Now that the euphoria that followed Wendy Davis' Senate filibuster two nights ago has faded, Democrats are back to facing the likelihood that the Republicans' death grip on state government isn't going to loosen easily or soon. As the Texas Tribune's Jay Root explains, Republicans embarrassed themselves, but Governor Rick Perry remains very much in the driver's seat.
And he came out swinging today during the National Right to Life's annual convention in Dallas this morning. His speech delivered the type of boilerplate anti-abortion rhetoric everyone expected and reiterated his pledge to get a 20-week abortion ban through the Legislature in the coming special session.
Perry, like his Republican colleagues, dismissed the crowd in the Senate gallery Tuesday night who picked up the slack after Davis was forced to stop talking as an unruly mob who carried out a "hijacking of the democratic process." Then he turned his attention to Davis, opening with a prelude about how even children born into poverty can achieve great things.
"In fact, even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances," Perry said. "The daughter of a single mother, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate.
"It's 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."
In case that message wasn't clear, he underlined it in post-speech remarks to the Tribune's Root and other reporters:
"I know she is proud of where she has found herself in life and I'm proud that she has been able to take advantage of her intellect and her hard work, but she didn't come from particularly good circumstances," he said. "What if her mom had said, 'I just can't do this, I don't want to do this.' At that particular point in time I think it becomes very personal for us."
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Update at 1:01 p.m.: And here's the video from Think Progress:
And here's Davis' response, via The Dallas Morning News:
Rick Perry's statement is without dignity and tarnishes the high office he holds. They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view. Our governor should reflect our Texas values. Sadly, Gov. Perry fails that test.