Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 17, 2011

HIGH INTENSITY, LOW TURNOUT IN MADISON.... Former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin (R) -- remember her? -- headlined a conservative rally in Madison yesterday, apparently hoping to generate support for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) far-right agenda. More interesting than the message, though, was the turnout.

Attendees heard fairly predictable rhetoric. Palin, for example, insisted that Walker's anti-union agenda is "not trying to hurt union members." The Fox News personality also excoriated congressional Republicans for not being even more intransigent. The whole thing was organized by the Koch brother's right-wing Americans for Prosperity, and Palin spoke behind a podium with a sign that read, "I am AFP."

But who exactly heard all of this?

Away from the stage, the passionate arguments went right on, each side claiming the upper hand, the larger crowd, the right side of history. The police estimated a crowd -- at its highest point -- of about 6,500 people, though it was uncertain how many of those were Tea Party supporters and how many were there to protest. Either way, the figure was far smaller than the tens of thousands of demonstrators that had been reported around the Capitol on several days in recent months.

At the height of progressive protests in February and March, tens of thousands braved the elements to condemn the Walker agenda -- and wouldn't leave. Yesterday, Palin led a parade of odd right-wing figures, at an event paid for by powerful billionaires, and about 6,500 people showed up.

And of those 6,500, most of those in attendance were there to oppose Palin and her far-right allies, not support them.

It's a reminder about the changing tide. When Tea Partiers organize a rally and bring one of their highest-profile stars to headline, but are nevertheless outnumbered at their own event, which suffered from poor attendance anyway, it's not a good sign.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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I wonder how many of them were there on their Motorized Medicare Motor Scooters?

I would have said to them, "So, you like the Ryan plan, yes? Thought to. Nice Motorized Medicare Scooter ya got der. Shame if sometin happened to it..."

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 17, 2011 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

it is becoming more and more apparent that the Tea Party folks are fair weather friends; low information voters with perhaps a smidgeon of racial intolerance, who were attracted to the Lunatic Fringe (Majority?!) of the GOP because they heard about it on the TeeVee.

As I have said all along, their battle cry is, "We're mad as Hell, and we don't know why!"

Posted by: DAY on April 17, 2011 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

I nearly fell off my chair when I read the linked CBS News description of the event:

"The rally is sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative front group."

Maybe there's hope for the mainstream media after all.

Posted by: SteveT on April 17, 2011 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

Palin spoke behind a podium with a sign that read, "I am AFP."

I had to google "AFP", a rather common abbreviation as it turns out. I guessed it was the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Posted by: Danp on April 17, 2011 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

@Danp

Palin spoke behind a podium with a sign that read, "I am AFP."
I had to google "AFP", a rather common abbreviation as it turns out. I guessed it was the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

"I am A Failed [or Foolish] Politician."

Posted by: navamske on April 17, 2011 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

"When Tea Partiers organize a rally and bring one of their highest-profile stars to headline, but are nevertheless outnumbered at their own event, which suffered from poor attendance anyway, it's not a good sign."

Depends on your perspective, Mr. Irony. To me, it sounds like a great sign. Plus it brightens my day to think that Sarah Palin is losing her base.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 17, 2011 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Billionaires are a luxury we as a nation can no longer afford.

Posted by: iyoumeweus on April 17, 2011 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Palin has definitely crested. It started right after her "blood libel" comment from hell. People really got a sense -- it became searingly obvious even to the most dull-- that she would never be President, just a pointless provocateur. She has committed the cardinal sin in politics (and everywhere else for that mater)-- she became one shrill whiny note-- and therefore just plain boring. ...Next!

Posted by: Richard Fox on April 17, 2011 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Very likely that what we call fringe as a group and as individuals should be drawn to each other . The inhibitions on the sort of criminal thinking that encourages lies , the sort of nation wide dishonesty and appeal of our leading sociopaths , is the sexy rebel yell rule breaker .
When the borderline personalities drift into the their corresponding disassociation grouping how can we be surprised that the novelty of lies and smears becomes a crappy crap , as every thing else in crappy lives of borderline personalities who reject help . Who wants to be around people who are noticeably less able , or heaven forbid mental defectives . That may explain the tailing off of loud uninformed reactionary vuvuzela's .

Posted by: FRP on April 17, 2011 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, PLEASE: "Palin spoke behind a podium..." Palin spoke behind a LECTERN. She STOOD on a podium.

Posted by: Buffalo Harold on April 17, 2011 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

With her remarks dissing "really fast trains and solar shingles," Palin must be trying out for the comedy circuit.

Seriously, who thinks fast trains and cheap electricity are terrible things except owners in the oil and coal industries?

Posted by: karen marie on April 17, 2011 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

300 Tea Partiers in Concord NH to hear 4 R pres candidate wannabes - compare to 5000 protesters at the rally against the Tea Party legislature a couple of weeks before.

Posted by: bloomingpol on April 17, 2011 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry Steve but Ms. Sarah is a F'ing c-word. Her husband was a member of a union for YEARS when he worked on the Slope and that union provided she and her passles of kids health insurance and benefits for years. But now that she's a shill for the Koch Bros., unions are 'bad' and lowering our energy consumption, etc. etc. is for the masses...

Posted by: SYSPROG on April 17, 2011 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

It is hard to even imagine an ingnorant, nasty goof like Palin giving a speech in a place like Madison, Wisconsin where people still read books.

Posted by: max on April 17, 2011 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

From article: "Speaking at the tax day rally outside the Wisconsin Capitol, Palin called the crowd in Madison courageous for having stood up to "death threats and thug tactics" of those who opposed Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining bill."

Death threats and thug tactics?

Again from article: "Referring to herself as a former union member and the wife of a union member, Palin said, "He's not trying to hurt union members. Hey, folks, he's trying to save your jobs and your pensions!" She said union leaders don't care if their members are laid off, in order to protect their own power."

So did she think Todd's union leaders were only looking out for themselves? And if so, did she speak out?


Posted by: Hannah on April 17, 2011 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting comparison of crowd size - Estimates of 6,500 from yesterday, suggest this was made up of equal size groups of Pro-Tax Day TPers, and the opposition. However, last year, without $t $arah, there were 4,500 rabid TPers at the annual Tax Day Rally. The local paper even stated that the event had lacked the star power of Palin. So, does this mean her star is waning, or does it mean many came for the first farmer's market of the season held in Capitol Square? It looks as though they were able to choose among aged cheese, maple syrup and swill on the Square grounds.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 17, 2011 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not in the minds of the Koch Bros. (thank my God!), but a very plausible scenario of discussion would be the following:

David: Well Scott, not too much of a show for the money! Why can't you rally the troops and not make my window dressing AFP so embarrassed next time!

Walker: I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Maybe we should offer our supporters same-color T-shirt uniforms so we can get more here by giving free shit to them?

David: Sounds excellent! Let me pick out the color! I say BROWN SHIRTS would do fine!

A relentless minority, at first on the fringe, began to bring their guns to political rallies!

We know what happened next after so much relentlessness! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 17, 2011 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Next week, expect him to also accuse that OTHER super-genius, Wile E. Coyote.

I sure hope Lawrence O'Donnell is right and this nonsense goes away once NBC announces Celebrity Apprentice will be in their fall lineup.

Posted by: biggerbox on April 17, 2011 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

oops- wrong thread!

Posted by: biggerbox on April 17, 2011 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

When have any tea party rallies attracted big crowds? The media has breathlessly covered events when only a few dozen people showed up. The tea party is a media created movement. It has been from the start.

Posted by: SaintZak on April 17, 2011 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Amen to SaintZak, best laughs to C u n dGulag.

Posted by: Kathryn on April 17, 2011 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

"...excoriated congressional Republicans for not being even more intransigent." She said it was just once, and it wasn't real animal blood. Besides it was at the junior college and everybody was doing it.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on April 17, 2011 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Not a good sign? Sounds like a great sign to me.

Posted by: TomStewart on April 17, 2011 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

AFP = Avaristic Fucking Pariah

Posted by: chi res on April 17, 2011 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you for the vocabulary expansion chi res.

At first thought I thought that when you said Avaristic, it was a misspelling of Atavistic.

After looking it up, I think that both apply but yours is more specifically appropriate to both Palin and the Koch Brothers.

Posted by: tanstaafl on April 17, 2011 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Buffalo Harold, the dictionary says that "podium" and "lectern" are synonyms:

Podium(pō'dē-əm)
n., pl., -diums, or -dia (-dē-ə).
1. An elevated platform, as for an orchestra conductor or public speaker.
2. A stand for holding the notes of a public speaker; a lectern.
Architecture.
3. A low wall serving as a foundation.
4. A wall circling the arena of an ancient amphitheater.
5.5Biology. A structure resembling or functioning as a foot.


Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/podium#ixzz1JpCmOTBF

Posted by: Amazed on April 17, 2011 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

The Wisconsin State Journal report is amusing.

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_f16f1738-687d-11e0-8ed9-001cc4c002e0.html

The *total* crowd was about 6500, so Palin's fans were some number less than that. And even those who came to hear her don't think she is "ready" to be president or can be elected. She's definitely old news.

Posted by: mle detroit on April 17, 2011 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Interesting comparison of crowd size - Estimates of 6,500 from yesterday, suggest this was made up of equal size groups of Pro-Tax Day TPers, and the opposition."

Well, I don't know who thought it was "equal size groups", but everything I've read from people who were there - including me! - has guessed that anti-Palin people outnumbered pro-Palin people by 5-to-1, or 10-to-1, or more. I was at most 50 yards from the stage; yet despite a loudspeaker system, I could not hear a word of what was being said at the podium over the chanting of "Recall Walker" and "Shame" and Go Home, Sarah", etc.

Posted by: Robert Earle on April 17, 2011 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

"At the height of progressive protests in February and March, tens of thousands braved the elements to condemn the Walker agenda -- and wouldn't leave."

And while they were there the students they are PAID TO TEACH sat staring at walls in teacherless classrooms.

So a bunch of Union thugs showed up to try and shout down Palin; big deal. America has seen full well what a cancerous scourge public employee Unions have become, and no amount of Leftist rhetoric and/or demagoguing will change the minds of those of us with functioning brains.

I pulled up this article hoping to find objective journalism...what was I thinking?!?

Posted by: Brian on April 18, 2011 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Gee Brian, what were you thinking?

Maybe....nothing.

Ya think?

Posted by: Pennsyltucky on April 19, 2011 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK
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