Today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel features a story about how “civility” has been lost in Wisconsin due to the conflict over collective bargaining rights. The article goes out of its way to show that both sides are guilty of incivility, with UW-Madison political science professor Dennis Dresang declaring that “nobody’s got a monopoly on rhetoric and threats and incendiary language.”
Of course, this attempt to find equivalency between the actions of the Right and the Left in Wisconsin is pure nonsense. The attempt to show “both sides do it” falls apart if the reader has any recollection at all of the events of the past eight months. Let’s take a quick look at the Democrats’ “profiles in civility:”
- Democratic state Rep. Gordon Hintz yelling at fellow Rep. Michelle Litjens “you’re f***ing dead.”
- Sen. Spencer Coggs said Walker’s bill was “legalized slavery” and Rep. Joe Parisi said Walker was “calling the National Guard out on the people of Wisconsin.”
- Fourteen state senators fled the state to block passage of Walker’s collective bargaining bill (including Tim Cullen, who decries the loss of civility in the MJS article.)
- Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched on the Capitol, many with profane signs comparing Walker to Hitler, bin Laden, etc. (Remember this lady? (Language Warning.) See anything like this at Tea Party rallies?)
- Aggressive, militant activists have been following lawmakers everywhere they go, filming them, verbally harassing them, and pouring beer on one.
- The “solidarity singers” have been yelling every day in the capitol rotunda, forcing things such as blood drives to move to places other than the Capitol.
- The chief justice of the Supreme Court likely leaked a story to the press accusing one of her colleagues of choking another justice – a story that was completely debunked, and the accused justice was eventually exonerated.
- Committee hearings have been disrupted, with people being dragged out by their feet – one woman chained her head to the railing of the state senate parlor with a bike lock.
- Illegal activity has been rampant, whether it is liberal activists providing ribs for votes doctors providing fake sick notes notes, or otherwise.
- Protesters disrupting every Walker public speaking event, including a Special Olympics ceremony.
- In the most toxic campaign ad of 2011,the Left tried to make it seem like Supreme Court Justice David Prosser was the best friend of pedophiles, digging up a case Prosser prosecuted as a district attorney 30 years ago. (There were no similar ads run by any Republicans either in the Supreme Court race or the state senate recalls.)
- Teachers pulling their kids out of school, shutting down Madison schools for 4 days, and bringing the kids to capitol rallies.
- The desecration of the state capitol, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cleanup costs.
- Marching not only at Scott Walker’s home, but at the homes of individual legislators that don’t have any police protection.
- And probably most uncivilly, Democrats refused to participate in this year’s staff versus legislator softball game.
I am really making an honest attempt to find anything from the Right that matches anything on this list. At one point, a friend of former State Senator Dave Zien allegedly tried to punch a solidarity singer. The reports of collecting signatures and shredding recall petitions is merely a rumor; there’s no evidence anyone on the Right caused the “cyberattack” that liberals are complaining about.
And honestly – let’s say some right-wing hacker caused this “cyberattack.” What’s worse – that, or the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court likely planting a fake story in the paper in an attempt to smear a fellow justice?
So the real story here isn’t that civility on both sides has been lost; it is that Walker supporters have maintained their composure amid an avalanche of poisonous actions by union loyalists.