Sen. Wendy Davis, in her memoir due out next week, discloses the most personal of stories preceding her nationally marked fight against tighter abortion restrictions: a decision she and her then-husband made 17 years ago to end a much-wanted pregnancy.The book, “Forgetting to Be Afraid,” goes on sale to the general public Tuesday. Copies will be available Monday at a Fort Worth book signing by Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Davis, in a copy of the book obtained by the San Antonio Express-News, wrote that her unborn third daughter had an acute brain abnormality. She said doctors told her the syndrome would cause the baby to suffer and likely was incompatible with life.
The situations Wendy Davis describes in her book happen to women, and families, every day. They’re heartbreaking, and nobody ever wants to be faced with these kinds of decisions when expecting a child.
This puts into context why she filibustered the women’s health bill last year. I’m guessing that at least part of her reason for filibustering was to make sure that women can make their own choice when faced with a decision like this. There are no easy answers or choices, which brings us to the point: Since this isn’t an easy choice, who should get to make it? A woman and her family, in consultation with her doctor? Or the state?
I trust that folks who had been complaining that Davis hadn’t spoken enough about abortion during her campaign will give that a rest now. Everyone agrees that this is A Very Big Deal, but I doubt anyone knows how it will play out politically. Just as we’d never had a President announce support for same sex marriage until 2012, I can’t offhand think of a similar statement of this magnitude in a high-profile election. Certainly, nothing like this that wasn’t considered to be shameful, if not career-ending, from infidelity to pot-smoking to divorce to mental illness and so on and so forth. Oh, there will be people who will believe this to be shameful, but I doubt any of them were the least bit sympathetic to Davis in the first place. It will be interesting to see if the troglodyte brigade – Erick Erickson and the like – manages to keep a lid on their baser impulses or not. I wouldn’t hold my breath on it, but you never know. As for this election, I’d say the conventional wisdom is as follows, from that Express News story:
Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said he doesn’t expect the revelation to lose any votes for Davis, since he said it’s a relative small proportion of voters who oppose abortion in cases of severe fetal abnormality.
“The group that will be most bothered by her having an abortion of a baby with a severe fetal abnormality is a group that wasn’t going to vote for her anyway,” he said.
“The positive side of it for her is it humanizes her, and also makes it a little tricky for opponents to attack her on the abortion issue because now, it not only is a political issue for her, but it’s a personal issue,” Jones said.
There’s no doubt this humanizes her and makes the issue about real people and their lives. It’s impossible to say what effect this will have on the campaign going forward. It shows that you never can tell how many many women and their families have had–and will have–to deal with situations like this. If they elect Wendy Davis, they will have someone in the the Governor’s Mansion who, at least, can empathize with them.
Libby Shaw now posting at Daily Kos is both shocked and pleased that the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board spanked Greg Abbott hard for his disingenuous and exaggerated claims about voter fraud in Texas. Texas: “Voter Fraud? What Fraud?”
In a state with a rapidly growing population and the mounting set of challenges associated with that growth, Texas Leftist can’t even believe how much money Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and other TEA-publicans are leaving behind in their refusal to expand Medicaid. Trust me, you won’t believe it either.
Last week’s ruling from an Austin judge on the state’s public school finance system should bring Texans to red alert.
It’s but the latest in a long line of court rulings on this issue dating back at least 27 years and will surely be reviewed extensively by the state Supreme Court. But the findings from state District Judge John Dietz cross lines never crossed before.
For the first time in this long legal history, Dietz would direct the state to put more money into education.
The current system, adopted by the Legislature in 2006, has structural flaws, Dietz says, and lawmakers have failed to provide schools the funding they need to meet state-set goals.
Supreme Court rulings since the late 1980s have ordered the state to revise school finance plans, at first because the systems in place did not put property-poor school districts on substantially equal footing with property-wealthy districts.
In 2005, the court required changes because, as conditions evolved, the system effectively imposed an unconstitutional state property tax.
Dietz says the state’s system today fails on both of those constitutional requirements.
No one in their right mind believes that if Abbott, Patrick and the same old GOP is reelected that any of this will change. Changing who runs this state is the only way anything positive will change for public education in Texas any time soon.
The GOP is content to wait for a Supreme Court ruling and at least another legislative session to go by, without acting on this issue. If Davis and Van de Putte and Democrats like John Bucy and Chris Osborn are elected too, then we can get this fixed much sooner.
One local race that isn’t getting much attention, but may bear watching, is the race in Texas House District 136. It’s between Democratic challenger John Bucy and GOP incumbent Tony Dale. This is the friendliest house district for Democrats in Williamson County.
Bucy has been running and organizing for over a year and boasts an impressive number of doors knocked thus far – more than 41,000. That’s an impressive number considering that in 2012 around 60,000 people voted in district 136. In 2014, a mid-term election, turnout’s likely to be lower. And if Bucy can turn out a fair amount of those whose doors have been knocked on this could be a close race.
And it appears Dale may have figured that out too. This week it came to light that Dale’s been lying about Bucy. And from Bucy’s press release on the issue, it appears Dale continued to spread the lie even though he knew it was false.
The John Bucy Campaign is shocked and appalled that the current state representative is knowingly lying to his constituents to score political points, and the voters deserve better.
Two weeks ago, the Tony Dale campaign falsely accused John Bucy of having $160,000 in unpaid tax liens for over the past four years. But John Bucy has never had any tax liens placed against him, and he does not owe over $160,000 in back taxes, as falsely accused.
For the past two weeks, Tony Dale continued to push that lie; and for the past two weeks, John Bucy has chosen to take the high road and continue to focus on the issues that matter to the voters.
But John was deeply bothered to see Tony Dale take this lie to the next level today, and release these unfounded claims in a press release.
The Williamson County Democratic Party chair, on behalf of the Bucy Campaign, called on multiple occasions to speak with Tony Dale directly, in order to clear up these false accusations. Tony Dale never took the time to respond. Instead, he eventually had his hired consultant, Corbin Casteel, contact her. She informed him that this was the wrong John Bucy, and that John H. Bucy III, candidate for state representative, has never lived at the address attached to the lien.
Since the Dale campaign knew for over a week that this was not the same John Bucy, there is NO EXCUSE to use this information to mislead the voters, as he did in a press release today.
This is the dirtiest of dirty politics.
When a candidate knowingly spreads lie about another candidate that legitimizes the other candidate. If Dale didn’t see Bucy as a legitimate threat tot his reelection, he wouldn’t go forward with such an egregiously false attack. Maybe that’s just “SOP” for the Wilco GOP.
This is a three person race, there’s a Libertarian running as well. And considering the Libertarian candidate got 6% of the vote in 2012. This was a new district in 2012 so there’s no performance data from a mid-term election in this district. Bucy is definitely putting in the work needed to make it a race. And if their turnout operation is a good as their organizing has been so far, they may just be able to pull this off.
Does it matter what the poor think about policymaking? Depressingly in American politics, their opinion counts only once every four years—when it’s a presidential election year. That’s the only time policies adopted by the federal government bear any resemblance to those the poor say they prefer. Martin Gilens, a political scientist at Princeton University, came to this conclusion, described in his 2012 essay for Boston Review, looking at data on public opinion surveys from the 1960s to earlier 2000s. Interest groups and affluent Americans—whom Gilens defined as the top 10 percent of income earners—have disproportionate influence on the direction policymaking takes. Policies included on national household opinion surveys have a 1-in-5 chance of passing if they are favored by 20 percent of the rich. If they are favored by 80 percent, the policy passes just under half the time. An average voter’s preferences hardly matter. Even labor unions, civil rights organizations, and the like do little to boost the influence of poor and middle-income Americans.
Gilens and his collaborator Benjamin Page of Northwestern University have just published a study to further explain this relationship. In it, the authors examine four theories for who’s shaping policymaking in the United States—average voters; elite individuals; interest groups representing the wishes of different voter segments; and interest groups advocating for particular policies (e.g., pro-business groups). Most commentators have been startled by its conclusions (some of which were addressed in Gilen’s earlier work). It ends with pessimistic tones: “Our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts,” the authors write. And if “policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans,” as they found, “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.”
There’s really no other way to put this. If you’re in the “coverage gap” – someone who doesn’t have health care because Perry and the GOP declined to expand Medicaid in Texas – and don’t vote, then you’re choosing not to have health care coverage.
If Texas was included the headline below it would read “GOP Losses In 6 States Could Bring Coverage To 2.5 Million Uninsured“.
Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion has lately been making progress in unlikely places like Wyoming, where Republicans are being slowly swayed by business groups that it is a good financial deal for their state. But the quickest way to bring Medicaid expansion to the 23 states that have declined it so far would be a new state legislature or governor.
The former can be a little harder to anticipate. And according to some handicapping by Governing magazine’s Lou Jacobson, it doesn’t look like any legislatures are going to flip in a way that would have serious repercussions for Medicaid expansion, anyway, absent a change in the governor’s house. Gubernatorial races, on the other hand, get a lot of national attention and as the head of the executive branch, governors have an outsized influence on the fate of Medicaid expansion.
But the reality is that if the Democrats were to win statewide race(s) in Texas there would likely be legislative coattails as well. Which means they would likely win some seats they didn’t think they would. Still not enough to change control, but enough to change how the state is governed. And if all those who were without health insurance would vote it would happen.
The first step to fixing this is electing Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte.
GOP nominee Greg Abbott is, in many ways, running like he’s running for Rick Perry’s fourth term. But Greg Abbott is no Rick Perry. Perry, for as much as there is to dislike about him, had most, if not all, of the mainstream Texas media in his back pocket. He knew how to stroke them, and make them purr like kittens and do his bidding. Abbott seems to assume he’s built the same rapport, but he hasn’t, and it’s getting painfully obvious.
WFAA President and General Manager Mike Devlin said the station will no longer pursue the debate because of Abbott’s unwillingness to cooperate.
“We expect people running for the governorship to behave in an honorable fashion,” Devlin said. “At a certain point when you are dealing with somebody who doesn’t keep commitments, why would we keep going back?”
After backing out of the WFAA debate Friday, Abbott agreed to another Dallas debate on Sept. 30 hosted by KERA, NBC5/KXAS-TV, Telemundo 39 and The Dallas Morning News. However, Davis did not agree to that debate because she had already committed to the WFAA event, the Davis campaign said Tuesday. But in a statement issued later Tuesday, Petkanas said the campaign “will open discussions with KERA tomorrow regarding the possibility of a debate.”
Emphasis mine. Can’t really say it any better than that, though the full statement from Zac Petankas is worth highlighting as well:
“If Greg Abbott isn’t tough enough to handle a roundtable discussion in front of a statewide audience, it’s hard to see how he’s tough enough to be Governor of Texas,” said campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas. “However, the fact that Greg Abbott isn’t willing to keep his word shouldn’t deprive voters of the chance to see both candidates debate issues like his defense of $5.4 billion in public education cuts. In that spirit, we will open discussions with KERA tomorrow regarding the possibility of a debate.”
Perry was able to make his non-debating strategy about his opponent – Bill White’s tax returns – no matter how unjustified it was. In Abbott’s case he’s not fighting with his opponent, but with a media outlet. And it makes him look weak and petty, and it’s likely pissing off the media that Rick Perry manipulated so well.
When it comes to debate ducking, Greg Abbott is no Rick Perry.
“..our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” - Paul Weyrich, “father” of the right-wing movement and co-founder of the Heritage Foundation
If you were not paying attention to state news over the holiday weekend, (And who could blame you?), you may have missed the DMN story on Texas AG Greg Abbott’s years-long scheme to sabotage minority voter registration efforts. It’s the latest chapter in the Texas GOP’s goal to keep the voting populace low, Abbott’s Houston raid didn’t end with arrests, but shut down voter drive.
The most egregious part of this is that they never even prove anything illegal happened. It looks like just plain intimidation by the AG’s office.
The investigation was closed one year after the raid, with no charges filed. But for Houston Votes, the damage was done. Its funding dried up, and its efforts to register more low-income voters ended. Its records and office equipment never were returned. Instead, under a 2013 court order obtained by Abbott’s office, they were destroyed.
In the words of George W. Bush, “Mission accomplished”. The funniest part, in a sad way, way this.
The News on June 10 filed a public records request with the attorney general for the case file. Abbott’s office, which is in charge of enforcing the state’s open records law, asked itself for a ruling on whether those records must be released. In an Aug. 28 letter, the attorney general’s office ruled that it may withhold the records under state law.
Time after time, Abbott has demonstrated that the rules apply one way for him, and another way for the rest of us.
He championed tort reform, drastically limiting the amount someone can recover in a personal injury trial after he, himself, recovered a very large settlement in a personal injury trial. Remind yourself of the details here.
He drilled his own well to water his lawn while the city and county he lives in suffered from a drought that continues to this day. Soak up the full story here.
Greg Abbott wants to be governor so he can take care of Greg Abbott, as well as a few campaign contributors of his who want to continue running their predatory lending businesses without any oversight, building their dangerous chemical storage facilities next to nursing homes and residential neighborhoods without disclosing what, exactly, is being stored, and pillaging our natural resources without regard for the safety of our citizens or water supply.
Dangerous, arrogant, and a craven hypocrite. Ladies and gentlemen, what are you doing to make sure this man does not become governor?
This is what happens when one party rules. Again, nothing will change until they’re made to pay on election day. It’s blatantly obvious what they’re doing. They’re plan is to continue making sure they win the election before the ballots are ever cast.
With news like this it’s no wonder many of the GOP statewide candidates are not agreeing to debate their Democratic opponents.
Houston contends his opponent hasn’t made a public appearance in months, ever since Paxton admitted to repeatedly soliciting investment clients over the last decade – a service for which he pocketed up to a 30 percent in commission – without being properly registered with the state as an investment adviser representative.
The TXGOP had a really lousy week, and it only got worse for Greg Abbott as the Labor Day holiday weekend began. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs doesn’t wonder why the attorney general is running away from debating Wendy Davis, because he can’t say ‘no comment’ when asked about his many scandals in a debate.
While being tossed softballs by the local GOP in Saldo GOP Congressman John Carter (R-Round Rock) said this.
Pat Noonan mentioned the difficulty many younger, college-educated people face trying to find work and wondered, short of mass forgiveness of student loans, what the Republican Party can do to attract them to the party.
“I don’t think the government should forgive student loans,” Carter said. “They got themselves into it, they can get themselves out of it.”
He added that his four adult children all paid back their student loans. Carter segued into the need to attract 25- to 40-year-olds into the Republican Party and ways to get their attention.
“The Republican Party has to get youth back into politics,” he said. “I’m launching a campaign through alternative media to let the youth know who I am.”
That’s a great message for young people. You went and screwed up your life by getting an education now deal with it. And if the children of a millionaire congressman can payback their student loans so can you.