Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator who became an overnight sensation in pink sneakers after her nearly 11-hour filibuster protesting new abortion restrictions, has declared her candidacy for governor of Texas after the current governor, Rick Perry, announced he would be stepping down in order to gear up for another attempt at the Presidential elections in 2016. Davis plans to focus her campaign on education, health care, and creating more economic development and opportunities for Texans and ensuring fair pay for women, saying her experience as a single teen mother who rose to become a successful Harvard-trained attorney and Texas state senator informs her political views and her commitment to Texas’s middle-class residents.
And already, the anti-choice supporters are rallying conservative Christian voters, while the Texas Right to Life group plans to launch 60-second English and Spanish language radio ads on South Texas secular and Christian stations, calling Davis an “abortion zealot.” This, actually, is one of the more watered-down of insults coming from an increasingly shrill, misogynist right wing – immediately after Wendy Davis’s heroic filibuster, Governor Rick Perry slammed Wendy Davis for being the daughter of a single mother, and single mother herself, speculating about an alternate universe where Wendy Davis might have been aborted, or had aborted her own child.
Since then, she’s been labelled “cavalier,” “vulgar,” and “anti-Christian.” Fox News commentator Erick Erickson called Davis “Abortion Barbie,” (something that hasn’t pleased Mattel very much). Texas Republicans have, bizarrely, accused Wendy Davis of wanting to turn Texas into - OMG - California, oh, the horror!
Many of the most offensive attacks against her have been both personal and sexist, some of them escalating into the same level of vitriol and violent rhetoric that led to Gabby Gifford being shot, and six people dead, including a nine-year-old girl.
But what is worse is the reactions of her political opponents – Dave Carney, one of Rick Perry’s political advisors, tweeted that “Wendy Davis is too stupid to be governor.”
Another Twitter poster, who called Wendy Davis an “idiot” and “retard Barbie” got a thank-you tweet back from Republican attorney general Greg Abbott, who is running against Davis for governor.
The Republican Party of Texas has already launched a website using Fox News footage and headlines from conservative publications to attack Davis on gun rights, voter ID and, of course, abortion.
Texas remains intransigent when it comes to any chance of turning from a red to a blue state. Texas hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976, even while Democrat Jimmy Carter won in Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina. No Democrat has won the governorship since Ann Richards in 1990, and Republicans hold a three to two advantage in both houses of the Texas legislature. And to make damned sure it stays that way, Wendy Davis’s opponent, Greg Abbott, has openly bragged that Texas will continue to get away with rigging elections through gerrymandering; stating, “both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats.”
Even more absurdly, Texas is now trying to defend against legislation that would bring the state back under federal voting oversight with the explanation that such gerrymandering wasn’t racially motivated, just done so that Democrats could never win a fair election ever again... not unconstitutional at all, no siree, ma’am. And if that doesn’t work, well, they can purge pesky Democratic voters from the rolls by declaring them pre-maturely dead.
So Wendy Davis’s chances of winning are grim indeed. The Texan political system isn’t designed to accommodate smart, energetic, passionate, intelligent, righteous women. It’s been rigged to favour old rich white men who openly despise smart, energetic, passionate, intelligent, righteous women.
Lately, Texas has had an embarrassment of Teh Stoopid; pick-up trucks with photos of hog-tied women in the back, conspiracies to improve school test scores (and so receive federal funds and bonuses) by kicking low-scoring students out of classrooms, sports scandals, and sex scandals, and sports AND sex scandals, some of the worst juvenile prisons imaginable, a state where Republicans think rape kits are an acceptable “abortion” alternative, a state that holds the record for executions and doesn’t spare the mentally retarded or juveniles, an obscenely oil-rich state that won’t pay for paving roads or feed their federal prisoners, a state that holds the record for 56 climate-fueled disaster declarations and is in the grip of one of the worst droughts in US history but whose chairman of the Energy and Commerse Committee, Republican Joe Barton, cites the Biblical Great Flood as “proof” climate change isn’t man-made, while his Republican colleague, John Carter, calls global warming a “Chicken Little scheme,” a state where fertilizer plants blow up because of lax oversight and outright lies, school text books are adulterated with anti-intellectual Creationist claptrap, and a candidate for the state’s next Attorney General is actively preparing for Texas to secede from the union (please, Leticia Van de Putte, run against this imbecile, I beg of you...)
Dare I even mention “whacko-bird” Ted Cruz? I don’t have enough space to catalogue all his epic level failings.
The list of Teh Stoopid is so overwhelming that rolling one’s eyes has become the usual reaction; after all... what do you expect? It’s Texas, where men are men and the sheep have higher IQs.
That may be unfair, since Texas has produced some exceptionally fine politicians as witnessed during that riveting filibuster, and she can be incredibly proud of Wendy Davis. It’s still going to be one hell of an uphill battle against the zombie-like Stoopid that has taken over Texas, but I’m hoping there are still enough Texans with brains and hearts and souls and votes to finally, finally oust the anti-science, anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-intellectual walking braindead personified by the likes of Rick Perry, Joe Barton, Greg Abbott, Louie Gohmert, Randy Neugebauer, Ron Paul, Ted Cruz, the list just goes on and on and on and on and on...