Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Woman Stellar In Texas, A Man Failing On CNN

In Texas, there is a new star.  On CNN, there is someone far less impressive.    Becca Aronson reports in the Texas Tribune

The nation watched on Tuesday — and into Wednesday — as Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis and hundreds of impassioned reproductive rights advocates stalled proceedings and ultimately defeated controversial abortion legislation in a storm of screams and shouts as the clock struck midnight.

“I am overwhelmed, honestly,” Davis said after standing for nearly 13 hours to filibuster Senate Bill 5, the abortion legislation. The outpouring of support from protesters at the Capitol and across the nation, she said, “shows the determination and spirit of Texas women and people who care about Texas women."

Some have called the abortion restrictions proposed in SB 5 the toughest in the nation. The bill would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, required physicians to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of an abortion facility, required abortions — even drug-induced ones — to be performed in ambulatory surgical centers and required doctors to administer drugs that induce abortion in person.

It wasn't bad enough that Governor Rick Perry had called a special session in part to run roughshod over Roe v. Wade by banning abortions midway through the second trimester. "Even after being defeated," Aronson writes, "Republican senators made a last-ditch effort to approve SB 5, voting 19-10, but by then the clock had ticked past midnight. Under the terms of the state Constitution, the special session had ended, and the bill could not be signed, enrolled or sent to the governor."

Later in the morning, CNN's morning show featured this exchange between their co-hosts:

KATE BOLDUAN (CO-HOST): This fight clearly not over yet…

(Chris) CUOMO: All that energy to avoid the vote. Why not spend the time trying to compromise and figure out the bill in the first place?

BOLDUAN: Well, and they can just bring bring it back up in another special session.

CUOMO: Odd politics at work
Oh, yeah, compromise- that would have worked.   Davis was not allowed to sit, eat, drink, use the bathroom, nor even lean on her desk.  Nor was she allowed to stray off the topic, as defined by the legislature's Repubs.    One individual commenting on a New York Times article maintains that legislators flagged Davis, in separate instances, for talking about Planned Parenthood funding in Texas and about medically unnecessary ultrasounds- which are required by the proposed law.  When a Democratic colleague helped Davis adjust a back brace necessitated by the 11-12 hours she stood, the Republicans had had enough, and ended the filibuster.

As the video below indicates, that resulted in the huge and impassioned pro-choice viewers in the gallery erupting in roars, which apparently took the proceedings past the midnight deadline.   The legislator passed the bill, but later acknowledged it was tardy.  Except that it probably wasn't, for Governor Perry has announced he is convening on Monday a second special session to pass the anti-choice bill, an effort expected to be successful.

So you have a state GOP the past two years feverishly slashing women's health care, a special session or two called to enact legislation clearly unconstitutional, a parliamentary procedure rigged against supporters of choice, and a well-paid news network personality saying Democrats ought to compromise.

That is, inadvertently and oddly, giving insufficient credit to the craftiness of Repub legislators.  While  most of their popular base sees no reason to compromise with those they consider abettors of mass murder, their donor base sees reproductive freedom as the threat it is to established power arrangements.  That makes what appears to some observers as extremism almost a win-win for the Repub legislators in Texas (and other conservative states).   The pro-choice contingent prevailed (though perhaps only temporarily), not by an appeal to the supremacy of the United States Constitution, but only when the crowd erupted, though Democrats will not admit their side committed the cardinal sin of "bullying" and Republicans will not admit they were weak enough to be bullied.

And in comes Chris Cuomo asking "why not spend the time trying to compromise?"  That makes him either a fool or a shill.  I vote the former, but your mileage will vary.

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