I was all set to listen to Mike Tate, Tammy Baldwin and Tom Barrett trash Scott Walker. I was psyched to see the crazy outfits and signs the Democrat faithful would have at the state convention. I couldn’t wait to attend the 2013 Wisconsin Democratic Party Convention.
But it wasn’t to be. I arrived bright and early at the convention site in Oconomowoc, (that’s right, they held their convention in the heart of Waukesha County) on Saturday morning and received my press pass. I filled out the form stating who I was, that I was there as a writer for RightWisconsin and showed the convention workers my ID.
And then it happened. The worker scurried off to find a media relations person. She was bright and cheery as she told me I was not allowed to cover the DPW convention.
"You do not work for a credible news organization," she said. "We don’t want you here. You’re a biased hack."
Ouch. But I’m a big girl and if I’m not pissing someone off with my writing I’m not doing my job. But a hack?
I’ve been a working journalist since 1997. While my degree is in Business Administration, journalism entails being able to tell a compelling, accurate story of what is happening so the public will be informed.
I've been the news director at an AM/FM radio station in Northern Wisconsin, followed by 10 years of staff and freelance writing for a variety of newspapers. In 2009 I became the news editor at Third Coast Digest. In 2012 I went back to freelancing, writing for Right Wisconsin and for Southeastern Wisconsin PATCH.
But, I’ve never compared a prominent elected official to a notorious mass murderer, so I must not be a communications professional, according to the standards of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) the convention was being taped by Wisconsin Eye and I was able to catch some of the fun, just not in person.
The convention opened with an invocation from a Christian pastor who welcomed all his Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Native American and other religious brothers and sisters. He then went on to ask God to help the conventioneers to eliminate all labels and to respect and accept all people, regardless of their beliefs.
Yeah, I found that somewhat ironic considering I was watching the proceedings on television, having been kicked out of their tolerance party.
I have learned from watching the six hours of convention coverage that Tom Barrett really loves being Mayor of Milwaukee. Don’t let those repeated attempts to get a job in Madison fool you.
I learned that Democrats still use public school students to promote ideals, as they did with the Boys Chorus from Middleton High School. After they sang the National Anthem to open the convention, they broke into a rendition of "Good Night Liberals" (sung to the tune of "Good Night Ladies") which they ended with the line, "Please fix school funding now." Aww, how cute of the high school boys begging for money at the behest of their teachers.
I confirmed for the zillionth time in 25 years that Gwen Moore is still loony. She was decked out in head to toe American flag and sang a song in honor of Scott Walker and the GOP. Choosing the Dionne Warwick hit, "Walk On By," she offered that the Governor and Republicans just "walk on by" when they see the poor, unemployed, public workers, students, elderly, environmentalists and especially women and minorities.
So, why did the Democrats choose to spend their tens of thousands of dollars to host this shindig in Western Waukesha County? Couldn’t they have used that money to pay poor, unemployed minority enterprises in Milwaukee? But I digress…
Moore's shtick was a hoot and you can find it about two and half hours into the first night’s coverage. It is almost as entertaining as her appearance on Steven Colbert’s television show.
Other exciting developments included the announcement by Mike Tate that the DPW would be competitive in all 72 counties in 2014 and that a task force was being developed by the party to help fledgling Democratic candidates. The Party that says Scott Walker is a failure who doesn’t deserve another term also elected Tate to his third as state chairman.
Senate Minority Leaders Chris Larson begged the crowd to help him turn the state senate in 2014 and to always remember the Wisconsin 14 who "stood up" to Walker and Scott Fitzgerald by running away to Illinois.
Ron Kind won’t run for governor in 2014, but he really loves Obamacare. Oh, and did you know the GOP actually likes universal health care but now hates it merely because Obama passed it? At least that is Kind’s take on the matter.
And Russ Feingold came down from the ivory towers of Marquette University to toss the conventioneers a bone - "I’m not running in 2013 or 2014 or probably not 2015…" which was met with cheers for the possibility of Feingold challenging Senator Johnson in a rematch.
So, despite their best effort to prevent me from covering the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, I was able to see a lot of it. Was it worth watching? Maybe.
But was it worth it to get tossed out of their convention because I write for the conservative news authority in the state? Yeah, that was absolutely worth it.