Current events are now reminding us of an especially fetid glob of brain waste that dripped last year from the squalid underside of what passes for the mind of Erick, son of Erick, editor of Red State. Erick the Red quickly coined the moniker, Abortion Barbie, for Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, when her filibuster against a draconian law attacking womans' reproductive rights, at the end of last year's Texas legislative session, made the formerly unknown State Senator an overnight hero to millions of women and men, in Texas and everywhere else.
As Libby Shaw reported, the Greg Abbott's campaign denounced the posters, calling them "appalling", denied the campaign's involvement and denied knowing where the posters came from. Perhaps Abbott and his advisers hoped the story would fade and die before the Westboro Baptist Church caliber political performance stunt firmly tied an extremist asshole label on the Republican gubernatorial candidate in the minds November voters.
But the story about this stunt won't go away. Wendy Davis is making sure it doesn't. Other news ties the California poster artist back to Texas Republicans who support Greg Abbott, blunting the Republican candidate's denial of involvement and raising questions about Mr.Abbott's denouncement. Wendy Davis's campaign is busy helping voters connect the dots. You will find new details and links out in the tall grass.
It is interesting, odd and completely unexplained by the Abbott campaign, how it is that his campaign didn't have any idea where the posters came from. The odd part is that by the time the story broke about the posters going up in California, the good people of Midland, Texas, knew exactly who was directly behind the stunt, at least if they read their local paper, which reported:
A poster depicting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis as “Abortion Barbie” was unveiled in Los Angeles on Thursday in advance of her Hollywood fundraiser and bankrolled by a conservative Midland woman.Don't make too much out of Ms. Stuard's denial of Abbott campaign involvement in this stunt. That is exactly what any good sock puppet would say. But the question right now isn't about the Abbott campaign's involvement, but about the campaign's knowledge of who was behind it at the time the campaign denied knowing who was behind it. I can tell you from direct experience of working in statewide campaigns, someone working in Greg Abbott's communications operation has the job of reading every newspaper, blog, internet, broadcast, magazine, etc. that mentions the candidate's name, everyday. That person then makes sure the campaign decides in advance how to react to anything published. The Abbott campaign had to know by May 22 that its supporter, Kathryn Stuard, was behind the stunt, and simply chose to lie about knowing because it helped put more daylight between him and the deplorable and extreme artwork.
Kathryn Stuard told the San Antonio Express-News she donated an undisclosed amount to conservative street artist “Sabo” to create the posters, which portray Davis’ face over a semi-naked Barbie doll with an exposed fetus in the womb.
The posters say: “Hollywood welcomes Abortion Barbie Wendy Davis” and have large pair of scissors next to the doll.
“It hits people with the truth,” said Stuard, 53. “The artist is very edgy… I do support (Greg) Abbott but the campaign had nothing to do with these (posters).”
Mr. Abbott's eagerness to distance his campaign from this offensive and ridiculously over the top stunt suggests he may recognize the power of this kind of thing to motivate Team Blue's political base much more than his own. If that is so, it actually supports Mr. Abbot's denial of involvement. Mr. Abbott rightfully fears that such an offensively strong visual created by a supporter to inflame an already ramped up GOP base has every chance to back-fire and instead inflame, motivate and GOTV for Team Blue's normally lackadaisical off-year voters.
The most recently breaking news suggests that Senator Davis believes that this poster can help her do exactly that to important blocks of the Democratic base: get 'em fired-up and ready to go vote in November, to keep people like Mr. Abbott, supported by people like Kathryn Stuard, out of the State Capitol. Senator Davis has shot back with an open letter on her campaign Facebook page, saying:
Mom said it, a co-worker shared it, my girls brought it to life, and most Texans prove it every day — true leaders just don’t promote and condone the brand of shameless attacks Greg Abbott has unleashed and refused to denounce in this campaign.A few days ago, Time reported about the political significance of Wendy Davis's push-back over the poster to re-energizing Democrats' powerful GOP War on Women meme in the Texas gubernatorial campaign:
You might even be surprised he’s a Texan when you see the posters of my face cut and pasted on a plastic doll’s body with her stomach open and a baby exposed while scissors rest inches away.
It’s wrong. It’s offensive. And Greg Abbott and his allies should know that these vicious personal attacks are not how we act in this state.
I know you are proud of our campaign, the thousands and thousands of you who have called, walked, made generous donations, shared your stories and worked for the promise of a Texas Governor who will fight for all Texans–not just some–instead of another insider who just will not work for you.
That’s why these posters aren’t just insulting to me. They are demeaning and degrading to every woman.
However, that shouldn’t be a surprise coming from Abbott’s allies. This is a politician who has embraced Ted Nugent, an admitted sexual predator of young girls. This is a politician who pays the women in his office less than the men for doing the same work and has repeatedly denied the necessity of equal pay for an equal day’s work even when women are earning almost $8,000 less than men a year on average. This is a politician whose education plan for Texas is based in part on the work of a professor who actually thinks women have smaller brains than men.
Greg Abbott and his allies have proven time and again that they do not understand the challenges Texas women and that their families confront everyday. Texas deserves better.
Texas deserves substantive ideas from a leader that will fight for the future of all Texans — not just some. Instead, Abbott and his backers only offer attacks and distractions. You and I know these attacks — like the ones before them — aren’t going to distract me from what’s really at stake in this campaign. And I know that you have developed thick skin with me in these months together, and that you won’t stop fighting with me.
I am proud of my fight on behalf of Texas women. I am proud of my record of achievement for hardworking Texas families. And I am proud to have hundreds of thousands of grassroots supporters working with me.
If we work together, we can create an economy built for the jobs of tomorrow and give our kids the 21st century education they need to compete in it. That’s the Texas that will always make us proud, not the disgusting personal attacks Greg Abbott and his allies offer.
“There are early indications that the so-called ‘War on Women’ has run its course. Look at Wendy Davis, who catapulted to national fame a year ago on this issue of abortion,” a GOP strategist told TIME in April. “If you go on Wendy Davis’ campaign website it’s completely scrubbed of anything having to do with abortion and she now describe herself as pro-life. She has a 46% approval with women in Texas and Greg Abbott is beating her among women.” While Davis never went so far as to describe herself as pro-life, groups that favor abortion access did go after Davis for saying she’d support a ban on 20-week abortions, though she’d said even before the filibuster that that was a piece of the anti-abortion legislation she would have supported. But with the poster controversy, abortion has returned as a campaign issue with a vengeance. Davis’ campaign has sent out no less than five fundraising emails off the scandal. “We’ve had a really strong response regardless of where people stand on the issue to the poster,” Davis spokeswoman Lauren Weiner said. National women’s groups and other candidates have condemned the posters.A smart, politically savvy and tough campaigner, Wendy Davis may very well hand Greg Abbott an upset in November. Yall can click here to help her do that.