Big talk in Texas
Everything is bigger in Texas, including talk. When Wendy Davis, an obscure state senator from Fort Worth, talked for 11 hours straight in the state Senate in June to promote abortion, she all but drafted herself to be the Democratic candidate for governor.
To the Huffington Post (or the Puffington Host, as columnist James Taranto calls it in The Wall Street Journal), this was “the filibuster heard around the world.” Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, the leader of the Democrats in the House, gushed that she was “inspired by courage and dedication [of Wendy Davis] in standing up for women.”
Actually, Texas is one of the remaining places where men stand up for women, doffing their hats when they do, but Mrs. Pelosi told USA Today that “we just wanted her to know that people were watching, that we’re encouraged by what she was doing, how brave she was, how strong she was, how much she cared ... to fight for what she believed in.”
When Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas held a 21-hour talkathon last month, the Huffington Post headlined the Republican’s effort: “Cruz hijacks Senate.” Mrs. Pelosi recognized nothing brave about the fight he believed in.
Miss Davis, a liberal, fared no better with her filibuster than Mr. Cruz did with his. The ban she opposes on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy nevertheless was easily adopted in July by a special session of the Legislature. Nonetheless, entirely on the strength of her filibuster in Austin, the Democratic nomination appears to be hers for the taking, though it might not be strongly contested because it won’t be worth a lot.
Whether Miss Davis can parlay her 15 minutes of fame into something bigger is not a bet on which to risk the family farm, or even that old pickup with bald tires in the weeds behind the barn.
She begins her campaign as a very long shot against the likely Republican nominee, state Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is said to have collected a campaign chest of $25 million. That’s big, even for Texas.
The last Democrat elected governor in Texas was Ann Richards in 1990, who won narrowly when her Republican opponent made a tasteless remark about rape. She lost a race for re-election four years later to George W. Bush. Since then Republicans have won every statewide race and have dominated the state Legislature since 2003. The Democrats may one day win Texas again, but the “filibuster legend” is not likely to be the Democrat to do it, if her general election opponent can stifle Republican jokes about rape.