“‘The guy in front of me is a total tool!’ shouted Phil Landowski, as he followed Mike Daly down Main Street. Mr. Landowski, who was carrying a sign that said ‘End Collective Greed,’ was infuriated by the sign Mr. Daly was holding supporting public employees benefits.

“‘Do you know much these people make?’ Mr. Landowski, bearded and bespectled, asked referring to public-school teachers

“‘Why would I believe you?’ asked Mr. Daly, a stay-at-home dad. ‘You’re a crazy person!'”

“The protests have become something of a galvanizing point for Democrats — in Wisconsin and beyond — after demoralizing defeats in last year’s elections.

“The demonstrations have been more organized than organic, with some of the Democratic Party’s top strategists in Madison and Washington helping to assemble giant crowds. Labor unions, along with the Democratic National Committee and the White House, see this moment as an opportunity to begin rallying troops for the next election.”

“Top leaders of two of Wisconsin’s largest public employee unions announced they are willing to accept the financial concessions called for in Walker’s plan, but will not accept the loss of collective bargaining rights…

“Senate Democrats also reached out to Walker, sending him a letter urging him to remove the bargaining provisions from his bill.

“But Walker repeated that he would not back down.”

“Speaking from a heavily guarded Senate parlor at the Capitol, [Senate Majority Leader Scott] Fitzgerald reassured supporters that the GOP-led state Senate will vote to approve it without changes, as soon as the legislature is able to reconvene.

“‘The bill is not negotiable,’ Fitzgerald said. ‘The bill will pass as is.'”

“On Thursday, legislators were advised to return to their offices and lock their doors. Mobs roamed the halls, banging on the glass of the doors, pounding on the walls. No one could move in the halls or enter or leave the building. The glass of the Supreme Court’s entrance was broken. Legislators were genuinely afraid. Our elected representatives were afraid. In our Capitol.

“A young female reporter trying to get into the Senate chamber struggled to get through the crowd. She arrived disheveled and upset because she had been roughed up as she tried to get through ‘Bitch-slapped’ the mob told her. A senior senator was spat on. A senator and his female staffer struggled to get into the capitol. He was worried about his staffer because the crowd was grabbing at her and pushing her. University Police were two arms lengths away and did nothing. They, of course, are union.”

“The language of ‘tough choices’ threatens to make a mockery of the reckoning we face today. Not because we don’t face tough choices in the way elected officials mean that we do. And not because, a level down from policymaking, flesh and blood human beings — liberal, conservative, other — are going to have to bear the consequences of policy in their daily lives. No, the real reckoning is with each other. We can see that happening already in Wisconsin. This kind of fury — I almost said ‘divisiveness’ — is going to get worse before it gets better, because the true stakes of our reckoning are only going to grow clearer…

“Anyone who responds to the current crisis by anointing unionized employees of the government as the epitome of ‘the working man’ is placing themselves, and I really do not say this lightly, at the mercy of socialism — not just as an intellectual theory, but as an emotional promise of happiness. There has never been a viable, durable Labor Party in the US. But neither has the government class ever been so big or faced such an existential threat.”

Via the Corner.