Big talk in Texas

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

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.

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