Democratic Texas State Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth recognized a bad bill when she saw it. When, at the end of the Texas legislative session, a bill advanced by the Republican state legislature and supported by Governor James R. "Rick" Perry threatened to put stringent, prohibitive requirements on abortion clinics (the intents of which put as many of them out of business as possible), Senator Davis took to the floor and started talking . . . and talking . . . and talking . . . and talking. When it was all over, she, along with her allies in the state Senate, had successfully blocked the anti-abortion bill . . . for the time being. As of this writing, it's likely to pass in a special session and make it to Governor Perry's desk for his signature, but Wendy Davis's filibuster has made her the talk of the American left.
One unanswered question is how Mrs. Davis can capitalize on her new celebrity. American progressives don't have a good track record of sustaining momentum for themselves or their causes these days, and the "rising stars" among them are known to burn out quickly. Mrs. Davis is already being talked about as the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor of Texas, but given that the Republicans rule that state with an iron fist, her prospects are iffy at best. She may have already struck her first major blow, though; Perry is not seeking re-election as governor of Texas in 2014.
Fun facts: The former Wendy Russell was born in Rhode Island, and her family moved to Texas when she was eleven; her father was a local actor and director who founded the Stage West Theatre in Fort Worth. New England roots? Her father was a stage actor? Mrs. Davis might not be Texan enough for the governor's mansion!