Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 8, 2011

GETTING BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM VERY FEW FRIENDS.... Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) union-busting efforts have, obviously, generated pro-worker protests the likes of which we haven't seen in many years. Tens of thousands of activists have made their voices heard in Madison and persuaded much of the state that their cause is just.

And then there's the other side. It's not fair to say Walker and the right have no activists on their side; it is fair to say Walker and the right are bolstered by meager activism that's hard to take seriously.

A regular reader in Madison emailed me this message on Sunday, which I'm republishing with permission.

I received a robocall yesterday evening from (according to the caller) "Joe the Plumber" touting Scott Walker's budget and urging attendance at a Walker "bus tour" rally here in Madison at 1:00 p.m. today at taxpayer-owned Alliant Energy Center (known as the Dane County Exposition Center until naming rights were sold a decade ago). The call was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity and included a shout-out to standwithwalker.com, which takes you to this location.

Think of the money involved when a robocall campaign doesn't have to screen its call list to weed out opponents. Just dial sequentially, folks. [...]

New motto (with apologies to Bill Maher's "new rule"): Wisconsin -- open for business, closed to sanity.

Yes, to rally the troops, the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity turned to ... Joe the Plumber. What's more, the long-forgotten prop from 2008 was the featured guest at a pro-Walker "rally" in Madison on Sunday afternoon.

Josh Green joked soon after, "Let's agree that, like buzzards, Joe the Plumber showing up signals imminent death of whatever he's supporting."

Agreed. Americans for Prosperity is backed by billionaires, and Walker's anti-union efforts have garnered enthusiastic support from conservatives nationwide. With the pressure on and the polls showing the public turning against the governor, it was time to show Wisconsin and the rest of the political world that Scott Walker and his agenda have real support. The working families on the left aren't the only ones who enjoy grassroots backing.

The result: "several hundred" people showed up to see a flailing governor and D-list "celebrity."

I don't imagine Walker's team wants my advice, but they're probably better off just giving up on pretending to have grassroots support. No rallies are preferable to bad ones.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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Wow , X the plumber is now a nostalgia market .

Posted by: FRP on March 8, 2011 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know, maybe it's me, but if I wanted to counter-march in protest, I wouldn't want to be with a group called "'STAND' with Walker."

And yeah, the 'Plumber formally kwnown as Joe,' needs to be called "Kiss of Death Joe."

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 8, 2011 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Joe the Buzzard! LOL. He looks a little like that dopey vulture from the old Warner Bros cartoons.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 8, 2011 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

Despite all of the support Walker is getting nationally from conservatives, he's been unable to get anyone who ever wants to be elected to anything again to show up, so they get Joe. Even Michelle Bachmann is staying away, not to mention Paul Ryan.

Posted by: Mudge on March 8, 2011 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Walker: " Grassroots? We don't need no stinkin' grassroots! We got something else green, and it's legal tender, and you can BUY whatever you need- even votes. . ."

Posted by: DAY on March 8, 2011 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Let's hope that Gov Walker is totally refutiated soon.

Posted by: Ted76 on March 8, 2011 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

D List? Is there an F list as in who the f*ck is this guy list? 'cause Joe the plumber is not worthy of D-list status.

Posted by: Alli on March 8, 2011 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

-speaking of "D Lists", Sarah Palin and Cathy Griffin are in the midst of a catfight. Pass the popcorn!

Posted by: DAY on March 8, 2011 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

The Koch Bros. secured Mr. JTP because he can ferret out those card carrying commie bastards who have come all the way from some gulag out there to disrupt the good folks in Wisconsin!

Hey, is Mr. JTP from Wisconsin?

We, the Middle Class of America, need to win in Wisconsin (not allow Walker and his wrecking crew to destroy collective bargaining), and simultaneously start talking about the filthy rich guys, Brothers Koch, and ferret their intentions out regarding how they intend to run our beloved nation once they have bought it!

Oh, and by the way, I wouldn't hire Mr. JTP as a handyman to fix any part of my barn! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 8, 2011 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

Now that is just sad - Joe the Plumber, wow!
This man is a proven liar with ho job, no talent, no intelligence, and I doubt if he has any friends, but I'll bet that for a few dollars he will support any right wing crook!

Posted by: j on March 8, 2011 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

Send in the Koch brothers. Two limos approached in the failing sunlight.

Posted by: max on March 8, 2011 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah but Fox News can video shoot those several hundred counter protesters to make it look like tens of thousands and report it as such.

Posted by: kd bart on March 8, 2011 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

On one of the talk shows last night (O'Donnell I think) the repub in Wisconsin (Fitzgerald) was being snarky about Michael Moore, he said Moore was wasting his time because no one was there to listen to him.
On Michael Moore's website I looked at pictures from the demonstration with Moore - that was a lot of no ones, in fact many thousands of them.

Posted by: joan on March 8, 2011 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

D-List is a very generous description of "Joe the Plumber." I don't think even the RW bookclubs were able to put his book on the bestseller list.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope on March 8, 2011 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Americans for Koch Prosperity, that is.

Posted by: Nanuq on March 8, 2011 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm sure they got him cheap.

Posted by: g on March 8, 2011 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah but Fox News can video shoot those several hundred counter protesters to make it look like tens of thousands and report it as such.

You mean like in "Lord of the Rings", where they filmed half-a-dozen orcs, and then CGI'd them into a vast army? Given the quality of Walker's supporters in WI, I'd say it's an apt analogy....

Posted by: Jay C on March 8, 2011 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know why Lawrence O'Donnell is giving that schmuck Grothman (Grossman? Whatever.) a platform. He's another lying Republican. And a Limbaugh type idiot who can't manage to say Democratic; it's the Democrat party. Fuck the bunch of these dumb as stone, lying, sacks o' crap.

Posted by: MsJoanne on March 8, 2011 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

If Dems hang tough, I get the sense that Walker is going to lose this.

And his governorship is going to be kaput.

Posted by: JEA on March 8, 2011 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

If the dems and the unions can

1. Keep polite
2. Keep pointing out that they have made concessions
3. Make the point that all of this nonsense is getting in the way of solving the problem, and
4. Walker is the source of the problem

Then there is a chance. Wisconsinites like solutions, progress, and don't like fussed.

Posted by: Bigtuna on March 8, 2011 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Funny how our media has exhausted its interest in the story in WI...on to Sheen and whatever other flavor of the month catches their eye. Michael Moore was so spot on when he spoke there on Saturday (with little attention, I might add) and did not at all push the CLASS WARFARE meme enough...it is what MUST happen here if the working people and the disadvantaged will continue to be regarded as worthy in America any longer...it's already a philosophy that is up for grabs...back to GUNS, GAYS, and GOD and how well that has worked so far!

Posted by: Dancer on March 8, 2011 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Has anyone pointed out to Joe the Plumber's supporters that he received his training to be a plumber from a union shop as an apprentice? As I recall from 2008 he did not complete this apprenticeship and was never a real plumber. Yet another important functions our unions provide, training through apprenticeships.

Posted by: MelissainKC on March 8, 2011 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

i'm not surprised by this, but i haven't heard anyone in our liberal media point out that the recent pro-union rallies have been bigger than any equivalent teabagger angerfests....

here in ohio, last week's union rally in columbus drew at least 8,500...the biggest bagger rally [tax day 09] was 7,000

Posted by: dj spellchecka on March 8, 2011 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Geez, Melissain next you will telling us that trusting too bad or good to be true right wing memes are , quoting Al Franken , pulled out of their butts .
What is plain is that our friends on the right wing , yes all those reactionary , aggressively anti American , the prouder and louder know nothings are not against bring manipulated into waging war right now in America against Americans for someone else's money .

Posted by: FRP on March 8, 2011 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

I can't beleive Joe The Plumber was available!

Posted by: jdmann on March 8, 2011 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Normally it takes several weeks for me to get my plumber, who's a friend, BTW, to show up and fix a problem. So Joe must not be very busy.

The half-life of a media event is about ten days, and we're past that point. The media is tiring of Wisconsin, and wasn't all that interested to begin with because it never became violent. In America something is only real if it's on television, and if it isn't on television it can't possible be important. Never mind the endless, mindless nonsense that pollutes our homes everyday, assuming you have it on very much.

Hopefully there is enough stamina in Wisconsin and in the labor movement to keep it up until this guy caves. He's counting on everyone getting tired to win. The face of fascism if before us in Wisconsin, Florida, and Maine. We should take a good, close look at it before booting it into the dumpster.

Posted by: rrk1 on March 8, 2011 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, we had 5-7 times as many people outside the exhibition hall, which that rag the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel chose not to report.

Please don't send them any web traffic!

Here are some Youtubes:

Posted by: Andy Olsen on March 8, 2011 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

yeah, he showed up here in La Crosse, WI too, for a support Walker rally. Couldn't believe my eyes when I read that in the paper the next day. Also, La Crosse isn't very big, and the paper said that there were about 60 people at the support Walker meeting, but there were about 200 protesters outside. hah!

Posted by: mikem on March 8, 2011 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK



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