As I write now (at 7:50 p.m. CST), they aren't leaving. The Madison police, unionized as well, refuses to do anything to make them leave. The Capitol police, which would like to restore order, cannot move the protesters because they require the cooperation of the Madison PD to provide paddy wagons and the like.
Whatever you think of Scott Walker's proposals, this is unmistakably a giant middle finger in his direction, and in the direction the voters who supported his candidacy. The latest word is the cleaning crews, which have an Augean job in front of them, are going to attempt to work around the drum bangers and Willy Street irregulars (pardon the redundancy) who are currently populating the building.
What do we learn from this? A few things that help to illuminate matters:
- How do you bargain with people who don't bargain in good faith? A promise was made and broken. That should tell Walker and the Wisconsin citizenry, something they need to know about the mentality and honesty of their public servants.
- There are pictures galore of the mess these folks are making of the building at Ann Althouse's blog. Just keep scrolling -- they've turned the people's house into a student union.
- There are going to be some pretty big cleanup costs involved in getting the Capitol building back into the condition it ought to be. I'd suggest that they tell the protesters that if they want to stay, they will be liable for the going rate for a state campground. The Capitol might have marble floors, but it is heated and has indoor plumbing. The going rate for a cabin at Point Beach State Park is $60/night. That would be a good starting point for the fee.
- The protesters are certainly hoping that Walker will do something dramatic, like calling in the National Guard to bust heads. I don't think he should. The optics of this protest are not flattering to the protesters at all. This isn't "Tin soldiers and Walker's coming/We're finally on our own." As long as the Madison police are unwilling to cooperate, the mob cannot be dispersed. So be it. Let them stay for days, or weeks, or months, even. Walker doesn't need to do anything except go about his business.