A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Category: Abortion

Is Wendy Davis Screwing With Right-Wing Media?

by evanmcmurry

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down at the bottom of this profile on Wendy Davis, past where most stop reading, you’ll find this:

“I am pro-life,” she said, borrowing from the label anti-abortion activists assign themselves. “I care about the life of every child: every child that goes to bed hungry, every child that goes to bed without a proper education, every child that goes to bed without being able to be a part of the Texas dream, every woman and man who worry about their children’s future and their ability to provide for that future. I care about life and I have a record of fighting for people above all else.”

Wait for it…wait for it…here it is:


Davis clearly knew this was going to happen before she said the phrase. In fact, it most likely was her reason for intentionally slipping a click-bait statement into the middle of an exchange, knowing right-leaning news sites like the Examiner would scoop it up (wait until Breitbart, Red State, etc. get ahold of it), and now she’s out there screwing with definitions of “pro-life” without running a single ad or giving  Abbott ad-makers some malleable soundbite.

It’s an efficient way to complicate her image as a one-issue abortion filibusterer among centrist voters—as we learned yesterday, Texans are still learning who she is, and there’s a modest middle ground where she could gain—all while reaffirming her role as a crusader for women’s health rights. The right-wing blogs will have a field day, but they’ll be doing at least some of her work for her.

Big Bucket of Cold Water, Wendy Davis Edition

by evanmcmurry

A UT/Texas Tribune poll showing Wendy Davis only down by six points lit everybody’s fire yesterday, so here’s a bucket of cold water:

PPP’s newest poll of next year’s race for Governor of Texas finds Republican Greg Abbott expanding his lead over Democrat Wendy Davis. Abbott now has a 15 point advantage at 50/35. That’s up a good amount from our last poll, conducted the week of Davis’ famous filibuster, when Abbott led just 48/40. But it’s pretty comparable to what we found in January when he had a 46/34 lead.

Public Policy Polling—not exactly Rasmussen, mind you—goes on to show that as the public’s awareness of Davis went up, so did her unfavorability number. This makes sense: if you were inspired by the filibuster that launched Davis into the race, you already knew who she was, whereas much of the less attentive electorate, which leans right, still thinks of her as “that pink shoe lady,” if they think of her at all. Which is to say, don’t expect Davis’ numbers to improve much for the next few months.

Still, there’s this:

Voters narrowly oppose the abortion law that put her in the spotlight, 40/41, including 37/48 opposition among independent voters. Concern that she may have difficulty in the election because she’s seen as too liberal on that particular issue may not be warranted.

Democratic efforts to turn Texas blue that don’t rely on long-game demographic changes have some wiggle room there. If independents aren’t sold on the Texas GOP’s severity on non-economic issues, Democrats can drag the election a bit closer to center.

In the meantime, remember that Davis’ campaign was an uphill battle from the start, and barring some cataclysmic event she’s most likely not going to win. Don’t get your hopes up.

Now for your two minutes hate:


How Screencaps Killed SB5

by evanmcmurry

After Wendy Davis’s epic filibuster was stopped just minutes before the special session’s midnight deadline, the GOP-controlled Texas Senate attempted to hold a vote on anti-abortion bill SB5. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst was drowned out by protestors chanting from the rotunda to the point that nobody could hear what was being voted on, and amidst the scrum, almost everybody present said the Senate didn’t actually take the vote until 12:01.

But then Republican Dan Patrick emerged touting a victory for the bill, and someone got the Associated Press to believe him:

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 3.24.01 AM

Just one problem. Here a screencap of the official timestamp from TLO, Texas Legislature Online, the real-time record of the Senate:

The bill is shown as having passed on 6/26, or after the midnight deadline, making it illegal.

But a few minutes later, the record looked like this:

Now the record states the bill passed on 6/25, or before the midnight deadline, making it legal.

That might have flown had nobody noticed it. But within a few minutes, all of Twitter was retweeting the edited timestamps, most of which were taken by Texas Tribune reporters and other media-types thinking fast on their feet. By 2:00 a.m. the Senate had recaucused and killed the bill, admitting that there was no arguing with the timestamp (which was officially recorded at 12:03 a.m., or, as many joked, 11:63 p.m. on the GOP’s clock).

And that’s how, with the national media ignoring the story and the AP jumping the gun, a couple of screencaps stopped an abortion bill in its tracks and reversed an abuse of congressional power.

While You Were On SCOTUSBlog…

by evanmcmurry

…Virginia signed into law Voter ID, and North Dakota signed into law the most restrictive abortion measure yet. Not actually a very good day, all heartwarming profile pics aside.

Freedom is Slavery, Peggy Noonan Edition

by evanmcmurry

Ladies and gents (mostly ladies), Peggy Noonan would like to talk to you about choices:

There were Karl Rove and Peggy Noonan on “This Week” on Sunday, gleefully seizing on Ginsburg’s prior statements about Roe to make an argument against Supreme Court recognition of minority rights in general. “Americans don’t take it well and don’t accept it as a resolution when their black-robed masters in Washington decide to put on them what they decide is the right thing,” said Noonan. “One of the great sins of Roe versus Wade, the abortion decision of 40 years ago, was that it decided everyone has to do it one way, instead of leaving it to the states.

“Doing it one way” in the above paragraph was securing the right of women to choose. And that’s how you take a decision granting women self-determinacy over their own bodies and make it into federal tyranny. Well-played…?