A T-Rex, an Investigation, and #SitDownWendy - Catching Up With the Filibuster Fallout
Forty-eight hours after Sen. Wendy Davis began the Great Texas Abortion Filibuster, the state has gathered its breath. Having spent nearly a full work day suffering through the largest Democratic victory Texas has known in years, Gov. Rick Perry promptly overrode Davis's efforts -- knowing the tea party, the man has to cover his right flank -- and called for a second 30-day special session, set for July 1.
But the filibuster fallout wasn't simply the right wing gathering itself and wondering how things could have slid so far. It wasn't simply a regrouping. While Perry's decision was easily the most important news of the day, he wasn't the only one to offer his thoughts on Davis's performance.
Indeed, it seems Davis's show -- seen by nearly 200,000 online, and sufficiently popular enough that the doors of the Capitol remained barred to prevent more on-lookers from rushing in -- was worthy of perhaps the finest modern political canonization we know of. The famed Taiwanese animation company, NMA TV, decided to reenact Davis's efforts in the best way they possibly could. We'll let the video, replete with a T-Rex, low-riders, and trenchant demographic commentary, speak for itself:
Of course, not everything that came out of yesterday's fallout was as light-hearted as the animated ghost of Ann Richards cheering Davis along. As we noted earlier, one of the easy winners of the entire filibuster coverage was social media, with an especial focus on Twitter. There are theses aplenty written about the Democrats' advantages on social media in organization, but, based purely on participation, Davis's filibuster made it that much clearer who actually uses Facebook and Twitter. The senator's speech, and the reactions online, made the generational and intellectual gap between the parties that much starker. #StandWithWendy remained atop Twitter's trend list longer than anything out of Texas since Perry's "Oops" moment.
But now that the filibuster is through, it seems the GOP, both on state- and national scales, has determined that the best rebuttal isn't any form of positive messaging or social media re-education. Rather, they've determined that the best response is to put Wendy in her place:
#SitDownWendy. Always happy to see an aging white male tell a woman to sit down. Even better when she's attempting to stand up for her constitutional right to an abortion. And it's best if it can be one of the leading voices of the Republican intelligentsia, one who recently deemed husbands "dominant," because, you know, science. That's called effective messaging. Here's hoping he keeps it up. Only good things can come of it.
Lastly, Davis appeared on "Anderson Cooper 360" last night, discussing the physical strains -- the back brace was more than just an aesthetic choice -- and her appreciation for the supporters streaming through. She also mentioned something that we've been wondering on since the filibuster ended in a fit of smoke and mirrors. Due to screencaps taken by those monitoring, we saw that the online register tracking the bill's progress had been shifted. Where it once showed that recorded votes had taken place after midnight, the register had been altered to display everything having taken place before midnight struck, thus validating the vote and implementing the most stringent abortion restrictions in the state.
There's a slight possibility that a technical malfunction had shifted the dates. But with a day like this, with a discussion as fraught and a bill as battered, a likelier scenario arises. And Davis, somehow still functioning yesterday, addressed our thoughts head-on (begin at 3:35):
I know [the change] was done intentionally based on a conversation that one of my Senate colleagues had with the office that actually puts that online, makes that information available. And he was told by them when he asked why the date was changed, that they were instructed to do it. So we know it was purposeful, and I think there's going to be further investigation as to exactly what happened there. By changing the date, it would have changed the outcome.
We're looking forward to the investigation, and to the consequent denials from those in question. All the while, both sides, and the rest of the state, gear for another special session. The first one seemed to strike a chord. The second one's only going to be that much bigger.
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