You already knew that Texas governor Rick Perry was, as they say down in the Lone Star state, dumb as a stump. But Perry has been working hard to convince Americans that he's also mean as a scorpion (which they probably don't say down there, but maybe they ought to). With the highestproportion of uninsured residents of any state in the union, Perry gleefully declined the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of Texans without access to medical care despite the fact that the federal government would have picked up nearly all of the tab. And now, he's taking the nationwide Republican effort to destroy women's reproductive rights into new realms of vindictiveness.
You no doubt heard about Texas state senator Wendy Davis's heroic filibuster the other night, in which she prevented the legislature from passing a bill that would have banned all abortions after 20 weeks and led to the closure of 37 of the state's 42 abortion clinics. The bad news was that despite all the attention Davis got, chances were that the Republican-dominated legislature would come back in its next session and pass the bill.
But Rick Perry isn't going to let some uppity woman tell him what restrictions he can put on what women can do with their bodies. So he announced that he'll be calling the legislature back for an emergency session to consider the bill. And he decided to put Wendy Davis in her place with some epic mansplaining: "She was the daughter of a single woman, she was a teenage mother herself," he said about Davis. "She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas senate. It is just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters."
And about pro-choice activists protesting the abortion restrictions, Perry said, "The louder they scream, the more we know we are getting something done."
No war on women here! Now why don't you ladies just hush up and let the menfolk do the legislating?
So They Say
"It is just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example."
—Texas Governor Rick Perry, commenting on the fact that state senator Wendy Davis was a teenage mother
Daily Meme: Women of Steel
- This week, it's all Wendy Davis, all the time, even in Ringside Seat.
- There's a Wendy Davis song, and a Wendy Davis Taiwanese re-enactment.
- There's even Wendy Davis nail art.
- She went from 1,200 to 93,000 Twitter followers over the course of a day.
- By Tuesday evening, her occupation on her Facebook profile was changed to "theLeBron James of filibustering."
- (This isn't her only filibuster claim-to-fame.)
- And E! is already casting the hypothetical Wendy Davis movie.
- Even the president was riding the #standwithwendy train.
- Women in Texas have been waiting for someone to do something about this for awhile. Dudes have been all up in legislating ladyparts in the state the past few years.
- And, one of the most thrilling thing about the late-night legislative talk-a-thon is how excited it made Texas women. The state house was thrumming with the shouts of women fired up by a filibuster.
- So what's next for Davis? Might she run for Perry's gubernatorial seat?
- One political scientist says "She could be a one-hit wonder, which most of them are, or which most of them can be. Or she could take advantage of the spotlight and follow a trajectory. But she is in a red state where her district could be wiped out by redistricting, and in that case, she'd have very little to move on."
- No matter what, Davis is going to keep on keeping on. “They may roll over us. They probably will. But they underestimate the consequences of doing so. Obviously, we’re still going to fight with every fiber that we have.”
What We're Writing
- Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis proved women have political power in Texas by filibustering an anti-abortion bill yesterday. Abby Rapaport writes that she also gave progressives in the state some hope for the future.
- Yes, yesterday’s Prop 8 decision was the outcome liberals wanted. But Paul Waldman writes that that it could set a dangerous precedent.
What We're Reading
- So ... is Obama for or against the pipeline?
- Dorothy Rabinowitz still hates Citi Bikes.
- John Kerry, the Lone Ranger of peace in the Middle East.
- More than 100,000 lives have been lost in Syria.
- This year's Supreme Court season, by the numbers.
- Al-Qaeda is starting to change their communication strategy after learning about PRISM.
- Interest rates for student loans are set to double next week and Congress isn't close to preventing it.
- The current Supreme Court is one of the most business-friendly in recent history.
- What would a 2013 Voting Rights Act Section 4 look like?
- The coal lobby might just be gasping its last breaths.
- The Senate snuffbox hasn't been used since 1931. Why do they still have one?
- Marin Cogan unpacks the growing business of explaining the details of D.C. to filmmakers.
Poll of the Day
Though the majority of Americans believe it is happening, only 40 percent believe climate change is a big problem, according to a new poll released by the Pew Research Center. The numbers reflect a trend seen in January, when only 28 percent of Americans said that a focus on climate change should be a “top priority” for Congress. Today, only 33 percent describe it as a “very serious” problem, and 32 percent say it is “somewhat serious.