Where do we go from here?

Awful. Tonight, after a variety of speeches, good and bad, by nearly all of the members of the Senate, the body approved HB2, the omnibus anti-abortion bill, 19-11. The bill is identical to the House version, and, as such, is now sent to Governor Perry’s desk for his signature.

One of the biggest highlights of the evening was that the DPS informed female gallery guests that tampons, among other items, would be confiscated upon entrance. I also saw unconfirmed tweets that DPS troopers were told to instigate the orange shirted individuals, whilst backing off from those wearing blue. But that’s just a rumor.

The speeches were what one expected. Wendy Davis delivered what would probably be the most repeated line of the evening, stating “Some may believe that that this fight has been waged and won with this final vote today, but they are wrong in so many ways. The fight for the future of Texas is just beginning.” This is what I’ve been saying, Remember the Alamo!

In addition to Davis, Sen. John Whitmire delivered quite an emotionally stirring speech that deserves positive recognition. Jose Rodriguez, Kirk Watson and Royce West also had great things to say. But at a certain point, we had to assent to the inevitable. Around midnight, after religious antics that had no place in a Government proceeding , Dewhurst called the roll and the Senate approved the measure. Sen. Tommy Williams (R-Montgomery County) was absent while Sen. Eddie Lucio (D-Cameron County) voted affirmatively. I will give credit where credit is due to Sen. Lucio, however. The Senate considered 20 amendments by Democrats that did everything from provide rape exceptions to inserting equal pay wording into the statute. Lucio joined with the other Democrats on all of these amendments.

It will probably be about 10 days before Governor Perry signs this legislation. At that point, it would be November 1st before the law would take effect. The ambulatory surgical center requirement would not take hold until some point in 2014.

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This all presents the unfortunate question of, “Where do we go from here?” Simply put, there are three places to go from here.

1. The Courthouse
The day that this bill is signed by the Governor, expect there to be a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court. Given that the plaintiffs will most likely seek a temporary restraining order, it will be filed in the Western District, based in San Antonio, because that court has jurisdiction over Austin.

If you are confused about what I just said, here is the basic gist of it. Constitutional court cases must arise out of a current controversy, meaning someone must have an active injury or complaint in the case. For example, an abortion provider who had no choice but to close after the regulations went into effect. Such a lawsuit could arise out of any of the four Federal Districts in Texas (the Northern, based in Dallas, the Western, based in San Antonio, the Southern, based in Houston, and the Eastern, based in Tyler). However, if the lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order, and later a preliminary injunction, to enjoin enforcement of the legislation before it takes effect, it will be much more academic. Thus, centered around Austin.

As I have discussed at length previously, this bill, once becoming law, should go down in flames in Federal Court. If it doesn’t, the Supreme Court must take an action tantamount to overturning Roe.

2. The Ballot Box
Since the first filibuster, I have seen a lot of my contemporaries, who couldn’t have cared less about politics just a few weeks ago, become involved and outspoken on the process. If this motivation and anger will translate to mobilized and dedicated voters on this issue, it will be a wonder for the Democratic Party. That is still an open-ended question at this point, however.

2014 will see all Statewide positions, roughly half of the State Senate and all 150 State Representatives seek re-election. If the Democrats do their jobs (a big if), we could have a meaningful impact.

3. Activist Lane
Remember, don’t get mad, get even. Or at least get involved. This whole controversy has propelled Wendy Davis into the national spotlight. As I have been arguing somewhat perpetually now since the filibuster, she truly needs to run for Governor, regardless of her feasibility as a winning candidate. Be the Democrats’ Barry Goldwater.

Find people riled up by this, and register them to vote. Get people involved with the local Democratic Party. And, my gosh, find some candidates for Statewide office next year. Wendy Davis is obvious, but there are so many others. Rodney Ellis, Jose Rodriguez, Leticia Van de Putte and Judith Zaffrini are among the talented Democratic Senators who are not up for re-election next year. Cecile Richards is a great possible candidate as well.

There was a huge rally at the end of the evening tonight, where Cecile Richards and Jessica Farrar led thousands of protesters from the Capitol down Congress Street. Stuff like that needs to continue happening.

So, I guess Wendy Davis really was prophetic when she said this is only the beginning, and not the end. Don’t pout, don’t cry, don’t complain. What we need to do right now is to get to work. I will part with a line from an old Bob Dylan song that I find quite fitting for this evening.

“The loser now will be later to win, oh the times they are a-changin'”

Good night and good luck.

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Perry and Battleground Texas

I’m back in the tundra, for both of y’all who are wondering. There is a big hype, all over the internets and the blogosphere (as President Bush would have called it) about this new organization called “Battleground Texas.” The catchphrase, last I remember, was for the State to be purple by 2016 and  blue shortly thereafter.

Recently, Governor Perry ridiculed the project as being “a pipe dream,” and stating that UT would change their colors to maroon before Texas changes its to purple, or–god forbid–blue. For what it’s worth, I think a reliably blue Texas is a bit of a pipe dream, and I have had it up to here about all these people living in the Austin bubble just assuming that it will happen because of demographics. I know that I’m a cynic, but I have always maintained the position that one should never underestimate the cunning of the GOP to lie, cheat and steal their way to victory, and one should especially never underestimate the sheer ineptitude of Democrats.

Before going all the way to la-la land where Democrats control TX like MA, we should be focusing on finding a competent gubernatorial candidate. My suggestion (actually Kuff’s) is Cecile Richards, but the fellas down at BOR don’t seem to be listening…

Who is running for Governor, again?

Who is running for Governor, again?

I meant to write this a few days ago. Anyways, BOR had this obnoxious little piece about the gubernatorial candidates. The piece mentioned six gubernatorial candidates (three being defied “on deck” and three as “long shots”). Mike Villarreal (a San Antonio State Rep), Kirk Watson (a Austin State Senator) and Bill White are the ones who are “on deck,” as BOR puts it. Rafael Anchia (a Dallas State Rep), Wendy Davis and Julian Castro are the ones who are less-likely, I suppose. I have a few comments on this.

First, I cannot say that I am surprised that the Austinites have to throw a bone to one of their own. I really like Sen. Watson, for the record, and think he would make a good statewide candidate, but I cannot find any other site which validates this little factoid. However, I seem to remember a very-similar rumour in 2010, which turned out to be completely, totally and utterly false.

Second, I really would not call Bill White “on-deck” for a gubernatorial run, or really anything in politics. Again, I don’t know where they’re getting this info, but even the adults in Houston political blogging haven’t been talking about this. Even if there is some movement about White’s candidacy, I would not venture to call his odds in an echelon above Sen Watson or Mayor Castro.

Finally, most perplexing in my opinion, is how completely different these names are from the ones I’ve been hearing of recent in other blogs. Kuff has been talking about Cecile Richards, Henry Cisneros and Rodney Ellis, and BOR did not even touch upon it. I find this a little perplexing. I’ve had problems with BOR’s reliability in the past, and I generally will trust fellow Houstonians first and foremost, but that’s just me.

Okay, goodnight. Soaking up everything that is Houston right now, leave for Austin on Friday.

 

Stupid musings on the future

We, here at Texpatriate, haven’t decided to play the game of futurology in a while. Since the quintessential cynic in me was wrong about Mitt Romney being elected President, I might have to redo my old timeline.

November/December 2013-Annise Parker is re-elected after defeating, among others, Ben Hall. May or not be the need for a runoff election.

March 2014-Greg Abbott defeats Rick Perry in the primary for Governor. David Dewhurst is squeezed into a runoff with one of his many challengers (he may or may not win the runoff). George P. Bush cruises to victory in his run for Land Commissioner. The Democrats, if they are unsuccessful in drafting a superstar (like Tommy Lee Jones or Cecile Richards), essentially concede defeat by not running competitive candidates against Abbott and Cornyn and the like.

May 2014-Dewhurst may or may not survive his runoff election.

November 2014-Republicans take control of the US Senate, Democrats pick up a few seats in the US House. Democrats picks up a few states in both houses of the State Legislature; GOP maintains control thereof and of all statewide offices.

November 2015-Houston elects first Latino mayor.

November 2016-Hillary Clinton elected President; Democrats retake US Senate, pick up a few seats in the US House (still not control). Democrats pick up a few states in State Legislature, all Statewides stay with the GOP.

November 2017-Latino mayor re-elected.

November 2018-First cracks in the GOP barrier. I still am hoping for the Castro/Davis ticket.

Castro 2014

Off the Kuff is linking to an article in the San Antonio Express-News about the growing “Castro for Governor 2014” crowd. They even have a website, listed here. The Bexar County Democratic Party is the official backbone of this movement.

I find this proposition to be cynical for three reasons:

1. Wasn’t there already some buzz about drafting Cecile Richards? Please, one movement at a time.
2. Castro has already said he wants to stay as SA Mayor until 2017. Governor Perry would love the ability to paint Castro as a liar.
3. Texas will not be, to borrow an old phrase, “ready for Prime Time” in 2014. Perry will be re-elected in 2014 (oh yes, mark my words) because the state will not be all that different, demographically than today. 2018 would be the first chance for the new and improved Texas, the one where Latinos vote en masse.

Now, to be fair, my friends from the Texas Democratic Party are telling me how much progress they are making and how 2014 might be competitive. I agree with them in that the TDP is making fantastic progress, but like how President Obama has been taking a long time to clean up all that crap that Bush left him, so will Chairman Hinojosa to the shambles that the party was given to him in. Progress is always easier said than done.
Additionally, if Obama is re-elected (for the record I still don’t think so), 2014 will be a bad year for Democrats, making any big Democratic upsets unlikely.

However, my response to the common critique that Perry will not last that long, I invite people to remember just how confident people were that Perry would lose in 2010. Now that Abbott, Combs, and Staples are all going after Dewhurst, I do not think Perry will face any major primary challenges. Alas, the election is far away, but my prediction is Texas will not be ready for Castro in 2014.

Of course, I am betting most of my political capital on Obama losing next week, so if that does not happen, I might be out of the election-predicting market.