Nancy Brinker, Komen Foundation Fell Victim to the Great Texas Echo Chamber

Wait, wait. We haven't finished the conversation yet about whether Rick Perry has embarrassed Texas so badly we can never again show our faces outside the state. Are you telling me now we've got to have the same conversation already about Nancy Brinker?

What if people start connecting the dots?

Brinker totally cratered this morning and apologized for the haymaker she landed on the schnoz of Planned Parenthood just a few days ago. You know what that means, right? It means she didn't know there was going to be any problem with landing a haymaker on the schnoz of Planned Parenthood.

What dots am I talking about? I think that's pretty obvious, don't you? What are the last two big things anybody outside of Texas heard about Texas?

Oops. And oops.

If there's a pattern, it has to do with the Texas echo chamber. What happens in Texas needs to stay in Texas. Otherwise, duck and cover.

Perry drubbed Kay Bailey Hutchison in the 2010 Texas Republican gubernatorial primary by driving way hard right into Teabagger cuckoo-land, talking about how God was on his side, Texas should secede from America and so on. It worked like gangbusters in Texas. He came up more than 40 points from deep behind Hutchison to step ahead of her.

He thought that meant he could get elected president. But when he took his Great Dictator show out on the road, America told him to go back to Texas.

It wasn't just "oops" that did in Perry. It was Social Security as Ponzi scheme, we should send the army into Mexico, all that scary-crazy crap that the Texas far right wing loved that put the fear of God in America -- even in mainstream Republican America.

Nancy Brinker, impresario of the Great Komen Cancer Show, obviously suffers the same Texas echo chamber syndrome. And just for the sake of argument, let's not all belittle each other right off the bat in the abortion debate. Why not concede instead that people on all sides of the abortion issue bring deep heartfelt convictions to a terribly complicated issue?

The more immediate issue is this: How in the hell could anybody not know in advance that there would be huge instant blow-back to a move like Brinker's, cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood and making a deep curtsy to the frothing anti-abortion-mongers? Brinker's move was equivalent to having her picture snapped grinning with a whip in her hand next to the rock at the entrance to Rick Perry's family hunting camp with the very unfortunate name.

Hand grenade instructions: Step one, pull pin. Damn. What was that second step again?

It's the Texas echo chamber. You could only think a move like this would work on the national stage because you don't get out enough. And rich Dallas, where Brinker abides, may be the echo chamber within the echo chamber.

A January 12-17 CBS/New York Times poll found that 74 percent of Americans believe abortion should be available to women under certain circumstances. That's not a slam-dunk for the most ardent supporters of abortion. Americans have been moving for several years toward a more nuanced view, indicating serious reservations about abortion in some cases. But there is major and profound support for abortion out there, as there is for Planned Parenthood.

It was incredibly stupid for Brinker to think she could lay a big old whack on Planned Parenthood and not get bitten. But look, this may be painful for us as Texans, but for us as Americans it's all good.

Especially because we're here in Dallas, we may get the feeling on any given day that the world is ruled by people like Perry, Brinker, Harold Simmons, the lot of them -- our local Sultans of Swiftboating. We need to remind ourselves that these people are not even representative of our own town, which has been trending progressively Obamacrat for years.

The really good news is this: They take that junk out on the national stage, these people go up like spit on a griddle. Maybe our nation isn't totally crazy yet. Personally, next time I start getting all worried about some right-wing super PAC raising a kabillion dollars, I'm going to ask myself: "Yeah, but is it a super stupid PAC?"

In the meantime, and if you don't mind, I would like for us to hurry up a little on the conversation about how badly Brinker has embarrassed us. We probably need to be ready for the next one.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze