So what might work instead? Let's throw out a few suggestions:
- Put the bongo drums away. I have talked to people about the spectacle in Madison and one unmistakable conclusion that people have made is this: there's no way that such behavior would be tolerated in the private sector. While there's some sympathy out there, it has its limits. Self-indulgence is not a pretty thing.
- Go home. To the extent that the protestors weren't college students or hessians from Chicago and elsewhere, there was never a reason for anyone to overtake the state Capitol. No matter how well-intentioned a group of people might be, no one likes a mob.
- Get back to work. I sense that at least some public sector workers are going to draw precisely the wrong conclusion from what happened and will use some of the classic maneuvers we see from organized labor -- you'll see people slowing down their efforts, doing less, etc. That's precisely the wrong way to influence public opinion. If public sector workers go out and demonstrate their professionalism and stop complaining about how terrible Scott Walker is, they'll have better results in building lasting support.
- Take a look around. No matter how the news media report it, the economy is not surging right now. There are still a lot of people who are looking for work, or who have taken jobs that don't pay nearly as well as the jobs they have lost. There are a lot of people who are having to get by on less these days, even as prices on food and gasoline continue to rise. If public workers are willing to take one for the team, so to speak, they'll garner considerably more goodwill. Rightly or wrongly, at this time there's an adversarial tone to the debate. That has to end.