Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Drinking Liberally: Chris Larson Edition!

Amy and I went to Drinking Liberally at Transfer Pizza & Cafe down on 1st Street in Milwaukee.  Besides having excellent pizza and a pear cider on tap that just rocks, we got to hear from Chris Larson (D-7th) of the now-famous Wisconsin 14 was there to talk about his experiences in the Senate under Republican control.
Chris Larson addresses a crowd of Liberal Drinkers
It was most revealing.  Chris described his experience as a freshman Senator trying to work across the aisle with freshman Republican Senators.  When trying to amend a bill to ensure that it would function properly, the freshman Republican would agree until a senior Republican would yank his leash hard and indicate that there would be "no amendments."  Chris explained the Republican philosophy of democracy.  It's like this: "Democracy happens for 13 hours on election day."  Once the vote is tabulated, and the GOP wins, it's "all-in on the crazy" (my words, not his).  There is no belief in compromise or in hearing any other opinions than the ones handed down by the Republican "thinking" machine in Washington.  There can be no deviation.

I asked him about ALEC and whether or not there was or would be a Democratic equivalent.  He was quite right in explaining that it was unlikely.  ALEC has been around since the early 1980s (around the time of the Heritage Foundation and The American Enterprise Institute) and has a huge base of support among Republican state politicians.  The Democrats do not have that kind of homogeneity of thought.  In some ways, it is a strong short-term advantage for the GOP to have such a doctrinaire attitude, but in the end, the paucity of diversity will be their undoing.  Like the dinosaurs, they're hyper-adapted to a climate that cannot last.

Finally, one of the other attendees, a Milwaukee Police Officer, asked about AB127 which was introduced to strip collective bargaining from public safety workers.  Chris's respons was unequivocal: "It's going nowhere." Despite all that has happened, Walker still has strong support from the Milwaukee Police Department and their union.  It would be political suicide to throw that support away with a petulant bill like AB127.

It was quite an exciting evening to swap stories with Chris and the others at the event and I will definitely be returning.


  1. Hmmm, something seems to be missing from this report. Just can't put my finger on what, or whom, it might be....

  2. And all the awesome bloggers and liberals we mingled with?