are “anti-activists”, i.e., do not think and act according to the typical bi-polar model of “activism.” The tea partiers are more pragmatic, psychologically mature and clear-eyed as to causes and effects than Leftists. Their anger last year was not destructive and aimed purely at emotional gratification (as it always is on the adolescent Left) but a rational response to a true and shocking understanding of the savage nature and intentions of the Left. The Tea Party fairly quickly understood the advantages of directing their drive and resolve to elections and long-term planning, to husbanding and “budgeting” their energies.

In the long run, our efforts and energies will prevail. But that’s the thing: there won’t be a “long-run” if the Left has its way. The Left is doing its best – racing even — to turn America into a triage, a future-less place where people can only consider and experience the immediacy of crisis, fear and the defeat of hope.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to raven. | April 17, 2012 at 3:01 am

    Th media measures breadth of support by the amount of noise made. They simply cannot grasp the “sleeping giant” concept.

    Unlike the left, we conservatives take showers, feed our kids, pay our bills, mow our lawns, maintain our homes, go to work, count calories and help our kids with their homework when they need it. The recognition of those duties and responsibilities breeds depth of commitment to the purpose of those activities, which is to maintain resources and practical standards. We don’t have time to pitch tents and play with butterfly nets all day, even though that would be, like, totally groovy, man.

    So we show up and do what needs to be done at the time needed. Let them mistake our solemnity for reticence. We leave the noise and the showboating to the left. We roared in 2010, so now they know we’re here. We don’t have to keep firing one another up. We get it.

    That’s the nature of sleeping giants.

“The counter-protesters, which last year had come in DRONES to shout down Governor Walker, …”

—I thought this might be a typo at first but, no, no, it’s not surprising to me at all. These people are robots.

“He worried over having said ‘bite me,’ …”

—As a fellow Westside LA lonely conservative guy … there’s a bit of Bart Simpson in us as a defense mechanism. I find it so charming and endearing that Andrew would fret over having said something so mild, while the lefties who danced on his grave wouldn’t give their vile words a second thought. As Bart would say, “Eat my shorts, lefties!”

“Was Andrew right that this is an anti-activist movement?”

—On first reflection, I would say yes … standing athwart madness and yelling, “Stop!”

Great debut post! Look forward to more!

    Anne Sorock in reply to LukeHandCool. | April 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Eeep — you’re right, it was meant to be “droves.” But drones just sounded so correct….

      Steve Burri in reply to Anne Sorock. | April 16, 2012 at 11:33 pm

      ‘Drones’ is also an appropriate word in that, in the beehive, drones don’t work, screw around a lot, and occasionally move hot air.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Anne Sorock. | April 17, 2012 at 3:08 am

      “The counter-protesters, which last year had come in drones to shout down Governor Walker…..”

      “Drones” was a fortuitous error in that the shouting against Walker was a drone chanted by mindless drones doing what they are programmed to do, no more, no less. 🙂

      An excellent piece. Thank you.

Rush Limbaugh is currently at 9:36 pacific time pumping up Legal Insurrection. Look for blog meltdown in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…..

Professor – Rush gave a shout out to your blog and is reading your post:


    LukeHandCool in reply to tazz. | April 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    The only question remaining in my mind … would the Professor accept if he were asked to be Romney’s running mate?

And National Review in the good Professor’s wake …

Time to stand against the Progressive Philistines:
Today, April 16th: 2012 Chicago Tax Day Tea Party Rally, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM CST at Daley Plaza.
I’ll be there.

You said that ” it was clear that the movement is down to its essence on each side.”

I find this to be a good sign that indeed Breitbart was correct in saying the Tea Party is an anti-activist movement, and judging by the number of union thugs who did not participate I don’t understand why you view this as a weakening of the position of the Tea Party.

It appears more to me that they have dug in their heels and shown that they have far more power than the leftists suspected.

I’m not sure what you mean by “anti-activist”.

As a tea party person, I go to meetings of my local tea party group. They meet EVERY WEEK.
They give us action items, present speakers, and keep us up to date on legislation. Taking action is up to the individual, and I’d have to say that our group is definitely active.

Last week a woman in her 60’s talked about infiltrating a meeting of occupy leftists. She had decided to be Breitbart and go behind the lines of the enemy to find out what they were up to. Brave woman. She shared a lot of useful information with us.

Anti-activist? Hell no.
We’re as active as hell, and we’re not going anywhere.

    Tamminator in reply to Tamminator. | April 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I might add: Holding up signs at rallies is so 2009.

      Hope Change in reply to Tamminator. | April 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      I agree, Tamminator. It seems to me that the TEA Party fire is deeper and stronger. The TEA Party energy is a response to attempts by the Left and GOPE, through government, to destroy American freedoms and our prosperous economy. We’re moving into a crucial time right now. Why would TEA Party people drop away at this crucial time? Just because people may not be putting their energy into a rally doesn’t mean the energy is gone. This analysis doesn’t seem likely to me.

        Tamminator in reply to Hope Change. | April 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm

        Your assessment is correct, HC. We are active where it counts: Working to get people elected, pushing legislation and spreading information to other tea party members, who pass it on to their “lists”.

        And this is all being done voluntarily. We don’t have a union behind us or a big sponsor. We just show up.

        And I’m so glad that the lamestream media thinks that we’ve gone away.
        It makes me smile.

          Hope Change in reply to Tamminator. | April 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm

          Hi Tamminator, I love your fierce point of view. I agree. Newt talks about the times in American History when We The People have gotten fed up with corruption and thrown the S.O.B.s out.

          I hope that is what we are seeing develop this time as people find out the brilliantly improved future we can have with Newt 2012.

          I would LOVE to be eager about the future again and not dreading the next thing I’m going to hear the Left-GOPE did.

          (like how is it that our votes will be counted in Spain… What? What? What!? No.)

          I agree with you, Tamminator. Let them think the TEA Party has gotten mild, has gone home, has just lost interest in our economy, our freedom, the Constitution, the future of our children. Not likely.

        chilipalmer in reply to Hope Change. | April 16, 2012 at 9:11 pm

        I appreciate a report from the scene but I didn’t like the viewpoint of the author. The Tea Party isn’t about to don masks and smash windows yet throughout this post were references and approvals that the TP has moderated, become more adult, and is no longer so distinct from Republicans–as if these things are all good. The Republican Party was nearly extinct–and happy to be–before the Tea Party came along. The GOP did not want the people we gave them in Nov. 2010 and still doesn’t.
        In view of these facts, becoming more like the GOP is not a plus. The GOP has no interest in saving this country which makes it quite distinct from the TP whose main goal IS to save the country. While the Silent Majority remained silent the country was sold out from under them by both parties. So I don’t mind a few ‘war cries’ or cries of any kind for what we now face.

          Tamminator in reply to chilipalmer. | April 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm

          I honestly have no idea what your point is.

          Hope Change in reply to chilipalmer. | April 16, 2012 at 11:27 pm

          chilipalmer, are you saying you think the TEA Party is still strong and should not become mild-mannered or more like the GOPE, because the GOPE has been essentially co-opted and is pretty much the co-opted minion of the Left?

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Tamminator. | April 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    The point I take away from the piece is that TP’ers are not acting out simply for the sake of being “activists” in the same sense that the anarchical left does. While leftist activist are noisy and directed by handlers or motivated by simply a need to be a “joiner” of something they perceive is important because it’s noisy and gets sympathetic media coverage, TP’ers have a specific drive and purpose which they stoically work toward, and they’ve synthesized that purpose into plans.

    They’re not just looking for something to do for the day besides crap on people’s lawns, “get down”, and check the balance on their EBT cards.

[…] WISCONSIN UPDATE: Madison Tea Party battleground more divided, entrenched than ever. […]

[…] Posted on April 16, 2012 3:30 pm by Bill Quick » Madison Tea Party battleground more divided, entrenched than ever – Le·gal In·sur·rec·t… This past Saturday marked a change for the now-annual Wisconsin Tax Day Tea Party in Madison, Wisc. […]

BannedbytheGuardian | April 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Sorry -I cannot understand how 14 state senators can go awol & be not imprisoned.

Wisconsin is full of pussies.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | April 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    To the person who ticked the dislike ….And they Taunted you from across state lines .


    Hope Change in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | April 16, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Oh, no no no no no no no. This unfolded excellently. Scott Walker handled this very, very well.

    The 14 fleeing Senators did Wisconsin a HUGE FAVOR. To have put them in jail would have been a terrible political error.

    Ditto the union thugs who went around the little towns threatening store owners. As did the Leftists who came in from far away on the union payroll and walked all over the capitol grounds and threatened state workers in the capitol building.

    Midwesterners tend to be polite. Law-abiding. They value education. When the unions said the problem was not enough money being spent on education, people tended to believe it.

    Then voila, suddenly, the corrupt deals with the health insurance provider became public knowledge. Suddenly, the video showing the the union leader said he would care about education when the children paid union dues went viral. Suddenly, people watched “THE CARTEL” and “WAITING FOR SUPERMAN.”

    Scott Walker’s reforms are working, as the professor has written here today. The Left overplayed its hand in its greed for money and power.

    It takes a lot to get midwesterners fed up. Looks like they’re fed up. Very likely Scott Walker will win.

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Hope Change. | April 17, 2012 at 3:08 am

      No. Too much damage . So you think that by letting him finish his term it is a victory> And Rebecca Kleefisch – she has to withstand this venal attacks ? What if they lose ?

      Wisconsin is barely lucky Judge Prosser was re elected & had the courage to confront the chief justice (before getting attacked by the harpy) . I recall a Law Professor at Marquese (spelling -local Catholic university ) spewing vitriol about Prosser hitting women & being downright criminal & a danger to the community. That was unforgivable but it passed with no pushback.

      Might happen but it is a risk to depend on providence.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | April 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I would say the pussies are rising. WI would not have been so blue for so long if it wasn’t full of a bunch of pussies, but give ’em a break. They’re obviously in the hard process of waking up as a sadder but wiser girl, shaking the rice out of her hair, and grabbing some bootstraps.