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The desperation of the Wendy Davis campaign for governor has long been a subject of light derision thanks to the many fumbles of the state senator’s team. But the most recent thoughtless act born out of desperation is absolutely disgusting. With less than three months until the general election, the Davis campaign has finally released an ad reminiscent of one aired by the Ann Richards campaign, which referenced an insensitive remark made by Richards’ opponent Clayton Williams about rape during the 1990 gubernatorial race. The Richards ad was highly effective and largely responsible for her victory. But Wendy Davis is no Ann Richards, and the extremely disturbing ad has made me lose any modicum of respect for the gubernatorial candidate.
The Davis ad, which leaves very little to the imagination, references an instance in which a woman was sexually assaulted by a Kirby vacuum salesman whom she had let into her home for a demonstration. She sued Kirby Vacuums because there was no background check conducted on the salesman, who was on probation for a sex crime. At the time, current Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is also Davis’ opponent, was an associate justice on the Texas Supreme Court. When the case reached the high court, Abbott wrote a dissenting opinion because, according to him, the manufacturer was not responsible for the local distributor’s hiring process; the local distributor employed the vacuum salesman. The highly dramatized ad along with torrential winds, shows the salesman entering the home, the woman’s children sleeping, a door shutting and the salesman leaving the house.
In an effort to portray Abbott as someone who will relentlessly side with corporations even in the horrific case of sexual assault, the incompetency of the Davis campaign has yet again come to light by exploiting what I am sure is a painful memory for the victim. Additionally, it’s hard to believe that Abbott, who has spoken out against human trafficking and obscene photography, has the same nonchalant attitude toward rape as Clayton Williams. The ad does not show a candidate who fights for women and against sexual assault; all I see is a desperate campaign that would rather go deep down in the gutter than accept a likely defeat.
Davis is an associate editor.
Correction: An earlier version of this blog post stated the victim was not contacted. The victim was not spoken to directly by the campaign, but by representatives from a Democratic group that supports the Davis campaign. According to Davis, the victim was told by the group that the issue could possibly arise during the gubernatorial race. Representatives from the Davis campaign did not speak with the victim directly before airing the commercial, however.
On Friday, the House Republicans extended their stay in Washington by 24 hours to revise a supplemental appropriations bill, a desperate effort to unify partisan support on the border bill crisis and pass law without help from House Democrats.
The tweaked version of the bill, which passed 223-189, includes increased funding for the National Guard and other agencies responsible for handling the crisis. In attempt to remedy partisan fault lines for expediency’s sake, the House also removed many of the bill’s provisions, including one limiting President Obama’s ability to halt child deportations.
But as members of Congress flee Washington for a much-needed recess, many are forced to concede that this hastily-revised compromise may just be too little, too late. Although any partisan cooperation is admittedly a rarity in politics these days, the bill seems to pose little hope for substantial change. Dismissed by White House members as a work of “patchwork legislation”, the Republican-backed bill is unlikely to make it through the Senate. In fact, the President has already promised to veto the bill, citing its provisions as “arbitrary and unrealistic demands” placed on an already broken system. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, agrees, admitting that “he does not believe any legislation will be implemented” before the month-long recess.
The funding proscribed in the bill — $694 million, to be exact — pales in comparison to the several billion requested by Obama earlier this summer. Another polarizing factor is the monetary redistribution itself. Republicans allocated the majority to emergency care, border security and prevention of future arrivals, whereas Democrats have fought for a more cushy system for migrants, such as free legal counsel and temporary relief from deportation.
House Republicans refute criticism from the Senate’s majority, touting the updated bill as a “responsible address to the humanitarian crisis.” “If President Obama needs more resources,” said House Speaker John Boehner, “he will urge the Senate to put politics aside and approve of our bill.”
Despite the House’s haste and last-ditch efforts at skeleton legislation, it is increasingly unlikely that any form of the bill will reach Obama’s desk until fall.
Deppisch is a Daily Texan columnist and a government senior from League City. Follow her on Twitter @b_deppy.
We're back to our full broadsheet this week in anticipation of the fall semester. As part of our special Fall Preview edition, we have identified and offered our take on the five most important issues to watch this fall. They are the new chancellor, the search for a new president, Shared Services, the municipal elections and the upcoming statewide elections.
Starting today, this blog will only be updated twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, until the last week of this month.
Brands is editor-in-chief.