That sound byte is beginning to feel familiar.
In absence (homage, really) of the New York Times’ On Language, here’s a little research I did into the sudden popularity of “New York is not Wisconsin”–and exactly who said it first.
1:49 p.m., March 3, 2011-Senate Democratic Leader John L. Sampson published a statement on teacher evaluation legislation, saying, “We cannot let New York become Wisconsin where an assault has been launched to dismantle the collective bargaining rights of the public workforce under the guise of fiscal emergency.”
11:16 a.m., March 3, 2011 – City Comptroller John Liu released a statement on Cuomo’s proposed teacher layoffs, “New York is not Wisconsin, and the kind of leadership Governor Cuomo has shown on these issues stands as an example to other states where critical services and workers’ rights are under assault.
10:12 a.m., March 3, 2011 – Cuomo spokesman John Vlasto defended Cuomo’s teacher layoff proposal, adding, “I do not agree, however, as our Republican colleagues advocate, that we should now disregard collective bargaining in this instance. New York is not Wisconsin.”
March 2, 2011 – Louis Colette, president of a contractors’ union, said, “My members want us to take every step to preserve this business model. This is not Wisconsin.”
March 1, 2011 – State Comptroller spoke at a rally at the State Capitol, declaring, “New York State is not Wisconsin.”
The trendsetter, however, appears to be Chuck Schumer: the senator said it first over a week ago during a visit to Troy on February 22. “The idea of just taking away workers’ right to collective bargaining is not going to happen: New York is not Wisconsin,” he said.
The phrase’s popularity isn’t limited to New York, though: elected officials nationwide are denying comparisons between their states and Wisconsin.
Also not Wisconsin:
“This is not Wisconsin” – Detroit Free Press
“Pennsylvania is not Wisconsin” – Scranton Times-Tribune
“This is not Wisconsin. This is Minnesota.” – The Rochester Post-Bulletin
“This is not Wisconsin, it’s Iowa” – Radio Iowa
“Maine is not Wisconsin” – Bangor Daily News
“The NBA is not Wisconsin” – Esquire.com
Though these statements all refer to the union controversy within Wisconsin, another group denies any likeness between New York and Wisconsin for entirely different reasons. The Bleacher Report sports site notes that New York, unlike the home of the Green Bay Packers, will not tolerate Brett Favre’s antics.
“New York is not Wisconsin,” the site says. “The Jets organization should not be restricted by the same perverted sense of loyalty to Favre that allowed him to keep his circus act going in Green Bay for four years longer than it should have.”