Thank the Lord every once in a while the American political system churns out a Wendy Davis, the 48-year-old Senate freshman from Fort Worth who filibustered Rick Perry's legislative session to a soggy grave in the wee small hours of Monday night. The Perrypublican fury over Davis' act isn't merely delicious. It's a brilliant vindication.
How was this going to end otherwise? Perry, whose gubernatorial style draws equally from the Tea Party and Tammany Hall, has engineered the legislative session as a vicious assault on public education, Medicaid, the poor and minorities. In these strange times, he is going to use these credentials as a political Dracula in his fight for the Republican presidential nomination. Meanwhile the state he leaves behind will slide deeper down the slope toward becoming America's domestic Third World.
As things were going, the Democrats seemed to be more or less holding their peace, keeping their heads down and hoping to preserve their own re-election prospects, most of them from safe districts anyway. In the process, they were going to share the blame for what the Perrypublicans are about to wreak.
Why share? Let them wreak.
Davis comes from an unsafe district. She took it from State Sen. Kim Brimer in 2008 by 2.4 percent of the vote. But Davis obviously has a longer view than her own re-election. A single mom who started in community college and wound up at Harvard Law School, she told the Star-Telegram, "I proudly stood up for keeping public education adequately funded. I think we cannot be, should not be, silenced based on threats that it could be worse."
Her 79-minute speech Sunday killed the session because it stopped the Senate from passing a school finance bill before the clock ran out on the session. And how are the Republicans reacting? Oh, man, it's perfect. They are vowing to punish Davis hard, punish Democrats, punish the poor, punish ethnic minorities and punish public education.
Nothing could be better.
Please, please, Perrypublicans: Do show us your true colors. Let us see some more of your stuff. Toss some more grandmas out of their Medicaid nursing homes. Give us some time so that thousands more minority kids qualified to attend UT or A&M can find out that you have whacked off their scholarship money.
And most of all, do let us escape from this slimy myth you have propagated to the effect that gutting the budget for public education isn't really going to hurt public education much. No, no, we want you to take and to get full credit for what you are doing.
And meanwhile, thank goodness again for Wendy Davis, who helped get the Democrats off this very bad bandwagon. What the hell were they doing up there in the first place?
Maybe you have to get all the way from community college to Harvard Law School in order to understand how long the road is and how important it is to see around the corners. In the not too distant future, the political rewards handed out in this country will not go to Democrats who knuckled under.
There are a lot of overwrought comparisons going around between these times in our own country and the 1930s in Europe. It's not right and not fair to equate Perry and the Tea Party with what Germany, Italy and France became.
But think about it. What if, instead of shuffling aside and accommodating, the decent people of Europe had found a better way to expose and isolate the enemies of civilization? Maybe those enemies would never have gotten so damn close to success.
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