Welcome John Nichols (TheNation) and Host Robert W. McChesney (RobertMcChesney.com)

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

UPRISING: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street

Political reporters go entire careers hoping for the opportunity to cover some world historical story, to be present at a moment history is truly being made. Even journalists who pour their careers into public events, who cover the leading stories all over the globe, can never have an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a story and be there as it grows to skyscraper proportions.

John Nichols is one of the fortunate few, and he chronicles the experience in Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street. Nichols is an award-winning political reporter of some renown, having covered national and international politics for a good three decades for daily newspapers as well as The Nation. Anyone who has read Nichols’s articles or blogs in The Nation or on thenation.com knows he has an almost unrivaled knowledge of American politics, and American political history.

I have also learned through writing four books with Nichols that he is a fantastic (and fantastically efficient) researcher. Sometimes he uncovers valuable material that has been all but forgotten or ignored. He truly exemplifies the notion that journalism is the first draft of history, and he provides a very good first draft.

Nichols is also a native Wisconsinite, tracing his family back to the earliest European settlers. Although his beat has primarily been national politics over the past two decades, Nichols has been based in Madison working for Madison’s progressive daily newspaper The Capital Times, and also covering state and local politics. His knowledge of Wisconsin state politics—past and present—is so extensive he probably would never wish to brag about it, for fear of being labeled a weirdo.

So when newly elected Governor Scott Walker decided to eliminate public sector unions in February 2011, Nichols was uniquely positioned to chronicle the uprising, and to be a participant in the process. A latter-day John Reed, if you will, Nichols was in the middle of everything in Madison and Wisconsin in 2011. Uprising is a streamlined, revised and supplemented collection of his dispatches over the course of the year. The book reads seamlessly, as it is ordered chronologically. It is a terrific read, and I sailed through it in one sitting.

I, too, live most of the time in Madison. As fate would have it I was in town throughout the winter and spring of 2011. I was able to participate several days every week in the rallies at the state capitol, and I attended all of the Saturday demonstrations, which ranged from 25,000 people to probably around 150,000 people at its peak. I did so as a member of the throng, and I luxuriated in the experience. Paul Buhle once said the democratic quality of a social movement can be determined by the generosity of its demonstrations. The people at the demonstrations in Madison were magnanimous, brilliant, tireless, hilarious and radical in a manner I found astounding. Were I not, like Nichols, already an inveterate optimist, it would have been a life-changing experience for me. Instead, it was a life-affirming experience.

For a brief period I wondered if Wisconsin was a just a blip on the screen and America would go back to business as usual. Nichols underlines what many in Madison understood that this was part of a global uprising like that found in Tunisia and Tahir Square. But maybe this was all America could produce? Then came Occupy Wall Street and soon Occupy Everywhere, and Wisconsin came into focus as the opening round of the great political struggle that will define our times, in the United States and worldwide.

Uprising serves the crucial purpose of providing an immensely readable and clear-eyed presentation of what happened in Madison, and an introduction to the heterogeneous cast of characters—some famous, most not—who came together to protest. By the summer two Republican state senators had been recalled, and by the end of the year a successful recall petition drive was launched against Walker. Sometime in the next few months Walker will face that recall election. The eyes of the world will be on Wisconsin because a lot rides on the outcome.

Nichols also weaves in his rich understanding of American political history and democratic theory to make a strong case for the uprising as the embodiment of what Jefferson and Madison famously termed the “spirit of ’76.” There is also much fresh reporting, like Nichols’s participation in the exposure of the activities of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which was spearheaded by Madison’s Center for Media and Democracy.

The book provides a necessary corrective to the generally atrocious news media coverage of the events in Wisconsin which left even sympathetic observers mostly in the dark. Nichols discuses this at some length in Uprising, as well as chronicling the “next media,” how social media and independent media came to play a crucial role in the demonstrations.

There is much more on the book we will talk about during the session. Nichols can also update us on the status of the recall campaign.

128 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes John Nichols, UPRISING: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street”

BevW February 26th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

John, Bob, Welcome to the Lake.

Bob, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Hi everyone

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Johnny—You were also present at the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle. What were some similarities and differences between Wisconsin and Seattle? Is there a connection between them?

dakine01 February 26th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Good afternoon John and Bob and welcome to FDL this afternoon.

John, I have not read your book so forgive me if you do address this question in there but how soon into the events of last year in Madison did you realize that you were witnessing some righteous history being made?

And is Scott Walker (aka the goggle eyed homunculus h/t Mr Pierce) as utterly clueless as he appears?

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Already enjoying the Lake. The water is fine.

DWBartoo February 26th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Thank you, John and Bob, for joining us, today.

DW

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I will give a short answer.

I knew the second day something extraordinary was happening, and by the end of the week everyone involved knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime type experience. As soon as the State Senators high-tailed it to Illinois. As John said at the time, they made the “ultimate sacrifice.”

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Hey Bob: The WTO protests of 1999 sought to raise an issue: corporate-sponsored globalization — and to challenge a process. By the time Wisconsin came along, there was much more awareness of corporate power and of the threat posed by the corporate-right agenda. So, in a sense, the issue had been raised. Unfortunately, the process had gone forward to a point where basic rights were being taken away in what was supposed to be a progressive state.

So, in a sense, Wisconsin was a next stage.

What was remarkable was the linkage between the two — slogans from Seattle that came to Madison, protest tactics that were readopted and that faith in the power of a mass movement to make a difference.

Finally, both Seattle and Madison were led by young people.

Elliott February 26th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Welcome to the Lake, it’s been an inspiration to the rest of us – thank you for your reporting!

dakine01 February 26th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

As a technical note, there is a “Reply” button in the lower right of each comment. Pressing the “Reply” will pre-fill the commenter name and comment number being replied to and makes it easier for everyone to follow the ‘conversation/’

Note: Some browsers do not like to let the Reply function properly if it has been pressed after a page refresh but f=before the page completes loading.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 10

Okie Dokie

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Bob’s right. The exit of the state senators was a big deal. This indicated that a mass movement in the streets could influence legislators — even if it did not influence all legislators.

But I knew something was happening when I started seeing signs referencing Egypt. Wisconsin blew up right after Mubarak stepped down, in response to ongoing mass protests. Wisconsinites clearly made the connection. Early on, they showed up with signs like the one that read: “I thought Cairo would be warmer.”

People recognized something had happened in Egypt that broke pattern, and they were willing to embrace a new approach — not just one protest, but ongoing protest, occupation of a square and ultimately the Capitol.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Johnny—You were part of the award-winning team that broke the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) story in 2011 and brought the nation’s attention to this dubious group. ALEC also plays a role in Uprising. What is ALEC and what does it do?

dakine01 February 26th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

John, do you intend to do an update to the book after the recall has been completed?

And speaking of the recall(s), how much did the initial recall of the senators and those special elections impact the book?

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:13 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 4

Scott Walker is not clueless. I’ve know him for the better part of 20 years, and he is a political animal — highly engaged, follows the news, knows the game. He has chosen to pick a fight and he has made serious mistakes — some of which he recognizes, some of which he has yet to recognize. But he is in a fight that he relishes because he really does want to be the next Reagan.

That came out very strongly when he took the prank call Walker thought was from David Koch. Walker talked and talked about Reagan, “our moment,” “historical” opportunities.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:13 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 12

The signs at the protests were amazing. Almost all home-made. Thousands of them. generally funny and often brilliant. If the Daily Show needed a new crop of writers, the Madison protests would have been a good place to go.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:16 pm

The American Legislative Exchange Council is a corporate “bill mill.” Corporations pay large amounts of money to become members. Conservative legislators pay very small amounts of money to be members. Together, they craft “model legislation” to enact in the states.

ALEC is a favorite project of the billionaire Koch Brothers and other wealthy donors. It gives them an opportunity to shape the legislative process in all 50 states. And it works. Many of the anti-labor, anti-voting rights laws you saw enacted in 2011 began in the bowels of ALEC.

I write a good deal in the book about ALEC. I also recommend checking out the ALEC EXPOSED site at http://www.prwatch.org

Phoenix Woman February 26th, 2012 at 2:17 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 15

That was incredibly revealing, wasn’t it? He was acting like a lickspittle branch-office manager being paid the singular honor of a strategy-session phone call from his company’s powerful and reclusive CEO.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:18 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 17

I strongly recommend this site. The Center for Media and Democracy has won some major journalism awards for how it researched and broke the story about ALEC.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:21 pm
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 18

You are so right. I think when people in Wisconsin heard that phone call it really changed everything. It basically demonstrated that everything of substance Walker had said publicly to that point was a lie. It was like throwing a match on a keg of gasoline. Right after than the protests increased to 50,000 or so and then the six digit range on Saturdays.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:21 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 14

Regarding last summer’s recalls, they were significant – two Walker allies were voted out of the state Senate, proving recalls could work. Across nine districts that had voted for Walker in 2010, the majority of votes cast in 2011 went to Democratic senate candidates. Five Democrats (three challenged D incumbents, two D challengers to R incumbents) won, versus four Republicans.

I write a good deal about the recalls in the book because I like renegade politics: veto referendums, initiatives and recalls. They hold the powerful to account.

But I think it is important to recognize that the recalls were — and are — an extension of a mass movement that is about more than elections. The elections matter, but what excites me most is the movement and its ability to challenge power in the streets, in the Capitol.

Ultimately, the goal has to be the development of movements that can hold all elected officials to account — immediately in the streets, ultimately at the polls.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Johnny—You spent a lot of time favorably invoking Madison and Jefferson and the “Spirit of ’76.” Madison and Jefferson were also slave-owners and Madison, in particular, wrote not especially favorably about universal adult male suffrage. How do you reconcile this with your treatment of them?

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:24 pm
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 18

So true Phoenix Woman. I interviewed Ian Murphy (the Buffalo Beast blogger) who placed the Koch call. He said he was amazed that Walker did not seem to want to get off the call — despite the fact that he was in the fight of his life.

There is little question that Walker was thinking, even then, about how much he would need the support of the Koch Brothers as the fight played out. So he was effusive.

By the way, I am in Tucson for an event Monday night with labor folks fighting the good fight in Arizona.

Kevin Gosztola February 26th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Hey, John, I’m FDL’s civil liberties blogger and a former Nation intern. (In fact, when the Wisconsin uprising was just beginning, I was the one sitting in the NYC office formatting your blog posts every morning. And, it was a pleasure to help the magazine get your news appearances up on the website every morning for people to view.)

I’ve had the privilege of covering Occupy Wall Street for FDL since it began on Sept 17. How would you compare and contrast the two uprisings? I’ll add that it was interesting how quickly the people who launched Occupy Wall Street realized they needed to get some unions to support their effort.

(And, hello, Bob, I’m an ardent follower of your work—and John’s work—on media and for Free Press.)

phred February 26th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Thanks for coming by the Lake John and Bob.

As a Wisconsin native I was riveted by the on-line coverage of the WI protests last year. For the first time I appreciated the real value of Twitter. I haven’t yet read the book, but do you comment on the role on-line communication played in fueling the protests? And whether that has continued to be applied to the same extent in the recall effort?

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

The founders were flawed, and the slave-holding founders were the most flawed. But Jefferson and Madison were thinking a lot about how to shape a representative democracy. I don’t agree with their compromises, or their approaches. But I wanted to seize some of the dialogue about the Constitution back from the right.

At their best, Jefferson and Madison were skeptics with regard to the people who would be elected to executive posts. They feared “elected despots” and “kings for four years.” I think citizens who would challenge power need to be reminded of that. I also think that Jefferson came to recognize in his last years that the revolutionary spirit of 1776 needed to be renewed. He was right. And I write a good deal about this in the book.

As always, however, the hero is Tom Paine.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:30 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 24

Thanks, Kevin, for the good words. Isn’t it interesting that the “right to assemble” –one of the core First Amendment freedoms– has become such a battleground issue since Madison and the Occupy movement. In the end I don’t think anything scares those in power more than people physically assembled together to redress grievances.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:31 pm
In response to phred @ 26

John actually deals a bit with this and talks about what he calls the “Next Media System.” Johnny– you want to tee off on this?

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:33 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 24

Hey Kevin: The Wisconsin fight and Occupy stem from the same impulses — a desire to push back against an austerity agenda that asks the great majority of Americans to suffer so a few can live large.

Occupy had many inspirations. Wisconsin was one of them, especially when it came to renewing the politics of protest in the streets, and the principle of going to places of power (a Capitol, a park in the financial district) and occupying it.

Both Wisconsin and Occupy have brought young activists and progressive unions — big shout out to National Nurses United — together in ways we have not seen enough of up to this point. The best unions are being revitalized by this, and the activists are getting needed backup.

One big difference: The police in Madison and other Wisconsin cities last winter were generally respectful, and frequently supportive of the protests. In New York and other cities, Occupy has been faced with a far crueler and cruder police response.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:33 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 27

Indeed. Paine was a figure of enormous importance for making people want to fight the British in 1776. And when one reads Common Sense one can see that for countless Americans, especially those without property, they were fighting for a democratic revolution.

TarheelDem February 26th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Welcome, John. Thanks for what you do.

Kevin Gosztola February 26th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

The force used by police and the political maneuverings by cities and states to shut down assemblies has been the most alarming result. It has seemed at times that there isn’t anything mayors or city council members won’t do to get rid of the Occupy camp in their city.

Which I guess raises the question that I could pose to you and John: What in the effort to suppress the Wisconsin uprising stuck out the most to you? I know that there seems to be this incredibly authoritarian provision that capitol police are using against people who bring cameras in to film state assemblies. I presume that is still an ongoing issue.

phred February 26th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

John, another question I have for you is whether you contemplate parallels between what is possible at the state level v. the federal level? Wisconsin has given me hope that the public can wield greater political influence, but in WI the emphasis is on the voting booth via recall elections, i.e. vote for Democrats rather than Republicans.

At the federal level the choice between Democrats and Republicans has become depressingly narrow. Is it still possible to achieve real change at the federal level within the two party system or do we need to implement greater electoral/democratic reforms to improve the representativeness of our government and its responsiveness to the public?

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Johnny—What is the state of the recall against Governor Walker? Can you tell folks a bit about the legal hot water he is in?

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:37 pm
In response to phred @ 26

As Bob notes, in the chapter on what I refer to as The Next Media System, I focus a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook. There were tools that really served a dual purpose in Wisconsin — and have since. They both have an organizing function, calling people to action. But they also serve an educational purpose. When FDL’s great reporters and writers on the ground did pieces on what was happening, they were highlighted, linked and celebrated via Twitter and Facebook.

I can’t emphasize the importance of the popular education role of Twitter and Facebook. When they are followed closely, as they were in WI and have been in other states since, they help people to leap over constraints of corporate media and to fill voids. Very vital!

DWBartoo February 26th, 2012 at 2:38 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 30

Why do you consider that the police in Wisconsin behaved more respectfully toward those protesting the oligarchy than those in New York city and Oakland CA?

How the police, and, ultimately, the military, respond to the people is very important and critical to how long and bloody the struggle will become.

DW

hate2haggle February 26th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

John Nichols your reporting on the labor battle in Wisconsin has captivated me and I’ve not missed a minute of it. A week or two ago, while listening to an interview with Mike Daisey speak about the perils of the Chinese worker he made a statement that would fit well into the dialogue of words written about the strife in Wisconsin. Mr. Daisey explained how union activists are harshly treated and jailed by the government when convicted for trying to unionize workers. In true Frank Luntz fashion, why shouldn’t the meme be used to compare Conservative Republicans to Communist Chinese?

phred February 26th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 36

Thanks for the reply — I look forward to reading your whole book, but that chapter in particular will be fun : )

DWBartoo February 26th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to phred @ 34

Great question, phred, and equally wonderful to “see” you, here, BTW.

DW

Mauimom February 26th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Welcome to the Lake, John.

In an earlier portion of my life, I worked for Dave Obey, during his first term in Congress from WI’s 7th district. [Wausau, Stevens Point]. Although i was based in DC, I spent a fair amount of time in Wisconsin. I remember how strong the Democratic Farm Labor Party was, and the other strong Democrats who represented WI in both the House and Senate.

What has happened????? I won’t even compose the list, just mention “Paul Ryan.” What’s gone on in the state to take it away from its glorious, populist history? And does the “Uprising” represent a possible return to that past?

Palli February 26th, 2012 at 2:42 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 27

John,- As a Ohio residents but Wisconsin bred, we have been overjoyed by the inventive range of protest activities, the renewed respect for the capitol city Madison & the TTA leadership during the occupation and the sustained commitment. Could you comment on the nature of the intergrated movement. So diferent from our high school and college years of the sixties- early 70s.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:43 pm
In response to phred @ 34

Very good question about state versus federal politics. UPRISING’s chapter on politics really goes into this because I think it is a big deal. States have distinct political cultures and present opportunities to create broader and more functional electoral politics. We see this in places like Vermont (Bernie Sanders, lots of independent politics, many progressive players in Dem party) and cities such as San Francisco, Boulder, ect. Wisconsin has developed a far edgier Democratic politics than it had before the movement began to build — although some of that edginess is rooted in the state’s progressive history.

I am deeply frustrated with national politics. I think that the Democratic party is far too cautious, far too constrained. And I do not see enough openings for third- and fourth- parties of the left. I think we need to get more serious about fundamental reforms on not just money in politics but structures of politics.

The presidential election I am most enjoying right now is the one in France — multi-party, issue-driven and with a potent left gathered around Melancon’s Left Front.

phred February 26th, 2012 at 2:44 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 40

Good to see you, too, DW. Really glad I could make it for the Book Salon today.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:45 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 37

I write a good deal about the police role in the book. One thing is the identification of cops with the labor movement. There was a good deal of that in Madison and Dane County.

Also, Dane County had an elected sheriff, Dave Mahoney, who pointedly announced that his deputies would not serve as the “palace guard.” Very important.

tuezday February 26th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

John, chapter 2 of your book is titled, “First Amendment Remedies: A Reclaiming of the Constitution’s Rules for Radicals” (I have not had the chance to read your book, cheated and visited Amazon).

Can you discuss this a little, especially in terms of the extent to which our first amendment rights have been compartmentalized into “allowable” protests, i.e., green zones, only being able to protest on public property from 9-5 and also how the Patriot Act and NDAA have further stripped our right to protest and what can we do about it?

Tammany Tiger February 26th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I live in Michigan, where an effort to recall the governor (over issues similar to those in Wisconsin) failed, and neither the state Democratic Party nor Big Labor backed it.

Is Wisconsin’s political culture that different from Michigan’s, or is our state’s Democratic Party that much less effective than Wisconsin’s?

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:48 pm
In response to hate2haggle @ 38

Remarkably, Wisconsin’s Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who replaced Russ Feingold (Yikes!), has suggested that he prefers the Chinese system. He says its a better place to do business.

So your comparison gets some traction from the Republicans themselves.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:50 pm
In response to Mauimom @ 41

Hey Mauimom: Wisconsin has always been a conflicted state, with progressive and reactionary traditions. Remember, it is the state of Robert M. La Follette and Joe McCarthy.

I believe the uprising of 2011 is going a long way toward strengthening the progressive tradition. But there will always be a fight.

One important thing to remember is that this is true across the battleground states of the Upper Midwest. These are take-nothing-for-granted states when it comes to politics.

DWBartoo February 26th, 2012 at 2:51 pm
In response to phred @ 44

Yes, I wish more of the “community” were, here, as John and Bob are talking serious, fundamental political change practices. The big problem is one of despair and such voices as are speaking on this thread are providing a basis for more realistic thinking and action.

I am personally skeptical that the “system” may be “saved”, as I regard it as about as “fixed” as it can be, however, rebuilding a more sane, humane, and just civil society must be premised upon restoring the Rule of Law on any number of “fronts”.

DW

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:53 pm
In response to Palli @ 42

The Wisconsin protests were what you would have seen if the funnest of the 60s protests had Twitter and Facebook, and the support of the labor movement.

I think that the reason the Wisconsin protests worked so well is because people were proud of themselves. They loved the fact that masses of citizens were standing up, and they embraced that possibility. People walked around with great big grins on their faces and the funniest signs you can image.

One example: After Koch call to Walker: “Scott, Your Koch Dealer is on Line 2″

hate2haggle February 26th, 2012 at 2:54 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 48

yeah, that sounds about right. What would be disaster for a progressive is dessert for conservatives.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Johnny— I posted this earlier, but it might have gotten lost in the swirl of e-activity. What is the state of the recall against Governor Walker? Can you tell folks a bit about the legal hot water he is in?

nonquixote February 26th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

John

thanks for being here.

I have just come home and please explain that this is so much more than just the unions in on this. wetlands destruction, mining, voter ID, women’s rights, voter rights, dismantling of public education, cost shifting (tax increase, higher tuition, on parents of students) on public education, where should I stop?

DWBartoo February 26th, 2012 at 2:56 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 45

I think Mahoney’s comment was extremely important, John, and I hope that it might inspire other peace officers to follow his example.

I am still very concerned about the use of the military in repressing the people, however, and persistent “rumors” about changes to posse comitatus are not very encouraging …

DW

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 2:57 pm
In response to tuezday @ 46

The First Amendment Remedies chapter takes its title from a sign carried by a UW student. It was meant to poke fun at the right AND to celebrate the renewal of a real understanding of the right to assemble and to petition for the redress of grievances.

Three lessons:

1. Mass protests, with huge crowds, makes it much easier to break out of compartments. It is so vital to show up.

2. Protests can’t be events, they must be ongoing processes, as in Wisconsin and as with Occupy.

3. It is vital to go to where power is and to get into the center of things. The physical occupation of the state Capitol for weeks on end was critical to building out the Wisconsin movement.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:00 pm
In response to tammanytiger @ 47

I am coming to Michigan in May to do some talks and to encourage people to renew the recall movement.

I think that Michigan has been so battered by tough economic times that the state’s political and labor leaders have been slow to respond with the force needed to the governor’s draconian assaults on representative democracy and basic rights.

I have been very impressed by the energy and commitment of grassroots activists in Michigan. But there does need to be much, much more activism — and labor and Democratic Party players must recognize the importance of the anti-austerity and democracy struggles playing out in their state. Some do. More must.

DWBartoo February 26th, 2012 at 3:03 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 56

Superb “street” politics, John, absolutely spot-on.

DW

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:04 pm

The Wisconsin Recall movement, a people-driven extension of the protest movements led by the grassroots United Wisconsin group and its allies, has filed more than 1 million signatures to recall Walker.

The review process for the signatures could finish this coming week. Then an election schedule can be certified. Walker will resist, challenge. He has all the money the Kochs can give, and lawyers, lawyers, lawyers.

But, there will be a recall election.

Several Democrats have stepped up.

I still believe Feingold should run. He is resistant.

But the movement that has developed — more than 30,000 people gathered recall signatures — will be sufficient to power a great campaign. And I think Governor Walker will be defeated — not just because of labor issues but because of a scorching ethics/corruption scandal that has already led to felony charges against many of his former aides, allies.

Tammany Tiger February 26th, 2012 at 3:05 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 57

Good for you. Hope to see you in May.

Here’s a story that speaks volumes about the labor unions in Michigan. The immediate past president of the UAW dragged his feat over supporting a Democratic challenger to Thaddeus McCotter (and no, the candidate wasn’t a flake). From what Mrs. Tiger and I can surmise, the UAW brass agrees with McCotter on the issues of energy policy and global warming.

phred February 26th, 2012 at 3:05 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 43

I look forward to your politics chapter even more than the media chapter : )

I’m delighted to see your emphasis on structural reforms, beyond simply the money question. Although I’m no fan of Citizens United, I think there are problems that go far beyond that in terms of limiting the responsiveness of the federal government to the public will. I would love to see greater discussion (not necessarily here at the Book Salon, but more generally) of how we might change the structure of our representative democracy both within current constitutional constraints as well as beyond them, should we choose to pursue a constitutional convention.

All of which ties in with my curiosity about modern technology and distributed media. The way our federal government is currently structured is due to the technological limitations of the 18th and 19th centuries. I think with a little creativity and use of modern technology we could achieve a far more representative system of government.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Johnny—You mention Gaylord Nelson in your book and I know you have a deep attachment to him and his legacy. Can you tell folks a bit about Gaylord.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:07 pm
In response to nonquixote @ 54

Hey Nonquixote: This is such an important point.

From the start in Wisconsin, the protests were driven not just by labor unions and their allies but by students (LOTS of high school students were there from the start), and by environmentalists, immigrant groups.

Small business owners and farmers also played a critical role.

I write in the book about how, in a bizarre sense, the right is forcing us to renew the old progressive and populist coalitions that we thought were impossible. In fact, when everyone and everything is under attack, these coalitions come together with remarkable strength.

Palli February 26th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Thank you, John…for the confirmation of much of what we were doing at UW-Mad as we transitioned Be-Ins and Happenings into Strikes & Protests- and the added advantage of the social networking media.
The insight of Protests cannot be events but on-going activity is so important but difficult. We have been wondering here in Ohio how to generate this too. The early months of SB5 protest were exciting and Labor was the center force and while welcoming to others with signs like “I never had a chance to be in a Union” it has not become a sustained and integrated movement.
We will take the three lessons to heart.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:10 pm
In response to phred @ 61

So right on need for great big structural reform that utilize new technologies and opportunities. Bob and I are exploring two ideas:

1. Expand Congress so that members really represent people.

2. End colonies. That means that DC, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam all must have House/Senate representation.

No one should be a U.S. citizen and not be fully represented.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:10 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 59

If any of you are friends with Feingold, please ask him to run.

tuezday February 26th, 2012 at 3:11 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 56

I agree 100 percent with your lessons, regarding protesting, especially regarding the need for bodies, lots of bodies. Therein lies a problem I’ve run into. I have friends who thank me for protesting but won’t do it themselves. I suspect it’s a combination of fear of arrest or getting tear gased, but also getting out of their comfort zone. Do you have any advice for those of us trying to grow the movement? How do we overcome the objections of our friends to getting out there themselves?

DWBartoo February 26th, 2012 at 3:12 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 59

Well, Feinberg’s main “interest” is to re-elect Obama, John.

Which I find concerning, very concerning, as Feinberg claims to be pleased with Obama’s “performance” while I am, shall we say, very much less than enthralled, as I hold that Obama has continued Bush policies, seamlessly, and extended the attack on the Rule of Law very significantly.

YMMV.

DW

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:13 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 65

Don’t forget American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I always wore my Gaylord Nelson pin during the Wisconsin protests.

Gaylord is remembered as a father of Earth Day, a great environmentalist. And he was.

But he was also the signer of Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law for public employees — the first full-scale law of this kind in the nation.

And he was an old-school progressive. He recognized the important of labor-farm-small business coalitions.

Finally, Gaylord was funny!

He once went to the podium after many speakers. It was late. He said: “I have been asked to deliver an address.” He pulled out an envelope, read the address, said “Thank you!” and sat down to thunderous applause.

Tammany Tiger February 26th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

One more question about the 2010 election. Was Walker that successful as stealth candidate, or was Barrett a victim of the Democrats’ disastrous performance nationwide?

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

…and Newt’s moon colony once it gets 13,000 people!

juliania February 26th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Many thanks to both of our guests for being here, and for Mr. Nichols’ book, which I am eager to request our good librarian to order. And thanks to Kevin as well for all he does. I was interested in the comments about the New Media, particularly as FiredogLake has done so well covering the various Occupies and gleaning pertinent tweets to ‘rebroadcast’ those – it has been most exciting (as well as saddening) to read the trials and tribulations that have happened since last September.

Mr. Nichols, can you make any comments on how the Occupies could build on Wisconsin’s energies this year? We really don’t want to see any more young folk get hurt, and I am sure they are already devising creative moves, but I do wish the environment in which they do this could be loving and peaceful, since they really work for us all. Last year’s events were getting so dark, riot police and spray guns and all.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:19 pm
In response to tuezday @ 67

Great question about how to get folks into the streets. Step one: Elect reactionaries who are so extreme that they demand a response. AFL-CIO’s Trumka refers to Walker as the best union organizer of our time.

In reality, however, the challenge of getting people into the streets is real and daunting. I think there is a geography of protest that ought not be underestimated. It is easiest to protest in locations — downtown Seattle, around a state Capitol — where the focus can be on the protests. Much harder in suburbia. So take protests where they work.

Also, we need to explain to our friends who fear or are disinclined toward the streets that online petitions don’t cut it when you are fighting concentrated and corrupt power. I think great things have been done digitally, and will be done. But if we are realistic, sometimes we must step away from the television, the computer, the comfort zone and go to where power is.

Tammany Tiger February 26th, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I think the Republicans want to colonize Mars. It’s a red planet, after all.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Johnny—What are the one or two things about the Wisconsin Uprising that have not been mentioned today that would be impossible or extremely difficult to grasp for someone who only relied upon the news media coverage—even sympathetic news media coverage—to get a handle on the situation?

Palli February 26th, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Mr. Nichols- speaking of our heros like Sen.Nelson- one side of my SB5 sign in Ohio was always “Paul Wellstone and Howard Zinn are smiling”.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:23 pm
In response to tammanytiger @ 71

The core question: How did Walker get elected?

2010 was a wave election year for the Republicans. They won LOTS of state and local elections in places where they do not usually win. That was a factor in Wisconsin.

Walker was a stealth candidate. He beat a supposedly more reactionary candidate in the GOP primary and ran as a new Tommy Thompson. He was not frank about his agenda — all he really talked about was job creation.

The Democrat, Tom Barrett, is a friend and a good man. But his campaign never caught on and people did not take it as seriously as they would have if they knew what was coming.

Ultimately, I must also put some blame on Democrats in Washington — including the president. They were slow, cautious and unfocused in response to a jobs and foreclosure crisis. That came back to haunt them in the states.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:23 pm
In response to Palli @ 77

What a lovely sign.

John is far too modest to say this, but he was quite close to Paul Wellstone. I think Paul looked him up every time he was near Madison.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:25 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 78

John’s last point, in my mind, is key. And if the Dems lose in November, that will likely be why.

nonquixote February 26th, 2012 at 3:26 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 68

Thank You DW

Feingold is attempting to deliver the goldbots to the obots. The national democratic party is no longer small, “d” deomcracy.

Rahm Emanuel supporting Barrett for mayor and the national dems trying to squeeze in through the backdoor here in WI on the tails of a truly populist movement. Disgusting!!!

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:26 pm
In response to juliania @ 73

You go to so many good points here. Occupy movements across the country really did face a great deal of repression. It was dark and unsettling. And there was quite a bit of evidence of coordination in the repression.

The answer, I think, is to come back with focused protests that target real power. And to get a lot of people to use the great identity of Occupy to highlight specific struggles.

I think the F29 protests, with their focus on the Kochs and ALEC, have tremendous potential.

On a last note, I have been SO impressed with the energy and innovation of Firedoglake’s coverage of Occupy.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:27 pm
In response to tammanytiger @ 75

My thinking is that if Newt gets 13,000 of his supporters to start a Moon state, we can have a dissident “West Moon” state that opposes slavery.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:29 pm
In response to nonquixote @ 81

I think an important point is made with regard to the danger of national Democrats coming in and running a cookie-cutter, drab campaign.

The recall is a renegade political intervention, using old-school political tools and new technology. It should be different, and better, than a traditional campaign.

If Democrats think they will win with soft-messaging and uninspired campaigning, they are in for real trouble.

There is a great debate now about how to go forward with the campaign. There will be a Democratic primary. I think movement folks will play a real role, and a positive one.

juliania February 26th, 2012 at 3:30 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 74

I am remembering back to when the Mayor of New York tried to close down Occupy supposedly to have the park cleaned, and there was an overwhelming response on the part of New Yorkers, similar in many ways to what happened in Wisconsin, and yet some months on the Occupy Wall Street was overcome. Do you think, Mr. Nichols, this may have taken place because the movement had diffused into other places? I am wondering if there had been still the one focus, might the Occupiers have had more concentrated support? (I can see positive reasons to concentrate the movement and others with respect to making it far reaching, but at least in my area it seems to have less momentum than initially.)

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Johnny—What would you say are the one or two things about the Wisconsin Uprising that have not been mentioned today that would be impossible or extremely difficult to grasp for someone who only relied upon the news media coverage—even sympathetic news media coverage—to get a handle on the situation?

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:32 pm
In response to Palli @ 77

A great big shout out to Ohio! I write a lot in the book about struggles in other states that relate to, extend from, were inspired by and have inspired Wisconsin.

The SB5 fight is front and center.

I was in Ohio for the veto referendum vote.

Collective bargaining was placed on the ballot, perhaps for the first time in history. And a swing state voted 61-39 for labor rights. Wow!

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Are your fingers getting tired, John?

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:34 pm
In response to juliania @ 85

I think we will see Occupy rise with great strength in the spring.

The coming G8 protests in Chicago will be big and meaningful. And they will connect economic/militarism concerns.

Palli February 26th, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Yes… it was a pennant to give us the strength and sense of duty we need to have progress again and an important conversation starter with young and old, political newcomers and older demonstrators. Maybe not modest only, but still hurting for the public and personal loss.Our last decade could have be different inso many ways.

juliania February 26th, 2012 at 3:36 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 68

Yes, I’m afraid that after the curious for and against conversation Russ Feingold had with Amy Goodman last week, both parts of your comment are true, DW. It was upsetting because I have admired him in the past for his strong stand against the Patriot Act and I think he did damage to his reputation by co-chairing the Obama election campaign and the mixed message he sent on Democracy Now.

juliania February 26th, 2012 at 3:38 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 87

It really made ordinary folk sit up and take notice when the Democrats from Wisconsin took refuge in Ohio. That was enormously important.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Catching up with Bob’s question about things we should discuss.

Two key notes:

1. The labor movement is very much in transition. It has been renewed in many senses by what happened in Wisconsin and Ohio, and what continues to happen in the states. But many unions are struggling to adapt. What impresses me are the unions that really seem to “get” that something is happening: NNU, Steelworkers, AFT, AFSCME (which has really gotten into these state struggles) and firefighters.

2. I am very excited by the development of pro-labor, pro-Occupy movements by working police officers. There’s a “Cops for Labor” movement, led by Brian Austin and others that has tremendous potential and should be encouraged. They played a real role in Wisconsin.

nonquixote February 26th, 2012 at 3:39 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 84

Thank you John,

that response is appreciated

Several hundred hours on the recall here. Life long WI resident. Children to look out for. I am active with the local democrats, stuck my neck out for sorryO in ’08. Working to flip the state assembly as well as the governor.

juliania February 26th, 2012 at 3:40 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 89

Thank you. Chicago has been a dark place, though, since 1968, and still has the same kind of politicians in charge there. You take very much care if you will be covering that.

phred February 26th, 2012 at 3:41 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 65

Agreed on both counts.

Using the limit currently specified in the constitution, the House of Representatives would exceed 1000 members with our present population.

I would also advocate a distributed House where members reside in their home districts most of the time. A great deal of work could be accomplished via telecommunication strategies, with some travel, preferably convening committees and so forth around the United States, not just in DC.

I could easily be persuaded to dispense with our House of Lords, uh, Senate, altogether, but if we end the absurd super-majority limits used now I’m not opposed to keeping the saucer to cool the tea as the founders viewed it.

And finally on my wish list, I would love to see federal referendums to approve/veto big stuff like going to war and such.

There are so many possibilities really…

tuezday February 26th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
In response to juliania @ 85

I think the fact that Occupy is diffuse is its strength. I doubt the public would have won the SOPA fight, the Komen fiasco or stared down the Catholic Bishops without Occupy out there laying the foundation for those fights.

I think all that’s needed now is a catalyst to get it from smoldering to on fire this spring. I have no doubt the PTB will give us one. And we are everywhere, already.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:43 pm
In response to juliania @ 91

Russ Feingold has always been a Democrat, and he will back the president. I am happy, however, that he has objected so loudly to Obama’s money-in-politics compromises.

I worry about Feingold on another front. He has been a great backer of the Wisconsin protests and the recall. Right on message. However, if he chooses not to run against Walker at a point when so many Wisconsinites want him to make the race, I think there will be a good deal of disappointment and some disenchantment with him.

If the recall prevails, people will get over it quickly.

If the recall fails, there will always be folks who say: “If only Russ had run.”

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:43 pm
In response to phred @ 96

What is “the limit currently specified in the constitution,” John?

juliania February 26th, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to tuezday @ 97

Good points, tuezday, thanks.

Kevin Gosztola February 26th, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 82

Thanks for all the insight this afternoon. I, too, appreciate your interest in giving attention to reforming structural politics.

We’re trailblazers here at FDL – what with our Occupy Supply effort. One thing you might appreciate is how we were working with the Machinists Union and I was meeting up with members in each state when I was touring Occupy camps in the Midwest.

I’ll keep following your great work. And, let me say to everyone here if McChesney & Nichols are ever speaking at a bookstore in your area, you have to go see them. They’re great to chat with but even better to hear at speaking events.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 98

That is a good reason for why he needs to run.

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Johnny—Your family on both sides traces its roots back to the very beginning of Wisconsin. There is a rumor going around that your ancestors provided the inspiration for the TV series “The Flintstones.” Is that true?

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:46 pm
In response to phred @ 96

Very good thinking on federal reforms.

Add one more: We need a presidential/vice presidential recall power.

Gore Vidal suggested this to me.

Just think if Americans could have recalled Bush and Cheney in 2005, 2006? It would have been a transformational moment for the country at precisely the right time.

Robert M. La Follette favored federal recalls — even of Supreme Court justices. Imagine responding to Citizens United with a “Recall John Roberts” movement.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

They were tin miners whose Cornish mines went bad. So they mined lead in southwest Wisconsin — which seems very Flintstones.

juliania February 26th, 2012 at 3:48 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 98

I wonder then, if that is why Obama put him on the team? Does that make it more difficult for him to run?

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:49 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 105

That explains it. Don’t you have a distant uncle Barney?

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I too love that we are talking structural reforms. That’s a big part of building a meaningful politics of protest that goes beyond mere electoral campaigns and makes fundamental demands.

With regards to the limits contained in the Constitution on reforming Congress: The Senate is limited to 2 members per state. The House can grow to any size and the historic concept was that districts would have small populations — around 30,000 — so people could know their representatives.

We’re not going back to 30,000-member districts anytime soon. But we should be thinking about whether 700,000 member districts can ever be representative.

Once we start asking the big questions about reform, we free people to go for it.

Tom Paine was right: “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” That did not only refer to 1776.

Palli February 26th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Thank you, Mr. Nichols and Mr. McChesney. I am informed and renewed.

underemployedlovinit February 26th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

the most shocking thing about the current president is that I’m older than him, this can’t be good. Keep on Keepin on, I think that was the 70′s

BevW February 26th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

As we come to the end of this great Book Salon discussion,

John, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and the activists in Wisconsin.

Bob, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

John’s website and book (Uprising)

Bob’s website and books

Thanks all, Have a great week.

If you want to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Palli February 26th, 2012 at 3:53 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 108

or as Paul Wellstone said: “We can remake the world daily.”

Robert W. McChesney February 26th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Thank you all! John, break a leg in Tucson. Snow still here in Madison.

juliania February 26th, 2012 at 3:54 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 104

Yes, that would be so beautiful. I remember your interview with Mr. Moyers on impeachment. Since that clearly can be moved ‘off the table’ at whim, and apparently is dead in the water after the failure to impeach for Clinton (who probably should have been impeached for other reasons) we do have to find a better way. On Wisconsin – I do hope you all succeed, and show us all the way forward!

Thank you Mr. Nichols and Mr. McChesney – the time goes too quickly.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:55 pm
In response to juliania @ 106

Why is Feingold on Obama’s reelect team?

Easy. Feingold is essential to reaching out to money-in-politics reformers. His presence suggests that the president is open to some internal criticism and prodding on the SuperPAC issue. The real question is what influence Feingold has. This needs to become a lot clearer.

Those who have read Feingold’s new book — mainly on foreign policy — may also think that he is being set up for a role in a second-term administration. Perhaps as Supreme Court appointee or in some diplomatic position. He will not be Secretary of State (too anti-war) or Attorney General (too pro-civil liberties).

Or, perhaps, it is Feingold 2016.

phred February 26th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

1 representative per 30,000 people — sorry should have been explicit earlier. It’s in Article 1, Section 1:

The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative

nonquixote February 26th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Thank You MR Nichols

You are very much RESPECTED and appreciated.

John Nichols February 26th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Thank you to Bev, Bob and everyone who joined in today. I’ll be out a bit for this book and hope to see folks in person. Go protest, go occupy. We’ve got an uprising going and we should not let it stop. Keep reading, engaging with FireDogLake. And remember that Robert M. La Follette was right: Democracy is a life!

phred February 26th, 2012 at 4:01 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 104

Wow, recall power for the President, Vice-President, and the Supremes. Boy oh boy, would I love that… Of course, I could end up spending every waking minute of my day collecting signatures ; )

DWBartoo February 26th, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Thank you, John and Bob.

Great discussion.

Thank you, Bev, as always …

DW

bigbrother February 26th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

“Madison” how aprapo that a new revolution would start, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Madison, the issue you raise are so fundamental to a working democracy that is being replaced by an Oligarchy of .01 percenters like Koch. Portland had anti corporatist demonstrations in the early 70s as well. Great subject. Please remember that Madison/Jefferson were under heavy colonial rule tha had been the culture for over 120 years. We are much advanced over that today.
Moving forward is still a revolution in the sense that power has been usurped.

juliania February 26th, 2012 at 4:05 pm
In response to John Nichols @ 115

Obama removed Arizona’s governor, and now look what they have. That was my underlying insinuation. Something was mighty peculiar about that Amy Goodman interview. There are more things in heaven and on earth, Horatio…

I do wish the best to us all, and a wonderful closing phrase to remember – democracy is indeed a life!

phred February 26th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Thanks so much for being here Bob and John, can’t wait until you come back so we can chat some more about structural reforms…

DWBartoo February 26th, 2012 at 4:08 pm
In response to phred @ 123

I second this, most happily, and seriously, phred.

DW

DWBartoo February 26th, 2012 at 4:10 pm
In response to phred @ 119

One get almost giddy, at the prospect of such recall.

I don’t see the present political class, which includes the media, going along with this, nor the MOTU, which is why I think we may have to change the entire system, and begin anew …

DW

TheOracle February 26th, 2012 at 4:25 pm

All the U.S. Postal Service postal union workers should go on strike the first week of March , with all other union members across America as well as OWS protesters joining in (showing a solidarity with the U.S.P.S. postal union workers that was lacking when former criminal president Ronald Reagan fired all the striking Air Traffic Controllers).

And the postal union workers demands should be simple; 1) immediate retraction of the U.S.P.S.-busting Republican requirement that the U.S.P.S. pre-fund 75 years of employee health benefits, but paying for it in 10 years, 2) using excess funds already collected to rehire U.S.P.S. workers (back to 2006 levels before this evil and reprehensible Republican legislation was passed) as well as re-opening all the rural post offices, and any other postal facilities, closed as the U.S.P.S. was squeezed into pre-funding employee health benefits for 75 years, but ordered to pay for this in 10 years.

Only a nationwide general strike might get the attention of all the criminally insane Republicans who saddled the U.S.P.S. with this abomination.

darms February 26th, 2012 at 5:17 pm
In response to phred @ 96

A dispersed House of Representatives would make corporate lobbying much more expensive & much more difficult. When they’re all together in D.C. that’s why we got ‘K Street’.

phred February 26th, 2012 at 7:24 pm
In response to darms @ 127

Exactly.

Plus, it makes it easier for constituents to meet in person with their representative. With 30,000 constituents to see, who would have time for lobbyists outside the district? ; )

Sorry but the comments are closed on this post