Monday, October 28, 2013

Wendy Davis, Ted Cruz, and Rhett Butler

I've always had a weakness for lost causes once they're really lost.

From Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

Maybe that is why I have a soft spot for Wendy Davis. She is the gritty Texas state senator who took to the floor about four months ago and delivered a 13 hour filibuster which opposed a draconian anti-abortion bill being voted on in that chamber.

She was, in fact, the inspiration for Ted Cruz's marathon in the United States Senate a couple of weeks ago. Of course he'll never say that, at least not out loud. In addition there are a couple of stark differences between what she and he accomplished. The Cruz speech wasn't a true filibuster. It was simply his ego on display for nearly a day. U.S. Senate rules had stipulated a strict limit on the length of debate in advance and after time had expired the vote on the proposed gutting of the Affordable Care Act was going to take place no matter what. His reading of "Green Eggs and Ham," something Davis couldn't do because she actually had to talk about the issue on the floor and nothing else, didn't accomplish a single thing. The vote took place at the scheduled hour and Cruz and his pals got their arses kicked just like everyone knew they would.

Davis, on the other hand, besides talking on point for hours on end, actually ran the clock out on a special legislative session that had been called by Governor Rick Perry in order to get the measure passed. Her filibuster gummed up the works, which is what a filibuster is supposed to do. Well, at least for a little while. Because of her the Texas legislature was forced to adjourn, much to Perry's chagrin, and he had to call a second special session to get the bill rammed through so he could sign it.

The proposal passed during the next attempt, but today a federal judged ruled it unconstitutional, which was about as surprising as the sun setting in the west. NBC reports that U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel decided the law would, "impede efforts of abortion providers to do what they judge is best for their patients and would unreasonably limit a woman's access to state abortion clinics."

The law was specifically designed to restrict a woman's personal health care options so severely that in reality she wouldn't have any at all. It required doctors who perform abortion procedures to have admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30 mile radius of their place of practice. Planned Parenthood estimated a third of all clinics in Texas would have to close because of that provision. It didn't stop there though, the law also required for all procedures to occur at an ambulatory surgical center, which would have disqualified 37 of the 42 women's clinics operating in Texas.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott released a statement saying he would file an emergency appeal with the 5th Circuit Court. He claims the law was passed to "protect women and fetuses." Mr. Abbott is currently running for governor of Texas.

Which brings us back to Wendy Davis. After she honorably emulated Davy Crockett at the gates of the Alamo, Ms. Davis also decided to run for the head job in Austin.

Well, why not? Someone has to don't they? You can't leave it to them without any sort of argument.

While I wish her well, the brutal truth is the odds are decidedly against her. There hasn't been a democrat serve as governor of Texas since 1994 and there hasn't hasn't been one hold a statewide office since 1998.

To show you what she is up against, a 2009 poll revealed a full 31% of the rubes living south of the Red River believe Texas has the right to secede from the union. 18% of them think the state should do just that.

At some point, as the Hispanic population grows, Texas might be in play for democrats, but we haven't gotten there yet. In 2008 Tarrant County elected Wendy Davis, but in 2012 the state of Texas elected Ted Cruz.

In the end there is nothing quite like some healthy fantasies to warm the heart. Hey, Wendy if I could, I'd vote for you in a minute and before things are over with, hopefully, I can even slip your campaign a few bucks. Lets call it the Rhett Butler in me.

Just don't tell Scarlett. She is far more a realist than I am. And--there is that whole saving for the escape to Belize thing we have to keep in mind.

sic vita est


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