I was interested by Eric Bearse’s piece in the Quorum Report yesterday concerning Wendy Davis and abortion. Bearse wrote, among other things:
“The reason Wendy Davis has never recovered politically from her abortion filibuster is she fought on turf where she couldn’t win. Outside of San Francisco and New York, most Americans oppose late-term abortions. In winning the public relations battle at the time — becoming the national darling of the leftist intelligentsia — she set herself up to lose the political war.”
I don’t take issue with the fact that most Americans oppose late-term abortions. But that wasn’t what the debate in the Senate wasn’t about. It was about whether one woman could stand up to the Senate bullies.
I think Bearse has missed the point, which is that what Davis accomplished that night in the Capitol reverberated far beyond the Senate chamber (and still does). She generated a national constituency. She raised a large sum of money in a short time. She lifted her party out of the political doldrums. Don’t forget that Republican senators attempted every possible nitpicky maneuver to shut her filibuster down. Their actions were shameful. For the next few weeks she was a featured character in newspapers and magazines around the country. I do not know what the rest of the campaign season has in store for Davis, but there is no doubt that she has forged a constituency that stretches far beyond Texas. So I would say to Eric Bearse: Davis didn’t lose the political war that dramatic night in the Senate chamber. She won it.