The groundswell of support for Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) to run for governor has begun, as I wrote in my column this week.
With the panicked and insulting reaction of Gov. Rick Perry (R) to Wendy's iconic filibuster, and Wendy's cool and classy rebuttal, we have learned something new in the hours since her filibuster.
Wendy has "it," and Rick Perry is losing it! To understand the magic that is within reach for Texas Democrats in what might someday be called the beginning of the Wendy years in Texas politics, consider my carefully chosen title here. There are many wonderful women named Hillary, but say "Hillary" in politics and everyone knows who it is.
There are many wonderful women named Wendy as well, but in Texas politics, say "Wendy" and everyone knows who it is.
There are many good guys named "Rick" and "Perry" but in politics say "Oops," and everyone knows with laughter to whom we refer.
Since Perry has now launched his strange attack on the University of Texas, interrupting his attacks against pay equity for women, and after his attacks on education for Texas schoolchildren, let's look at the first returns of the campaign for Texas governor in football terms: Wendy scored first with her filibuster that electrified political observers as well as women. Wendy 7, Perry 0.
Then Perry panicked and launched a bizarre personal attack on Wendy and even brought into his attack Wendy's mom. This was another Perry "oops" moment. Wendy's reaction was calm, professional, factual and politically on-point. Wendy 14, Oops 0, after three minutes in the first quarter.
Understand this. It is not certain Perry runs for re-election and we may know momentarily whether he does. But he sure looks scared by Wendy, doesn't he? Perry's frenzied low-road reaction only helped Wendy, mobilized her supporters, drew great interest from major potential donors who know great talent (Wendy) and great panic (Perry) when they see it, and added more names to the "Draft Wendy" movement that has now begun.
Nor is it clear that Wendy ultimately runs. I again call on wealthy Democratic donors to tell her privately they will back her if she does, and propose that national Democrats now put more money into Texas Democrats and stop using Texas as an ATM machine to fund campaigns elsewhere.
Texas is now a battleground. The path to blue Texas will not be easy, but the road to get there is clear. Make no mistake, the Texas GOP's war against women will soon become a war against Wendy.
It is not a time for Texas Democrats to be timid. It is not a time for Texas Democrats to be cautious. It is a time for Texas Democrats to be bold, to be daring and to play to win. In the last 72 hours, Wendy has shown she can play hardball with the big boys, and Oops has shown he is worried as hell, and the sales of pink sneakers are soaring, and the whiff of change is in the air across Texas, and the early score is: Wendy 14, Oops 0.
And if Perry does not run, the score is Wendy 14, Gregg Abbott 0, as the Republican Texas attorney general launches his latest attack against voting rights for Texas Hispanics and equal opportunity for Texas women.