After having the Texas Republican party’s efforts to dramatically restrict access to abortions, clothed in “we’re just making it safer for the little women” language; and with Gov. Rick Perry decrying the “breakdown of decorum and decency” related to the filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, the guy who still hasn’t said if he’ll run for governor again has done what everyone knew he would: called Special Session II. And he’s proven in the past, he’s more than willing to keep on calling 30-day special sessions until he gets his way.
As reported in the Texas Tribune, the just concluded special session dramatic and electrifying wins of the Democratic legislators ““ with big, visible and vocal help from citizens ““ are “battles,” but “Perry determines the war.” (emphasis added)
As expected, Gov. Rick Perry, no stranger to hardball politics or legislative meltdowns, announced Wednesday he would call the Legislature back into special session. It’s set to begin July 1.
And once again, legislation restricting abortion “” the same package Davis and her fellow Democrats worked so hard to stop with a filibuster and dramatic midnight showdown “” will be front and center. With Republicans in the majority in both chambers, it would seem that only the time and date of passage are in doubt now.
“˜We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do,’ Perry said in a brief written statement about the upcoming 30-day session.
Scrambling to regain some credibility, and macho factor, after allowing what many are saying was his failure to maintain control of the Senate Chambers on the night of the Davis filibuster, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst chimed in.
Congratulating Perry on standing up to the “˜mob’ that he blamed for derailing the abortion bill, Dewhurst said Wednesday that state leaders were “˜willing to stand up in the face of pressure from Washington and special interest groups in the pursuit of freedom.’ He got more aggressive in a fundraising letter seeking to capitalize on the incident, saying “˜Obama-style’ protesters would stop at nothing to “˜undermine conservative Texas values.’
Earlier Dewhurst had called it an “unruly mob,” likening them to “Occupy” activists. I’m fairly certain he still wants the mob to be characterized as “unruly,” since it makes him look less like he had any responsibility in insuring ruly-ness, but I think it’s worth noting that he’s moved from “Occupy” to “Obama-style” labeling, with explicit mention of “Washington” and “special interest groups” (which, I’d guess, is any group in which he doesn’t have a special interest of supporting), and explicitly contrasting the Unruly Occupy Obama Washington Special Interest Lacking in Decorum and Decency Mob with “conservative Texas values.”
Perry and Dewhurst were, of course, joined by others in their efforts to blame an “unruly mob” for the rejection of their “protect the women by restricting access to reproductive health care” bills.
“˜Due to the shameful acts of many people, mob rule prevented our Texas Senate from functioning properly,’ said Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park. “˜This is not Texas and this must not stand.’
That’s an absolutely perfect summary of the attitude Perry and others consistently display: anyone who disagrees is “not Texas.”
Sen. Wendy Davis responded to Perry’s call for a second session, and to his “breakdown of decorum and decency” comments.
“˜Governor Perry and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst led the charge in terms of a breakdown of decorum. They have overridden and made a mockery of all of the rules that we run by in this state. First by taking an issue that couldn’t make it through the regular session where we have a two thirds majority rule in the senate in order to bring a bill up to the floor rule, and instead moving it to a special session where lieutenant governor Dewhurst made a decision that we would no longer respect that 2/3 decision.’
Davis also indicated she is thinking of “state-wide” office. More about that in a later post.
About what happened in the Senate, Davis said that by Dewhurst’s actions, “Senate rules became meaningless” as he “r(a)n roughshod over … rules” and “shut the filibuster down.”
“˜… I think the people that were there in the gallery … were observing decorum in the most respectful way, until they no longer could take it, because they saw that the presiding officer was expecting that observation of them, but he was not conducting himself in that way, and ultimately in that last 15 minutes of the evening, it became the people’s filibuster and they were loud, and they were heard. and that’s what democracy is about … .’
Perry and Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott (seen as Perry’s most likely successor, according to the Tribune) are today addressing the National Right To Life Convention, which happens to be taking place in Dallas. Probably this gathering meets Perry’s standards for decorum and decency and ruly-ness.
So, the next special session is coming July 1, and no doubt both Republican and Democratic legislators are making plans. It’s a safe bet Perry and company will make great efforts to avoid a repeat of the “people’s filibuster,” but that they’ll do so with the same kind of decorum and decency previously displayed. As the Tribune article put it, they don’t want to end up looking like.
… Shell-shocked … tourists who had taken the wrong exit off the highway and wound up in a hostile neighborhood.
Probably what they really want is to continue redistricting those “hostile neighborhoods” so they don’t have to deal with them at all, including preventing any residents from entering their Decent and Decorous chambers.
The conflicting ideas of what “decency and decorum” mean are, of course, related to conflicting ideas of what democracy means, what “we the people” ““ of our nation, of any state and city and district ““ means. Wendy Davis and thousands of “we the people” of Texas are but one piece of a national story. There are many others, such as what “we the people” of Wisconsin showed the rest of the nation not that long ago; what Occupy shows; what those fighting KXL show: Power, and a willingness to show it. Including within the very chambers Electeds often seem to forget belong to the people, not them.