Lubbock County Judge Tom Head recently added another chapter to the Big Book of Texas Crazy when he asked his county commissioners to raise taxes to pay for another couple of sheriff’s deputies. Why? Because Barack Obama wants to hand sovereignty over to the UN. Head explained, “What’s going to happen when that happens? I’m thinking worst-case scenario here. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. We’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations. We’re talking Lexington-Concord take up arms and get rid of the guy.”
Head had a point. The Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department is ill equipped to remove the president in an armed insurrection. But still, we here in Texas were shocked. A Republican elected official wants to raise taxes?
After almost two decades with George W. Bush and Rick Perry in charge, Texas has become what amounts to an enterprise zone for free market fever dreams and social conservative experimentation. Consequently, what makes shocking headlines elsewhere is old news here. You’re surprised at what Todd Akin said? In Texas, that’s just Tuesday.
When Akin effectively ended his Senate campaign by parsing the definition of rape as it pertains to abortion laws, Texas Republicans calmly—and without causing themselves any political harm—reiterated their support for banning abortion even in the case of rape. Meanwhile, Texas Pro-Life leader Janet Porter wrote a column called “Now is the Time for Courage” defending Akin on the question of “legitimate” by equating it with “forcible” in a way that ran counter to fact and logic.
“When Rep. Todd Akin stood for protecting all innocent human life in a recent interview, he used a word with more than one meaning. He used the word ‘legitimate’ before the word ‘rape’ to mean ‘real,’ ‘forcible,’ a tragic event that ‘really took place,’ wrote Porter.
Women are an easy target in Texas. Remember the transvaginal sonogram bill that so offended Virginians? The bill would have required penetration of a woman’s vagina without her consent—the legal definition of rape. The outrage over so-called “state rape” forced Virginia Republicans to water the bill down.
In Texas, a Democratic state representative waved a transvaginal probe at shocked Republicans during a debate over the bill. After contemplating the carpet patterns, they recovered their senses long enough to pass the bill without making any changes—or suffering any political consequences. In fact, the House sponsor of the transvaginal sonogram bill recently lost his seat in a Republican primary because he wasn’t conservative enough and not because he legalized and mandated illegitimate rape.
If you live in a swing state, you’ve probably seen ads accusing Mitt Romney of wanting to get rid of Planned Parenthood. And by “accusing”, I mean quoting him saying exactly that. Peter Hart is shopping a poll that shows women who’ve seen the ad are far less likely to vote for Romney than women who haven’t seen the ad.
In Texas, defunding Planned Parenthood is so last year. Rick Perry pushed for, and got, laws that cut Planned Parenthood out delivering health care to poor women even though the link between breast cancer screenings and abortion is largely imaginary. A federal appellate court recently upheld the ban, threatening access to basic health care for 130,000 Texas women. Unlike the television commercials in swing states about hypothetical change, this real-world regression does not seem to have had any effect on the Texas political landscape.
In Texas, we’ve lost too many battles in the War on Women to accept the conservative talking point that is all fiction. Some have said that Texas is on the front lines of the War on Women. As Judge Head’s anti-UN rantings proved, however, the front lines are hundreds of miles away.
There are about 3.5 million Texans who voted for Barack Obama in Texas, a number larger than the populations of 20 states, and every blessed one of them will tell you that we’re not on the front lines. Texas Republicans do things here that the likes of Todd Akin get in trouble for even talking about elsewhere. Texas is deep in occupied territory for a mean kind of crazy.