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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Janesville's Labor Day Parade Not Party-Time for GOP

I watched the parade stationed near the Hedberg Library with a couple of friends and as usual, we had great time snapping photos and mixing it up with some of the entertainers and glad handing with the folks seeking political office. Nearly all the local democrats I could think of participated in the parade. Popular local democrats like Russ Feingold, Tammy Baldwin, Kim Hixson, Tim Cullen and Mike Sheridan were there including county office holders Sheriff Bob Spoden and Coroner Jenifer Keach. Feingold and Baldwin in particular were jousting from one side of the street to the other shaking hands, smiling and reaching out to anyone who bothered. Afterwards, Baldwin and Sheridan took to the sidewalks as they mingled in on their walk back to their vehicles. The noise and general atmospherics from most of the spectating crowd with the democrats was one of camaraderie, good time and good wishes. It was a pleasant experience.

And, just like in 2008 when I last attended Janesville's Labor Day parade, the most noticeable change in mood took place when republican candidates and incumbents came marching down the street with their legions of supporters. Maybe it's just me and my built in GOP-claustrophobia, but it was like a death pall came over the street. That includes the pin-dropping ambiance when hometown hero Paul Ryan passed down the street earlier in the parade. Sure, a couple of the younger republicans added a slight sense of energy to the scene, but south Main street for the most part, was dead silent. It was no longer fun. And if it were not for the riotously entertaining Yankee Dutchman Band to finally break up the seemingly endless string of republicans seeking a government paycheck, the GOPers might as well have had a hearse escort for their float.

The party was over.

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