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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.

But mere words just didn't create a clear or strong enough mental image in the dark recesses that pass for the minds of the GOP. According to Libby Shaw's recommended diary last week, when Wendy Davis was in California to raise money for her gubernatorial campaign against Republican, Greg Abbott, Texas Republicans made sure she would see copies of the grotesque poster, seen above, displaying, as described by Time, Wendy Davis's "head on a naked Barbie doll’s body, with a tiny infant doll in her stomach and a giant pair of scissors hanging ominously, and inexplicably, over a black baby doll to her side."

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.

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).”

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.

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.

    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.


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:
“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.

Originally posted to LeftOfYou on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 08:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans and Houston Area Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (37+ / 0-)

    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

    by LeftOfYou on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 08:44:01 AM PDT

  •  Abbot poster from 2013 (12+ / 0-)

    He posted this to his Facebook page and his name is at the bottom, so he really can't run away from this.

    Texas Republicans really are classy aren't they?


    “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

    by se portland on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:10:38 AM PDT

  •  Wow! I hadn't seen that poster (12+ / 0-)

    As a resident of Texas, it has been my experience that the media plays a major pro GOP role in Texas elections. We never hear from the Democratic candidates and story after story puffs up the Republicans while giving almost no coverage to Democratic campaigns, (unless there is some kind of error on their part and then you never hear the end of it). Debates, when we see them, are often under publicized and terribly slanted in favor of the GOP. They state the terms and the Democrats accept them, perhaps taking the "higher ground" viewpoint, in that they will debate Republicans anytime, anywhere. This leaves them always playing at a disadvantage in the Republican's venue and never their own. And most Democratic candidates refuse to attack, always being on the defensive instead. Though there's not much we can do about the media until some good fairness regulations are able to be passed but the candidates are a different story. It seems for the last twenty years or more, "Democratic" strategists have become so wedded to a defensive strategy and a strategy to move so far right that they could pass for your average Republican of the 1990s, that they cannot or will not face the fact that strategy does. Not. Work. For this election, only two things can put Senator Davis over the top: 1) Stop listening to Lanny Davis and Rahm Emanuel School of Political Collapse consultants and 2) hope that the Abbott campaign keeps doing absurdly clownish, over the top things and immediately jump on them and denounce them loudly. Republicans win in this state because they are loud and appear strong. People here loved Ann Richards because she had those qualities in spades and Wendy Davis has her fire.

    All that aside, donations are extremely important too because since Davis can't rely on fairness in her free media coverage, she's going to have to buy it.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:12:24 AM PDT

  •  Texas politics can be very dirty. This poster is (8+ / 0-)

    right in there with John McCain being accused of having a black child in the South Carolina presidential primary.  There are other examples Blacks and Hispanics going thru a revolving prison door used against Mike Dukakis by George Bush in a presidential election ad.  Any one becoming govenor of Texas will be subjected to gross, pathological skullduggery if they are a Democrat.  The GOP just needs to be beaten right and proper everywhere and Texas is no exception.  They can and will be beaten since demographics and their innate need to hate most Americans is catching up with them.

  •  He is not funny! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weezilgirl, old mule, LeftOfYou

    I always vote in the Republican primaries.  Other wise, there is no democracy in Texas.  I cast my vote by guesstimating who will be the funniest candidate, if elected.  I voted for Ted Cruz through the entire primary process.  He has become one of the great comedic Senators of our time.  Almost every word, gesture, and facial expression is priceless and funny.  Our Governor Rick Perry is a scream, I'm going to miss him.  Wendy Davis will be exceedingly funny, not to mention that she is capable of doing a great job.  Gregg Abbot is a whining, self pitying little shit.  He is not funny.  He does not meet my criteria for higher office.  This is advertisement is atrocious, even by my low standards.  What if children see this?  How do you explain such mean low level venality?  Not all Republicans in Texas share this view.  I know two who can read and write.  As a handicapped veteran and Texan, I apologize to the rest of the planet for this type of venality.

  •  How disgusting. (10+ / 0-)

    Seems like not only did Abbott deny knowledge, he didn't denounce either.

    I'm forever in awe of the strength of women like Davis and Sandra Fluke to be undeterred by the vile vitriol spat at them on a regular basis.

    Tell Warner Brothers Pictures that Rooney Mara is #NotYourTigerLily.

    by ExpatGirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:49:12 AM PDT

  •  OK you liberals... (10+ / 0-)

    Now is the chance for all the progressives in our country who chortle in delight at the constant stream of Repugnican craziness that emits from Texas.
    please support Wendy's campaign and send he a few bucks.
    The national DNC might have written Texas off but we who live here need candidates like Ms Davis- and we need national support for this vital and excellent candidate.
    Come on- every das on the Kos here I read comments by folks who write about the gun-toting snake handling proto-fascists in Texas- how about contributing to some real positive change, now?


    I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

    by old mule on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:00:41 AM PDT

    •  That's why i ignore when the DNC calls now. (7+ / 0-)

      Or if i answer by accident I thank the caller and say my Democratic money stays in Texas.

      •  Agreed. Wholeheartedly (6+ / 0-)

        I used to give to the DNC and I still get their spam but I won't give again. Not until they return to Dean's (highly successful!), 50 state strategy. Gee, DNC... So you're going to concede all of the races in my state but you want me to send you money so that you can elect Democrats in safely blue California or New England while I'm left at the mercy of folks like Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott? Riiiiiiiight..... I can think of much better uses for my money than watching you piss it away losing more Democratic representation by playing the defensive "How-far-right-can-I-go-and-still-be-left-of-the-GOP", game. Fund some races in my state and in other "red" states and I'll be happy to help out in Hawaii. Until then, fuck off.

        "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

        by MargaretPOA on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:32:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  yes indeed (5+ / 0-)

        They get a lot of contributions from us, but what, exactly, do we get back?

        I am sure we get some money from them for certain national races, but do they stand for rural and Hispanic Texans?

        I guess I am just kind of tired of the way the national liberal press lets Cruz and those other assholes define me as a voter, and my state.

        Ain't right.

        I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

        by old mule on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:32:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Added to the attack on pro-choice (9+ / 0-)

    is the "Barbie" meme, similar to what Grimes is hearing from McConnell in KY.  As Davis relentlessly points out, Abbott believes women are "less than". Whether or not his campaign knew about the attack, his fanbase portraying Wendy Davis as a Barbie doll is a convenient way of relegating her and all women to the status of arm candy.  I guess when these cretins are metaphorically lying in the dust after their political asses have been kicked, they'll gain a more enlightened view of women.  Then again, probably not.

    A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury. - John Stuart Mill

    by penelope pnortney on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:05:04 AM PDT

  •  wow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    one of the most recommended comments is from someone saying that it would be nice if the government wouldn't tell women what to do with their bodies.


    by otto on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:41:59 AM PDT

  •  I'm more trying to figure out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    why the baby in the poster is black.  I'm sure it's Not About Race, because it's Never About Race.

    30, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:40:10 PM PDT

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