Long Read: “Can Wendy Davis Have It All?”

Most of you have no doubt read this already, but it’s interesting, not just for the information about Davis but for the CW biases. Robert Draper, in the NYTimes Magazine:

That Davis is from Texas raises the stakes for Democrats. America’s longstanding ambivalence about its most bravado-stricken state — I say this as a proud native — intensifies whenever Texans take their acts onto the national stage. Under the spotlight, they revert to type, or at least seem to, reinforcing all the crude images of dead-certain intransigence that breeds resentment both at home and abroad. In Democratic circles, two of the most despised figures in recent memory are George W. Bush and Rick Perry, who have occupied the governor’s office consecutively for the last two decades. (Another Texan, Senator Ted Cruz, today heads the liberals’ most-loathed list.) Were Davis to take the executive office, the triumph would signify a taming of an ornery conservative ethos that resides throughout America but is nurtured in Texas like nowhere else.

To this end, Davis makes for an intriguing warrior. Even her political enemies concede her toughness. After achieving a rare feat in Texas five years ago by unseating a state senator — “Usually these senators go out in a casket,” Rodney Ellis told me — she arrived in Austin as the G.O.P.’s Public Enemy No. 1. “They never gave her the benefit of the doubt,” said another Democratic state senator, Kirk Watson. “It was more, ‘Let’s kill her off.’ ” The state’s Republican Party has seemingly broken all the rules in its quest to undo her: first, in 2008 legally challenging her right to run for State Senate against the incumbent, Kim Brimer (saying Davis had not officially vacated her City Council seat by the filing deadline, an argument a court eventually rejected); in 2009 momentarily considering not seating her as a senator (because of the aforementioned lawsuit); in 2011 trying to gouge out her minority voting support by redrawing her district (prompting a federal court to intervene at her behest and mostly restore her original district map); in 2012 persuading her G.O.P. Senate colleagues to openly rally support for her opponent during her re-election campaign (a breach of unwritten Texas Senate etiquette); in 2013 removing her from the Senate Education Committee as a punishment for staging a minifilibuster in the previous session over a state budget that slashed funds for education (she continued to attend the committee’s meetings anyway); and then, of course, that same year turning Davis’s marathon filibuster into a gladiatorial contest from which she emerged an overnight sensation.

At the same time, celebrity does not altogether suit Davis. She lacks the salty oratorical verve of Ann Richards. She is unswervingly articulate and genial but maintains a lawyerly remove; her emotional thermostat remains more or less at room temperature. She is a policy enthusiast, sometimes to a fault. Her opening attack on Greg Abbott, who is the state attorney general and is expected to win the Republican primary for governor on March 4, focused on his refusal to call for further regulation of the high-interest payday-lending industry — a pet issue for Davis, but one that most people know or care little about. One day, she said to me scornfully of Abbott: “He’s not a player in Texas policy! He’s got no experience in educational issues. He’s got policy-wonk people telling him what he’s going to say. My policy comes from me, from my experience and my passion. And I force my team to develop a policy around my initiatives, my desires of where we should go.”

Despite Granholm’s Joan of Arc allusion, Davis is anything but a martyr. During our initial meeting last May, five weeks before her filibuster, Davis pointedly observed that “somebody’s got to step up” and run against Abbott. At the time, she wasn’t volunteering: She had no desire to be, as she would later put it, the Democratic Party’s “sacrificial lamb.” Only after the filibuster, when polling data showed that her name recognition had shot up in Texas by 40 points, that women admired her and that her identification with the issue of abortion was not damaging, did she decide to do the stepping up herself. And when she did, in October, her rollout ad was striking in its discreetness. In it, the words “Democrat” and “abortion” went unsaid. Instead, the ad was replete with sunsets and longhorn steers and working-class heroes — “It looks like ‘Friday Night Lights’ B-roll,” one Democrat told me approvingly — and with Davis conflating the Texas spirit with her own. As one of the ad makers, Peter Cari, told me: “Why cede that to the Republicans? Why give them all those powerful images? She is a Texas fighter.”

But Davis has been convinced by her advisers that the road to victory does not begin with a fight — not, at least, for a female Democrat in Texas. One day last month on the campaign trail, I asked Davis if it was true, as I had been hearing, that she wanted to be more aggressive than J. D. Angle, her top adviser, and some others did. “Yes!” she responded immediately, with a wide smile.

But then her grin subsided, and she added: “I think you have to be careful. You have to know exactly what is going to resonate with voters. And you can’t get ahead of that. You have to be very careful with your approach.”…

Oh, payday lending and educational policy — what serious politician would waste his time on such trivial issues? (Yes, I can hear Kay screaming from here. Not to mention Senator Warren giving the author a very stern look! )

73 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    Educational policies in Texas consist of, “How fast can we kill it?” and “If we can’t kill it, how far can we pollute it?”

  2. 2
    Tommy says:

    The payday lending is an interesting issue. I’ve never used one but my gosh they seem to be on like every street corner so somebody is using them. Same with check cashing. When I live in a lower income area in DC they were everywhere and lines out the door each payday. I stepped in one cause I was curious and their rates seemed almost criminal. Prying on a part of society that just didn’t seem right. Maybe it would be something that might get those folks to the polls and somebody he speaking up for them.

  3. 3
    Corner Stone says:

    I like Wendy Davis, but as I commented in Kay’s recent post, WD has, to my knowledge, the trickiest path to election of any significant candidate in the nation.
    Much more difficult than Landrieu or Pryor keeping their seats, or Nunn winning in GA. And probably more difficult than even Grimes in KY.

  4. 4
    Amir Khalid says:

    Wendy Davis certainly sounds like she’d be an improvement on Governor W and Governor Dunderhead. And if she wins, a good record in office would do wonders for her viability as a future presidential candidate.

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    @Amir Khalid: The Gov office in TX is incredibly weak. So her effect on legislative policy would be almost imperceptible.
    But her winning that office would be like a watershed event. Definitely a throwing down the bones type outcome.

  6. 6
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Cruz is not a Texan. The Bush’s weren’t either, although GWB sure liked to ham it up. Something about Cruz’ face screams “wealthy French technocrat” to me. His hair, for one thing, does not belong on this continent.

    Calling him Canadian is juvenile fun but let’s be real, he’s arrogant Cuban elite, keeping the flame alive. Fuck him and all his ilk.

  7. 7
    Tokyokie says:

    Wendy Davis is my state senator, and yesterday I early-voted for her to be my governor.

  8. 8
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Corner Stone: Is it not a gambit to increase voter participation by Texas democratic voters, currently extremely poor? And perhaps to flip some more lege and local seats?

  9. 9
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Tommy: Legalized loan sharks.

  10. 10
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Corner Stone:
    So Bush and Perry were elected on the idea that they couldn’t do much harm in the office?

  11. 11
    Tommy says:

    @Corner Stone: I hope some folks throw some money her way. A few weeks ago MHP had the former head of the NAACP and a congresswomen from Georgia on. They noted that there were 800,000 people able to vote, but not registered. And they only lost the governors race by 275,000 votes. They ranted on getting those folks registered but they need money to do it.

    I hate to ponder what those number might be in TX. We have to get them signed up and stop any state that tries to make voting HARDER and NOT EASIER!

  12. 12
    JoyfulA says:

    @Corner Stone: Doesn’t she have a lieutenant governor candidate who was on her team at the filibuster?

  13. 13
    Corner Stone says:

    @JoyfulA: If you mean Van De Putte, then she has zero chance at winning LtG v Dewhurst.
    Even if Wendy won, I’m not sure the coat tails would carry VDP.

  14. 14
    JoyfulA says:

    @Tommy: We had payday lenders in PA, and then they were legislated out of existence. Gov. Corbett tried to bring them back—business development!—but couldn’t get even his GOP House and GOP Senate to do so.

    What I look forward to is the restoration of banking activity that the US Post Office is legally entitled to do, and used to do, as recommended by its inspector general and now cheered on by Sen. Warren. It would provide banking services for everyone (regular banks no longer want small savings or checking accounts, especially not small accounts with lots of activity, and no longer make small loans) and undercut the payday lenders.

  15. 15
    Corner Stone says:

    @Amir Khalid: Ha. I don’t think even most Texans realize the limits on authority the Gov actually has. He gets to nominate people for Texas Railroad Commissions, and other important type slots. And get people killed via execution. But other than that he just runs his mouth. Perry didn’t do a damned thing to promote job growth in TX, and even the low wage jobs we did create have zero to do with anything he has pushed for.
    The Lt. Gov spot has the significant power in TX.

  16. 16
    Violet says:

    @Corner Stone: I don’t think Greg Abbott is all that well known in Texas. He’s just-another-white-guy running for office. He doesn’t really have a presence. I’m curious if him being in a wheelchair will be a positive, negative or non-issue for voters in Texas.

  17. 17
    Violet says:

    @Corner Stone: But, but…Perry went to California and talked up how great Texas is for jobs! He’s no do-nothing Governor!

  18. 18
    JoyfulA says:

    @Corner Stone: So Texas doesn’t have a joint Governor-Lt. Gov. ticket, like the US and PA?

    To me that’s asking for trouble, like my husband taking out a really big life insurance policy on me. But maybe I read too much crime fiction.

  19. 19
    Tommy says:

    @JoyfulA: I am all in with you on that. I don’t use the Post Office much, but I drive by it all the time and clearly a lot of people do. It might even be argued it is a hub of activity in the town. When I do go in I am stunned how many folks are using it to send stuff that looks like a business (eBay or something). Heck I had to send a fax of all things a few months ago and was frankly surprised I couldn’t do it at the Post Office.

  20. 20
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @JoyfulA: Hear, hear!

  21. 21
    Violet says:

    @Tommy: The post office has great service. I use it for everything. The only thing I couldn’t use it for was to ship some produce. They won’t accept it and I had to use UPS.

  22. 22
    Tommy says:

    @Violet: I don’t use it that much but the service is amazing. Heck my dad still mails me letters from time to time. They make it 250 miles often in a single day. I mean he mails it on Tuesday and I get it Wednesday. I never get folks that bitch about the Postal Service. Seems to work really well.

  23. 23
    JPL says:

    @Tokyokie: Real early voting… I assume you voted in a primary.

  24. 24
    Corner Stone says:

    @Violet: I agree on not well known. The wheelchair issue is a non-issue. Most people voting for him probably don’t even know he’s in a wheelchair.
    I think he’s vulnerable, but Davis has to work it.

  25. 25
    Tokyokie says:

    Distrust of big banks is so high in Japan that its postal savings system has nearly $2 trillion in it (which is largely used to fund pork-barrel projects).

  26. 26
    Corner Stone says:

    @JoyfulA: No, they are elected separately.
    Bob Bullock – D, was a very powerful LtG who held the office during Ann Richards and for four years of GWB’s Gov.

  27. 27
    Tokyokie says:

    @JPL: Yes, the primary is March 4, but I went ahead and got it out of the way (and willingly accepted a small bag of M&Ms from a supporter of a candidate I then promptly voted against).

  28. 28
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Something about Cruz’s face screams Fred Flinstone to me.

  29. 29
    Corner Stone says:

    @Violet: In addition to a lot of service jobs, Texas actually has had a renaissance in a few higher wage/salary industries. There are a few markets where jobs are super tight, and candidates are being heavily recruited.
    But Perry has nothing to do with that, and had nothing to do with the foundations of that.
    But I wish he’d stop lobbying for California companies to come here.

  30. 30
    WereBear says:

    @IowaOldLady: LOL! I know, it just doesn’t look real. Like someone dropped an Identi-Kit on the floor.

  31. 31
    Violet says:

    @Corner Stone: I agree most people don’t know he’s in a wheelchair and he’s got no issues in the primary anyway. But for the general he’s going to have a somewhat superstar opponent in Wendy Davis. She’s got nationally known Democrats fundraising for her (Elizabeth Warren, for instance) and her filibuster earned her a high profile. She’ll be working hard, traveling the state, meeting people. Abbott can’t exactly hide from her or fly under the radar like he’s done in previous elections.

    Abbott is going to have to do get out there and stump too, but he’ll be in a wheelchair. That makes structuring his appearances more of an issue. He obviously won’t bound up onto a stage–he’ll have to already be there or wheel himself up there. That puts his wheelchair front and center. Those people who didn’t know he was in a wheelchair will find out.

    It may be a non-issue. Maybe people won’t care. I can imagine there are some people who will look at him in a wheelchair and think he’s not “strong enough”, though. That’s a terrible thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a possibility.

  32. 32
    Tommy says:

    @Corner Stone: I am not an expert on Texas, but it is my experience when you have good universities businesses come to you. I mean what higher wage industry doesn’t want an educated workforce.

  33. 33
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I hope some folks throw some money her way. A few weeks ago MHP had the former head of the NAACP and a congresswomen from Georgia on. They noted that there were 800,000 people able to vote, but not registered. And they only lost the governors race by 275,000 votes. They ranted on getting those folks registered but they need money to do it.

    Must’ve been from some other state. Georgia hasn’t had a woman in Congress since 2007.

  34. 34
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: The Georgia House. Not the one in DC :).

  35. 35
    Lolis says:

    I live in Texas. It seems like Wendy Davis is making unforced errors. She made recent comments that were very muddled about abortion and sounded like she supported banning abortions after 20 weeks in most situations. She needs young, idealistic women to win the race and I think she may end up pushing them away. She will also need a lot of money from women’s groups. I am pessimistic about her chances.

  36. 36
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    His face is etched into a permasneer.

    I’m a gentle soul, really, but every time I see a picture of Ted Cruz I want to slam my clenched fist into his upraised nose.

  37. 37
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tommy: oh, okay. Thanks.

  38. 38
    Corner Stone says:

    @Violet: I personally don’t think it’s going to be a decisive factor. The people who were going to vote R are still going to vote R. I don’t believe they’ll stay home because he’s not walking the rope line at rally events.
    I agree on WD’s profile, and feel for her path to victory it’s going to take getting people excited about her chance to win.
    To do that, she’s going to have to play some very tricky ball, indeed. Because if she incites the wrong kind of note she could lose a chunk of conservative D males. That’s wrong, but just the way it is.
    So she’ll have to keep women at a near fever pitch to turn out for her, while also staying on an even keel on issues we’d rather she went balls out on. Texas just isn’t there yet. Maybe 2024 a real hardcore liberal can make it through, DeBlasio style rhetoric, but not too much before then.
    I personally don’t think she’s a liberal, and am ready to shrug off a lot of stated positions because I want her to win and I want her to stick it right in the fucking faces of all these asshole anti-women pigfucking wingnuts.

  39. 39
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I tried to find the link cause it was an amazing segment. I don’t want to throw out misinformation but the former head of the NAACP is doing a lot of work with voter registration. Again I don’t recall the exact amount they had spent and how many they had registered to vote in 2012 but I recall my jaw hitting the floor and thinking I had misheard it. It was a sum of money that seemed like nothing.

  40. 40
    Corner Stone says:

    I did a lot of work for Bill White’s campaign. It was all volunteer, but it was more than nine months of a lot of fucking work. One of the people who first hired me had a relative in his campaign and I worked through that contact. I also had done a lot of work for Nick Lampson but there wasn’t much crossover, unsurprisingly.
    Anyway, the people I worked with for Bill White have been super reluctant to get involved for WD, even unofficially.
    So, lots of work left to do on those fronts.

  41. 41
    Corner Stone says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’m a peaceful man, but his face is absolutely #1 on the List of MostPunchableFaces. By far. It’s like who comes in second in spending on their military behind the US.

  42. 42
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: It is that smirk he has. Well he always has. Like he thinks we’re all idiots. He shouldn’t have to explain himself. Or that he is so dare sure of himself why even question him.

  43. 43
    kindness says:

    I wish I had more faith that enough people would actually get out and vote so Davis could win. The population advantage is there but the drive to go vote isn’t with our side. Too many people who would directly benefit from a Democratic run government refuse to help that happen. You’d think that enlightened self interest would be enough but no, it isn’t.

  44. 44
    Corner Stone says:

    @kindness: There’s a lot of apathy, but also some engendered fear on the part of some who might benefit.
    The R’s have been going full strength to repress voters. Justice Roberts needs a lesson on injustice.

  45. 45
    Tommy says:

    @kindness: I hate to admit I tend to agree with you. I wish this wasn’t the case but I see it as reality. There are more than 3,000 people able to vote in my town. Often less then 250 do. My mom works a polling station across the state and often only a couple dozen vote. It is sad.

    Update: I should not I live in a place where it is very simple to vote. Really no restrictions. I like to joke I can almost vote faster then I can order a Big Mac through the drive thru.

  46. 46
    JoyfulA says:

    @Corner Stone: Thanks for the info. I think that situation is unusual. Can the two run as a team in the general?

  47. 47
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Tommy: The animus against the Postal Service originates in the fact that they practice non discrimination in hiring according to creed, and more salient today, color.

    This is why they hate the USPS and their union.

    The GOP is in the middle of a massive bust-out of the USPS, pulling billions out for bogus reasons to destroy the USPS’ unions and the workers’ pay, benefits, and pensions.

    If it fucks small business owners in the process, whatever. The GOP only pretends to give a shit about small business.

  48. 48
    Tommy says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Yeah I know. I’ve tried to follow it closely and what is being done is beyond words. I know I am preaching to the choir here but the Republicans want to destroy any part of the government that works. And I’d argue the Postal services works very, very well.

  49. 49
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Corner Stone: I feel like, so what if she is no purity pony, if voter participation increases in Texas and actually brings about some damn democracy that will be a big win. The plutocrats have run the table in Texas (no matter the party brand that year) for too long.

  50. 50
    KG says:

    @Tommy: the scariest part of the payday lenders is that in some states, like here in California, they operate under a license that allows them to be mortgage brokers and/or lenders. It’s called a Finance Lenders License and it’s incredibly easy to get, little to no licensing test, small bond… Guess what license a lot of those fly by night mortgage brokers worked under during the real estate bubble?

  51. 51
    Corner Stone says:

    @JoyfulA: I’m not sure there is any law against that strategy, but if I’m Wendy Davis I don’t want VDP anywhere near me.
    Dewhurst is going to crush VDP. He has all the money guys and after Ted Cruz beat him silly for US Senate Dewhurst has gone off the rails to the right side of politics. He was always a nutty R pol, but not wingnutty enough. He’s been doing his damndest to convince everyone he is, in fact, that damned wingnutty.
    VDP would be a drag on WD. So not sure how much coordination those two camps will be conducting.

  52. 52
    JoyfulA says:

    @Tommy: Someone somewhere, and I think it was Kay, here, supports post offices for voter registration and voting. It’s a real natural for voter registration—they know better than anyone else who moved and can delete that person from the voter rolls in X days.

    Post offices have also been suggested as Internet providers.

    There are a lot of small businesses doing business via the post offices. When I was selling a lot of books, I was in the post office almost daily, I learned that my across-the-street neighbor was making a very nice living selling videos of college football games. I also met several strangers (I am socially aggressive in person, forever striking up conversations with people I don’t know, to my husband’s embarrassment) self-employed as Internet sellers. Dolls’ clothing? Antique patterns? Who knew there was a living-wage income to be made this way?

  53. 53
    Peter says:

    Wendy David has a hard road ahead of her and I’d honestly be a bit surprised if she won. But I think her candidacy is exciting all the same. Texas is a sleeping giant; by all rights demographics should have pushed Texas into at least purple range, but low participation among blue-leaning constituencies has kept it firmly red.

    Even if she loses, if she manages to make it a competitive race, maybe she can prod that sleeping giant in the eye a few times.

  54. 54
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Corner Stone: Rick Scott showed up under heavy security in Gainesville to take credit for a MIC robotics (drones) business that started up here, much more to do with Bernie Machen and UF’s connections than anything else, certainly no thanks to Scott at all. Actually, job growth has sucked and unemployment is only low because a) when real estate collapsed thousands of working age people and their children fled the state very quickly (all but one school district had “missing” children when fall started that year) and b) they never took the extended unemployment, in fact, they cut it as soon as the crisis began, thus they don’t count people dropped off their short term of unemployment coverage, meaning there are less “unemployed”. Actually, they are still unemployed, relying on family or living in the streets or whatever.

    Though, it is no Wisconsin situation. In my industry there has definitely been tightening and wages have come up slightly. The powers that be are angry, they thought that wage rates would tumble and they did not. Our state had raised min wage above federal, critically, of tipped workers. This makes the plutocrats and shills for franchise restaurants very angry. This was not done by legislature but by ballot measure, popular vote. It was a hail mary move by the Florida AFL-CIO that paid off. But Scott will take credit for the results, just as JEB! took credit for low air pollution which is the result of strong winds off the Gulf blowing our smog to sea. What rot.

  55. 55
    Tommy says:

    @JoyfulA: My mom buys some strange things on eBay. Things I’d never think there would be a market for.She communicates with some of them and they almost always seem to be in small towns. The Post Office IS their method of doing business.

  56. 56
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @JoyfulA: Well, not all of them actually make money, like with any cottage industry. But the internet means you can direct sell much more easily than in the catalog/newsletter days. And no storefront overhead. Means you can make money selling niche items without being in a massive metro area, too. It’s good for consumers because selection and prices came way down when eBay showed up. (eBay and PayPal themselves are complete scumbags, but that’s beside the point.) I know one guy who flips sports cards online and another who sells pretty pocket knives. And I have a couple of friends and friends of friends who make pottery, soap, cosmetics, yarn, or who dye yarn, with various amounts of financial success.

  57. 57
    Corner Stone says:

    Texas will be “purple-ish” in 2020 and purple-to-blue in 2024.
    Unless Republicans actually cut their dicks off on the immigration issue (something they very carefully have not done at the leadership level), then voter repression laws and voter fear/apathy will not bring the demographics forward any faster than that.
    For the eleventy-ith time, hispanic voters are not going to all vote D by default. We’ll need a combo of bad policy/intransigence by the R’s and good policy/engagement by the D’s to make that number really shine at the voter booth.

  58. 58
    gene108 says:


    You’d think that enlightened self interest would be enough but no, it isn’t.

    A liberal mistake is to think about self-interest as purely economic. For some other issues are more important than having an economically stable existence.

    What scared the pants off Republicans / Right-wingers about President Clinton is he checked off the “tribalism” tag, with regards to Southerners and could’ve have rolled back Republican gains in the South, if he had been allowed to function as President’s before him had been allowed to function, rather than beset by scandals.

    When elections revolve around economic issues Democrats can do really well, like in 2008 and 1992. When the economy isn’t the front and center issue Democrats have trouble cracking the barrier of “other things that matter to me” amongst voters.

  59. 59
    woodyNYC says:


    You’d think that enlightened self interest would be enough but no, it isn’t.

    America: long on self-interest, short on enlightenment.

  60. 60
    karen marie says:

    @IowaOldLady: No, he’s got “punch me” written all over his face. I’m surprised his nose isn’t broke in three places.

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @karen marie: His face actually cries out. “Punch me in the junk.”

  62. 62
    ralphb says:

    @Corner Stone: Well aren’t you just a font of conventional wisdom? Thank goodness Davis and the folks in Battleground Texas aren’t listening.

  63. 63
    Corner Stone says:

    @ralphb: Go fuck yourself.

  64. 64
    Cervantes says:


    I mean what higher wage industry doesn’t want an educated workforce.

    Fox News. Right-wing “journalism” in general.

  65. 65
    Kay says:

    I think public school funding is a great issue for Democrats in conservative states.

    This is how underfunding public schools polls in Kansas, w/Brownback.

    PublicPolicyPolling ‏@ppppolls Feb 21
    By a 59/31 margin KS voters think public schools are under funded, and they want state Supreme Court to step in: http://www.publicpolicypolling.....ction.html … …

    Part of Brownback’s problem could be that Kansans, according to the poll, disagree with him on two of the biggest issues in the state, taxes and school finance.

    Also, Texas has active (and effective) public education advocacy groups. They got the state to reduce standardized testing, despite the fact that there’s a huge money in testing and lobbyists fought like hell to keep piling on more and more tests:

    The state that inaugurated the expansion of standardized testing in America’s schools 30 years ago and provided the model for the No Child Left Behind Act has now said enough is enough.
    Late Sunday night, the Texas Legislature passed a bill that cuts the number of standardized tests for the state’s 1.4 million high schoolers from 15 – the nation’s highest total — to five. Gov. Rick Perry is expected to sign the bill within days.
    Opponents argue that preparing for the exams consumes an increasing portion of the school year and that they don’t develop students’ critical thinking abilities.

    Obviously, this isn’t going to win the state for her and it won’t trump bellowing about guns and abortion, but public education is pretty important to people and it seems to be important to people in Texas. They fought for a year to roll back the ridiculous over-use of standardized tests, and they won.

  66. 66
    Kay says:

    It was really a full-bore revolt, because they gutted ed funding but kept pouring money into tests. They were calling them “Mothers Against Drunk Testing”:

    Even before the tests and budget cuts went into effect, it was clear that a backlash was brewing. For rural communities, in particular, the public school is often the heart of the town, providing employment for many and a reason for families not to move away, so concerns about too much testing seemed to take on greater urgency. While most of the national anti-testing rhetoric comes from teachers’ groups and others associated with the left, in Texas rural Republicans took the lead. During the 2011 session, even as lawmakers were gutting education spending, one-third of the state House members, mostly Republicans, supported an amendment from Representative Larry Phillips of the small town of Sherman to get a waiver from the Department of Education and suspend testing for the next two school years. An East Texas GOP member filed a bill to create a total moratorium on standardized testing. Neither effort was successful, but both bills revealed the extent to which lawmakers were beginning to feel pressure from constituents.

  67. 67
    Groucho48 says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Smug Hannity comes pretty close, I’d say.

  68. 68
    Fred says:

    If only Davis were a dim bulb who needed lackeys to tell her what to think/say and where she left the notes they wrote for her, you know like W and Rick, well then she would stand a chance. But nobody likes smart wimens.

  69. 69
    Ian says:

    I’m not a Texan or that familiar with Texas politics so I can’t speak for certain, however many Democratic voices criticized Bush Jr.’s time in office as Texas gov along similar lines, that the LtG did most of the work.

    Could one of you Texas folk enlighten the rest of us?

  70. 70
    bjacques says:

    Governor Shrub is mostly known for making fun of the condemned Karla Faye Tucker and promoting wind energy.

  71. 71
    C.V. Danes says:

    Texan’s think with their guts. If she wants to win, that’s where she needs to hit.

  72. 72
    LAC says:

    @ralphb: bravo! Those of us who would like our balloon juice light on the cornerstone salute you.

  73. 73
    EmmATX says:

    @LAC: Corner Stone may be obnoxious sometimes, but his comments on this subject are well-informed and spot on. I’m pulling hard for Davis, and have already donated several times to her campaign and to Battleground Texas, but her chances of winning this time are really not great.

    But if she runs a serious campaign it will lay the groundwork for next time, and possibly help turnout for downticket races, and that is really valuable. Not to mention giving Texas Dem morale a boost just by running as a candidate people can actually get excited about (sorry, Bill White and Chris Bell).

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