I made it down to the Senate Legislative Office Building – AKA the Tom Bakk Mahal – at 7AM this morning for the big Michael Bloomberg pep rally.
As usual, the Real Americans were out on the street at 7AM on the button.
As of 7:11AM – twenty minutes before the doors opened – there were five criminal-protection advocates, and over two dozen Human Rights supporters.
The Human Rights groups were there, showing a little Minnesota hospitality, distributing coffee and donuts to the assembled crowd, outside and (when the doors opened) in:
Setting up the coffee stand at 7AM. The criminal-safety advocates liked the coffee and donuts as much as the Human Rights supporters.
Soon, the doors opened, and the lines formed inside to get the 250 tickets.
Of the first 50 or so people in the line, probably 3/4 were maroon-shirt-wearing Human Rights advocates. The criminal-safety advocates came dribbling in after 8AM, presumably after their sustainable yoga classes.
And it was kinda funny.
As we noted yesterday, this whole event – “hearings” called by Senator Ron “I Went To Harvard, You Know…” Latz in “support” of bills that can not go forward, because the committee deadline was several weeks ago – is a sham. It’s a fake hearing. It’s a pep rally for the Bloombergs, held up until late April because Bloomberg had to focus their money and time on states where they have a chance of affecting policy, few as they may be. Minnesota is waaaaay down the list.
And I had a few observations.
“Turnout”: As I noted the other day, Senator Latz scheduled this meaningless hearing at 8:30 AM on a Tuesday for a reason; he knows that Minnesota’s gun owners have jobs, kids, families and lives, and all of them need attention at 8:30 on Tuesday morning.
And that’s who turned out; about 80 working, middle-class Minnesotans – blue-collar, white collar, technical people, businesspeople, men, women. Regular folks.
On the other hand, the gun-grabbers who showed up this morning fit two basic descriptions:
- Non-profit employees and other people being paid to be there
- Retired or semi-retired upper-middle-class white liberals with that “Volvo-driving Saint Olaf alumni ELCA church member from Crocus Hill / Kenwood / Linden Hills” vibe about them.
Why bring it up? Because the battle over guns is a battle between classes; between the “let me take care of myself and my family” class and the “you will take the rights we grant you and you will like it” class.
The criminal-safety supporters were handing out little “Moms Want Action” stickers. By the way – just try to buy a “Moms Want Action” T-Shirt, anywhere. While GOCRA hands out the maroon shirts to anyone for any kind of donation, or even no donation at all, the Moms pretty much vet applications for their t-shirts. They literally keep a database of Human Rights activists to not sell to. These two ladies, by the way, are right about the middle of the Moms’ demographic.
And the “Crowds?” That was the interesting part.
This is the criminal-safety crowd’s “Lobbying Day” – the day they try to turn out their full force to descend on the Capitol. By my count, they managed maybe 70-80.
Now – even though today’s bills don’t matter, and it wasn’t the Human Rights community’s lobbying day (we wrote about that about six weeks ago – GOCRA turned out two hundred for Gun Owners Lobbying Day last March) – which is kind of hilarious, “lobbying” when the committee deadline has passed – and it was a work day, the good guys, the Human Rights advocates, turned out about the same number of people.
On a workday.
For a meaningless hearing and a ridiculous farce of a Bloomberg-paid event.
Of course, had it mattered – like Michael Paymar’s gun grab bills three years ago – the good guys would have had 600 maroon shirts on the scene from 8AM ’til midnight. Every time.
Who’s got the momentum?
Postshriek: I had to leave before the hearings started; unlike most of the criminal-safety advocates, I have a day job with some actual non-political demands.
As I was walking out the door, I was on the cell phone with a friend who was asking about the event. I saw a woman – sixty-ish, with a face that had not a single laugh-line in evidence, but plenty of frown lines and scowl lines, if you catch my drift. She was carrying an anti-gun protest sign.
I held the door for her, as I described the crowd in my private phone conversatoin, in terms that expressed a little disbelief that this was the best the criminal-safety groups could manage.
The woman turned to me and said, uncomfortably loudly, “thanks for laughing at us!”
Somewhat non-plussed (and trying to multitask), I responded “you’re welcome”.
I mean, what was I supposed to say?