Friday, February 14, 2014

Davis moves back to the left

Let's give Senator Davis the hap tip she deserves for doing the right things this week.  First on weed...

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis said she supports medical marijuana use as well easing the state's legal consequences for possessing small amounts of the drug.

Davis' comments echo those of current Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who said he supports less stringent penalties in Texas for marijuana use. 

She moved (relatively) quickly here, to draft off Governor Goodhair's surprising shift, and left Greg Abbott sitting way over there on the right.  The Dallas News ed board broke it, so let's tap their analysis.

This takes the decriminalization discussion beyond where Perry took it, and Davis showed little hesitation. In his recent remarks in Davos, Perry talked about moving “toward a decriminalization,” whereas Davis said she’d consider signing a bill removing criminal provisions for possessing small amounts. That would be de facto decriminalization if Texas made small-time possession a civil matter.

Pre-Davos, I doubt Davis would have been as willing to address this head on. But Perry provided safe harbor to Davis or anyone else who wanted to go there. Plus, a statewide poll last year showed voting Texans are open to change on the pot question.

Davis probably picks up more votes that she loses on this. Those general election voter who are motivated by law-and-order issues aren’t getting near her anyway. Those persuadable middle-spectrum voters who could tilt either way have an important issue to consider here.

Davis, to them, might seem more in touch with a national sense that the war on drugs is so Richard Nixon. Our editorial page has said we appear to have reached a national tipping point.

Sticking by the status quo on drugs would make Abbott seem decidedly retrograde. Then again, his handlers seem to be looking for a very safe course so far. Abbott certainly isn’t coming off as a man of new or great vision, lest it’s Rick Perry’s vision. If he thinks that’s a formula for victory in 2014, we’ll see.

That's a solid take all around.  Kudos to Davis for pouncing on an opportunity left open by Rick Perry, of all people.  And secondly, she comes correct on marriage equality.  Lone Star Q:

In her first public statements in support of same-sex marriage since announcing her campaign for governor, Democrat Wendy Davis called on likely Republican opponent Greg Abbott to stop defending the state’s marriage bans in court.

Davis’ statements came a day after a federal district judge in San Antonio heard arguments in a lawsuit challenging Texas’ marriage bans, including its 2005 constitutional amendment.

Davis, D-Fort Worth, is a strong LGBT ally who has co-authored bills to ban anti-LGBT employment discrimination and bullying during her time in the Legislature. Davis is backed in her run for governor by LGBT groups including Equality Texas and the Human Rights Campaign.

But Davis’ statements to the San Antonio Express-News editorial board on Thursday marked her most public and emphatic endorsements of marriage equality in her 15-year political career.

“It’s my strong belief that when people love each other and are desirous of creating a committed relationship with each other that they should be allowed to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation,” Davis said.

She could have done this much sooner and saved herself a minor amount of grief over it, but getting to the right place (even if it is tardy, like Barack Obama) is still worth commending.

Decriminalizing pot and legalizing gay marriage are the two fastest-moving American taboos that are turning into mores.  Davis put herself on the good side of history -- and the electorate -- by endorsing this social progress.  Open carry is going to remain an unnecessary drag to her base, and nothing she said a couple of days ago on reproductive choice seems to have been beneficial, but if she can string together a few good days like yesterday (particularly with the media, which may wish to overcompensate for the unnecessary roughness with which 2014 opened), she will have the fence-mending under way.

Socratic Gadfly remains skeptical.  That's healthy enough; I'm sticking with 'she finished the week better than she began it'.

I'm just wondering what offensive Tweets and quotes are going to erupt out of this sad gathering of freaks next week.


Gadfly said...

You could be right on fence-mending. I guess I'm just seeing this as "the campaign position of the week." That said, Trailblazers has a good piece up on the number of Team Obama folks among her national handlers, and how much she's paying for them.

Infidel753 said...

Let's hope she'll have a clarification on abortion soon. I agree with your earlier post. Trying to nuance that issue to death isn't a winning strategy.

PDiddie said...

I just want to be as quick with the praise as I have been the condemnation. I want to support her for governor, but she lost me at the beginning of the week, and made up a little ground at the end.

If she had been tougher, or luckier, or some combination in January, then she could have put some heat on Abbott in his contested primary.

He's a turd of a candidate and an even bigger turd of a person, and there's no reason with all those batshit challengers that one or two of them couldn't peel off enough support to push him into a runoff. As with the LG race, for example.

A missed opportunity, but there will be others. And she must capitalize on them.