However, the Wisconsin Wave organized a counter-protest, and wow did people turn out in short notice! The "teabaggers" were like animals in a petting zoo surrounded by supporters of Wisconsin values such as workers' rights, open government and progressive taxation.
A great account of the day can be found at The CapTimes by Judith Davidoff and Jessica Vanegeren. According to the article, the police estimate the crowd at about 6,500. The police couldn't say how many were there for which protest, because the lines between the protests were "so unclear." Here's a little more,
"Americans for Prosperity organized the rally and brought busloads of supporters from around the state. Tea party supporters, who gathered at the King Street entrance of the state Capitol, were surrounded on three sides by counter-protesters, who rang cowbells and shouted "Shame! Shame! Shame!" through megaphones. The counter-protesters were so loud at times that they easily drowned out the speakers, including Palin."Since the Americans for Prosperity rally is an annual event, top "teabagger" Sarah Palin keynoted, "teabaggers" were bussed in, and the Wisconsin Wave didn't announce the counter-protest until Friday morning, it's very clear where the momentum is here in Wisconsin. It's with the Wisconsin Wave!
I shouldn't speak so harshly of the rank-and-file Tea Party supporters, and I admittedly did it for attention. The same reason they originally called themselves "teabaggers" is the same reason they follow people such as the Koch brothers and Sarah Palin. They're not in general stupid or greedy, most of them are just uninformed and not critically thinking. Fox, the media organization that likes to think it spreads news, has much to do with this. Don't let your loved ones watch Fox for news, you get more spin and lies than news there, and the best way I believe we can move Forward is to try to politely inform our fellow Wisconsinites.
The recent report showing Wisconsin is not broke by the local non-partisan Institute for One Wisconsin is a great piece of information to read and spread.
Also, this seems to be little known information, but Sarah Palin is not running for President in 2012. In early March, Fox said they would have to suspend any contributor planning to run for President. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were subsequently suspended. However, Sarah Palin continues to work for Fox, and thus has no plans to run for President. Sure, she could still change her mind, but the tiny likelihood of that is quickly dwindling with every passing day.
The reason some people want you to think Sarah Palin is running for President is because as soon as it becomes clear she's not running she'll lose a large portion of media attention. Palin's a great Republican fundraiser, and so it's not only Palin who wants you to think she's running. Palin makes way too much money in TV and public speaking to run a losing campaign against Obama, and she's able to do that in part because most people think she's running for President.
Other great information like this can be seen weekdays on MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell at 7pm. Lawrence has a progressive lean, but I argue it's more centrist than most shows and definitely one of the most intelligent.
*A man exiting a bus was carrying a sign saying "Illinois Stands With WI Tea Party." I know that's not much proof, but maybe others will have more.
Update: (5:53pm) Thanks to John Peterson from Democurmudgeon for putting this video together of the local TV news coverage from WMTV and WKOW. Contrast that with the coverage from the Journal Sentinel.
Update: (April 19, 9:13pm) John Nichols wrote in this great article about the rally in The CapTimes that the Tea Party supporters were outnumbered by a factor of about 5 to 1.