My New Hero, Fort Worth's Wendy Davis, Who Sure as Hell Ain't Scared Of Rick Perry

Categories: Get Off My Lawn
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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.


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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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100 comments
vanchase1992
vanchase1992

Wendy Davis Is A "POS!" She is a big phony full of LIES!

Cerebral1
Cerebral1

LOVE Wendy Davis - she should be Lt. Governor instead of do nothing Dewhurst !!!

J.I. Burg
J.I. Burg

This article is so LOL I can't even comment everything that's wrong with it. Lies and hysteria! 

Melissa
Melissa

Good for her!  Someone has to stand up for the people who live in this state.  God knows Republicans don't give a rat's ass about anything except their campaign contibutors and their lobbying jobs on the horizon.

Sam Houston
Sam Houston

Perry has become the poster child for term limits in Texas. 

During his re-election bid he said absolutely nothing about gutting education because it would have cost him votes. 

Only when he was safely back in charge of a lap-dog GOP-dominated legislature, did he make his intentions known.

There's a word for that: Coward.

Catbird
Catbird

Pretty soon we won't have Perry to kick around anymore...he'll be in Washington - either president or vice president....betcha that's what this thing is all about.

Sam Houston
Sam Houston

Yes, the jobs of Texas Teacher and the class sizes of their students are being sacrificed on the altar of Perry's political ambitions.

That after he swore to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution ... of this State, so help me God."

THE TEXAS CONSTITUTIONARTICLE 7. EDUCATIONSec. 1.  SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE OF SYSTEM OF PUBLIC FREE SCHOOLS. A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.There's a word for that: Traitor.

RtGolden
RtGolden

Traitor is not the word you're looking for.  Grifter, maybe.  Crook, possibly.  Read the Article and Section again.  ...duty of the Legislature of the State....support and maintenance of an efficient system.  Key words here.  Legislature and EFFICIENT.  Our public schools are not efficient.  They are bloated with needless staff and chock full of the needless cathedrals to TX's true religion, Friday Night Football.  DISD is a prime example of it.  It got this way, not in the few years of Perry's term, but in years and years and years of the texas lege mismanaging the education system, local districts run by elitist fiat, and a continuing decline in parents taking an active role in their children's education.Certainly, Perry is not innocent in all this.  He's up to his neck in it.  But the voters are complicit as well.  Anyone who believes in any government body having a 'surplus' of money is beyond the help of any educational reforms.  THERE IS NO MECHANISM IN OUR GOVT, AT ANY LEVEL, FOR SAVING MONEY.  If our government has money, it is currently, or already has been, spent.  I hate to destroy everyone's 'Whiffle-ball' view of life, but there is no Rainy Day Fund, no Social Security Trust Fund, no Medicare Trust Fund, or any of the other stupid names our pols peddle this crap to us with.Here's my suggestion, and I challenge anyone who is serious about education to find fault with it: Keep the teachers, keep the educational facilities.  Cease any and all funding for Public School Athletics. Fire the coaches, asst coaches, coaching staff, trainers, groundskeepers etc, and close all the stadiums, tracks, 'inclement weather' training facilities.  If parents want their kids to have high school sports, let the counties or districts put a bond issue up to fund those activities.

Citizen Kim
Citizen Kim

America's got some issues ... but not quite that bad.  Perry has no better chance of being elected to any national office than does David Duke.

Uncle_Scrappy
Uncle_Scrappy

I am very happy with Davis. Now Gov Perry can get more issues passed with just a simple majority instead of the 2/3 or 3/.4 vote that is sometimes required in the regular session. So look out demorats, the steam roller is starting up.

Citizen Kim
Citizen Kim

True, but at least everybody will see who is responsible - personnally.  Rather than getting swept under the carpet of "the legislature," voters will know exactly what they are getting from their incumbent.

Then you and the other three people that support them can vote for them, and everybody else can vote for change.

Catbird
Catbird

But only if Davis and the Democrats don't run away to New Mexico again and break the quorum.

Uncle_Scrappy
Uncle_Scrappy

Yeah, typical demorat behavior. Run away when there is work to be done. Kinda like a spoiled child they are. Dont get there way, they will run away & sulk.

Carol
Carol

Funding education is an obligation, not an option.

Catbird
Catbird

Carol:

In 2010, America (including Texas) received average international scores of around 500 on a scale that goes up to 1,000: 487 in math, 500 in reading and 502 in science while ranking 17th in the money spent to "educate" the average student.

In the stellar mix was the State of Texas which ranked 45th out of 50 - doing more than its part to push the US under water in this international ranking.

Do you really believe that money is the problem here?

Personally, I believe the political system that places "educators" in the classroom who have no personal competence in the subject matter they teach is the root cause of the train wreck we call "education" in this country.

2+2 does not equal 22.    

Anonymous
Anonymous

I hate to say this, but it's a rich/poor issue. Money is not the problem. We also spend more than just about everyone on healthcare but we have worse outcomes, on balance, than most advanced countries. People who have money talk about having great doctors and great schools - but the price of admission is being in the economic minority that makes most of the money. Sure, wealthy foreigners come to the US for highly specialized surgeries that their home counties can't justify offering the entire population, and they send their kids to our incredibly overpriced colleges. But the middle class can hardly afford basic preventative care or tuition at a public college.We can try throw money at these problems but it won't erase the reality that until there is less disparity between rich and poor in terms of access, the problems aren't going anywhere.

Sam Houston
Sam Houston

Texas is dead last among the 50 US states in per-student funding of education.

Yes, money IS the problem here.

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

Let's face it, Rick Perry and his buddies are laughing all the way to the bank.  They couldn't care less about education,  the elderly, the young and the ill.nfirmed.  As long as a buddy of Rick's is making a buck, screw the rest of us!

Joyce Foreman
Joyce Foreman

Thank you Senator Wendy Davis for having the guts to fight for public education. 

Guest
Guest

Looking at some of the numbers, it's amazing how poorly executed the tax cut and resultant revenue shortfall has been handled.

Look at one suburban Dallas school district, which is considered one of the wealthier districts in the state:

In 2005-06, this district took in over $433 million in property taxes (the rate was set at 1.7334%). Because they're a "wealthy" district, they paid over $136 million of that to the state in "Robin Hood" payments. The state then chipped back $37.5 million to the district in funding from state taxes.

Even though the state chips in $37.5 million (or roughly 11% of the district's budget), the state effectively comes out ahead by not having to make up the nearly $100 million difference that the district pays in "Robin Hood" funds.

Come 2006, the big tax cut is pushed through the Legislature. In this district, this results in plummeting property tax receipts. As of 2009-10, this district collects $315 million in property taxes within the district (at a 1.3284% rate). Because of the way the the education funding formula was changed in 2006, this district saw the amount of funds paid in "Robin Hood" money drop to just under $32 million. And because of the change in the way all school districts are funded, the state, in 2009-10, now pays about $70.5 million to the district in state funds, which ends up being about 21.5% of the district's budget.

So, now, the state is a loser. They've lowered taxes in this district by nearly 25% (both the rate and the amount collected dropped by roughly the same amount, so it appears property values held pretty steady in this district over this time), while increasing the amount of state funding by nearly 100% while also cutting the "Robin Hood" funds generated by this district by over 76%, thereby creating even more need for state money in the "poorer" districts.

And it's not like this district has been going crazy spending money. It's per student expenditures grew at about a quarter of the rate of inflation during this time period (and at half the rate of inflation between 1993-94 and 2009-10 (that's as far back as I could find numbers for).

Had the Legislature left everything alone in 2006, this district, at least, would have already been getting less from the state than they're scheduled to get going forward. It's only because the state mandated the district cut the amount of taxes it could collect and raised funding from statewide sources to make up the difference that the district's budget has to be cut at all.

Without the tax cut, it's likely that the district would not only be generating enough tax revenue to support itself with $0 from state tax sources, but it could still be throwing off an additional nearly $100 million that it could pay into a Robin Hood fund for poorer districts.

Instead, the district had to cut a significant amount from their budget and fire teachers and cut programs, etc. (I couldn't find their latest budget, but my understanding is that they're having to cut about 10% of their overall budget).

So the Legislature fixed something that wasn't broken by breaking it (and I know the change in school funding came about because of lawsuits about funding, but I don't see how capping the property tax rate at a lower amount solved the issues raised in the lawsuit).

123
123

HP doesn't mind paying so long as their kids don't have to attend school with poor minorities.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse

Does this happen to be a district with a carpeted baseball field?

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Maybe a 50 million dollar football stadium (was that not the price tag for Rowlet's new FB stadium?  Or was that another school district like Allen?)

Guest
Guest

Allen has the $65 million football stadium.

Allen ISD's website doesn't lay out the historical values for easy comparison and analysis (but they do list their ten biggest taxpayers for some reason, though).

You can tell austerity is in at Allen ISD, though, since they cut the color for the budget cover this year.

Guest
Guest

I don't know the answer to that.

Catbird
Catbird

I don't like Perry because he's a RINO who tried to push through the "Trans Texas Corridor" and make all school girls get shot up with Gardasil - both would have benefited him financially.

But just as mush as Perry, I don't like what Texas public education is doing to the children of Texas (I could start a list but it'd be too long) so any time there is a chance to cut funding to Texas' under-performing, over-expensive education monster, I cheer. 

In my view, it's real a shame that we have to give them anything at all... 

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

I couldn't agree more with you, Catbird.  I'd like to see DISD go broke and fold.  And, it really chaps my ass everytime I see how much of my hard-earned money gets handed over to them. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

That is the most immature sentiment I've read thus far.  Do you not realize that your very wish would cost vastly more?  Perhaps come election time, it's best you stay home, I'd hate you to suffer another attack of dementia and get lost somewhere along the way.  Remember what the great Jerry Jones says, "don't let your money get angry."

Lee
Lee

What part of public education do you not like? What would you get rid of? Math? Physics? Chemistry? Reading? Civics? English? How can you expect the state or the country, for that matter, to move forward without an educated populous. Maybe you like uneducated voters, but the rest of us see the need for quality education.

Catbird
Catbird

Lee, if Texas schools actually TAUGHT math, physics, chemistry, reading, civics and english then I'd be right on their side....but you and I know that the Texas public school system is bloated and ineffective...

Since the entire system can't be fired, cutting the funding is the next best thing. 

Augie
Augie

Texas' current rank of spending per student in the US - 46th.  Expected student population next year - increase of 80,000.  Perrysolution - Cut $4 Billion dollars from the school's budget.  Reason for need to cut $4B - Perry and company's "replacement" tax system that results in $10B per year budget shortfall.  People who knowingly voted for this combination of genius ideas, please step up and take your licks.  

As Steve Martin said in the jerk, he hates those kids. Stay away from those kids. 

fred
fred

Re: Perry - if you're stupid cutting education doesn't make you appear smart.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Looking at some of the comments here, especially Rooster who doesn't think that one person can do very much. They said:" Call me cyncial, but I can't help but think she'd have towed the line if it wasn't almost certain she'd be ousted." If more people had that attitude,then it would be a pretty pitiful world, oh wait, it is. I think I can talk pretty well as to what one person can do without billions backing him but instead speaking the truth in front of a bunch of politicians and industry execs stroking each other. Crazy world.

sheik yerbouti
sheik yerbouti

Why do we always use the phrase "got bigger balls than him" when describing courage or just all around badassness? Why not "he's got a bigger vagina than her"? Are vaginas not courageous? Can they not also symbolize Badassness? 

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

The analogous organ would be ovaries.  She has honking big-ass ovaries.  Yes indeed, she does.

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

Can I buy truck ovaries to put on my pickup's trailer hitch?

Anonymous
Anonymous

is your name Andrea Grimes?

sheik yerbouti
sheik yerbouti

No, it's Bill McClain. I'm an alcoholic and approve of this message...

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Wendy Davis should make a run at the govs office if perry decides to run away for the 2012 election. She reminds me of a strong, independent Ann Richards type of gal, except better looking all around ;)

Storm_71
Storm_71

Agreed but unforunately me thinks the redneck conservative dip shits in this state would never allow her in office.

TastesGreat
TastesGreat

I'm glad she did what she did, but she also had nothing to lose by doing it. They are drawing her out of her TX Senate district with the new approved maps. She also has everything to gain by the filibuster, if she can be convinced to run for US Senate. We need a strong Democrat to run for KBH's seat, and not another watered down Republican-Lite.

Rooster
Rooster

Agreed.  Call me cyncial, but I can't help but think she'd have towed the line if it wasn't almost certain she'd be ousted.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

"Toe" the line, as in come up to the mark, I believe.  Unless you meant that she was pulling a metaphorical rope.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Seems doubtful. Your average chicken shit politician who is about to go away (by force) does the exact opposite, currying favor from their friends in protected districts so that they can get some kind of appointment that keeps them on the government dole until the right opportunity comes around.

Rooster
Rooster

Unless you're trying to leap frog a few years.  Her choices at the moment are:

1) 1 term wonder, toe the line, spend the next 10 years working your way through the rank and file as a virtual unknown in hopes of one day "meeting the right people" and getting a shot at a higher office

or

2) Make a name for yourself and run now.

She will run for governor or a US seat.  Bet on it.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Always stick your neck other parts out, just because it's the right thing to do.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Exactly- politics is a career, and sticking your neck out ends in failure more often than it ends in higher office. It's a highly risky gamble. Bobby Jindal was a Republican darling until his disastrous response to State of the Union. The point is that when you see your end in sight, you toe the line and get in w/ someone higher up who isn't going anywhere who can put you in touch w/ the power players that will send you on your way. The lobbyists and businesses don't like lightening pole candidates b/c they are not reliable.

Rooster
Rooster

Unless a virtually unknown freshmen senator who is almost guaranteed to be a 1 term wonder is trying to make a name for herself for a bigger run.

Politics is a career.  It has nothing to do with public service.

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

Her ballz are just as big as the mob boss and he knows it which pisses him off and he get's that crazy eyed look on his face. priceless. go girl!

Rooster
Rooster

I wish I lived in your world.  She's a freshmen senator.  It was obvious from the day she took office Texas was going to get more seats and her district was going to be redrawn.

It's very easy to have balls the size of grapefruits when you know you're not going to get re-elected.

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

She's been ballsy from the time she got in, so this is nothing new when it comes to her performance in governments. She's just not bought and paid for like the ho's down therewho get all pious about looking out for us. Hell, it's all about themselves and the mob boss.

Rooster
Rooster

Her ballz would be the size of peanuts if she wasn't losing her Senate seat....

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