Once a year, Wisconsin progressives emerge from their smoke-filled Volkswagen vans and attend “Fighting Bob Fest,” a gathering where Trotskyites, Marxists, and Socialists all come together to coexist peacefully. The event, named for Wisconsin native son “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, allows leftists normally chained to their computers the rare chance to say absurdly intemperate things to another nodding gray-ponytailed man.
Last week, 26-year-old Miles Kristan became a hero to the Wisconsin Left by pouring a beer on the head of Republican lawmaker Robin Vos. (On Friday, Kristan would turn himself in to the police, making sure plenty of local media were there to document the event for the history books — as if he were MLK being dragged through a Birmingham jail.)
Naturally, l’affaire Miller Lite would become a hot topic at Fighting Bob Fest. Speaker Greg Palast, whose writing expertise seems to focus primarily on how smart Greg Palast is, suggested a heightened standard of shower for Republicans — that of the golden variety:
“This is Wisconsin, this is the place where you had some guy pour a beer on the head of a Republican state senator?” said Fest speaker Greg Palast as the crowd erupted with cheers. “No, no, no, that’s all wrong. You can’t do that. That’s just wrong. I’m from New York. If you’re going to pour beer on a Republican, you have to drink it first.” (Via MacIver.)
Let that be a warning to New York Republicans — even on sunny days, wear an overcoat.
The event was also attended by national lefty luminaries like independent Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, who decried Wisconsin’s recent move to scale back public-union collective-bargaining power. In an interview with a local video blogger, Sanders said there was “no legitimacy” to Governor Scott Walker’s new law, saying that if unions don’t “negotiate decent wages, the employers can pay lower wages to everybody.” Yet the new Wisconsin law does maintain collective bargaining on wages, just not benefits.
— Christian Schneider is a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.