The War on Women: Dewhurst's Cynical Attempts at Damage Control

by Dan Quinn

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is in full damage-contol mode following last Tuesday’s debacle (for him, especially) in the Senate chamber. Today he sent out an email insisting that he will push through, in the special session that starts Monday, passage of the same legislation that failed last week — legislation that would have government interfering in the personal medical decisions a woman makes with her doctor about whether and when to have children. The war on women in Texas rages on.

His email also attacks the activists and lawmakers who helped stop the passage of that legislation last Tuesday, with Dewhurst complaining about an “outrageous effort to undermine the democratic process in the Texas capitol.”

We’re sorry, but what credibility does the lieutenant governor have to talk about the “democratic process”? He and other Senate Republicans flagrantly ignored their own rules and precedent in trying to ram through passage of their extreme and divisive legislation last Tuesday. In fact, even Republican state Rep. David Simpson — one of the state’s most conservative legislators — tweeted late that night that the Senate had “run roughshod over the rules.”

Then on Friday, in an interview with a right-wing website, Dewhurst suggested that news reporters on Tuesday night had been “trying to inflame the crowd, incite them in the direction of a riot,” and he threatened to “take action” against them. “We take a democratic policy seriously,” he cynically told his questioner.

This morning his spokesman backed away from those reckless comments, explaining that a review of video from Tuesday night showed no such “incitement” from reporters. Of course it didn’t.

So we have a lieutenant governor who tosses aside Senate rules, who attacks Texans who protest his irresponsible actions, and who suggests “going after” news reporters for imaginary crimes. But he says other people are engaged in an “outrageous effort to undermine the democratic process”?

Sorry, but that dog won’t hunt. There were too many people — hundreds of thousands of Texans and others across the country — who were watching online Tuesday night as the lieutenant governor threw out the rule book and tried to bully a courageous Sen. Wendy Davis as well as Sen. Kirk Watson and other colleagues into letting him distort and hijack the “democratic process.” Try as he will to limit the damage from that debacle, he can’t change what really happened.

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