Yeah, when Obama appeared right outside my office window — just a few weeks ago — I got email telling me that if I looked out my window I could expect a visit from the police. Then they just shut down the whole law school building for the entire day and closed all the blinds. They hung a giant building-sized curtain all down one side of a dorm that had a view of the central mall where the President appeared.
And now he's coming back to the City of Obama Love — Madison, Wisconsin — to create a final burst of glowing adoration on the morning before Election Day, and our town is thrown into disarray once again for photo-op purposes, because we are the fresh-faced folk who still gaze upon him with awe. There are the young people — whose professors will undoubtedly free them from classes once again — and the aging liberals — who will surely feel the pull of the lugubrious dronings of Mr. Springsteen.
City employees have also been warned. "Offices facing MLK Jr., Blvd. and Wilson Street will need to be locked and vacant with the blinds drawn," Mayor Paul Soglin wrote in an email Friday afternoon to staff and city alders. "Adherence to this directive is imperative as the health and safety of our employees may be negatively impacted if we fail to enforce this directive," he added.Adherence to this directive is imperative as the health and safety of our employees may be negatively impacted if we fail to enforce this directive.... jeez, he's talking like a robot! What are they threatening to do to us if we look out a window? Negatively impact us....
We're told the city streets downtown will begin closing Sunday morning, a full day before the appearance. People are asked to amass at the top of State Street and form 2 lines which will proceed in opposite directions around the Capitol Square to the site of the rally (which is right in front of the City-County Building, the place you go to early-vote). Picture all 4 sides of the Capitol Square streaming with political people. A fabulous photo-op, which might remind us of the big Wisconsin protests of 2011 — you know, those anti-Scott Walker demonstrations which Barack Obama steered way clear of. He wasn't there for the demonstrations or to boost Walker's opponent in the recall election last spring. Obama wasn't there for the Madison lefty-liberals when they needed him, but they'll be there — presumably! — when he needs them.
Given the hasty plans for the rally, Lindskoog [a downtown parking manager] is anticipating gridlock and scarce parking will greet anyone who ventures downtown after 6 a.m. Monday. The crowd, he says, is anticipated to hit 50,000.Ha ha. Like a snow day. Like some sort of natural disaster that shuts a city down. That's always so fun. And don't come downtown, anybody, because it will be a nightmare, but be sure to come downtown, everybody, because there's a fabulous festival unreeling in our town again, our town, the President's favorite town, where he loves the way you love him. Now, smile for the cameras, Madison people. You're the chosen scenery once again!
"We're hoping people treat this like a snow day," he said with a laugh.