Ever since Texas state senator Wendy Davis’s 11-hour filibuster on Tuesday opposing new safety regulations to abortion clinics, the liberal media have joined in cheering her efforts to block the popular legislation in Texas. Despite the overwhelming support for Ms. Davis, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough seems to be the lone individual on MSNBC refusing to give in to the media obsession with her.
During an interview on Morning Joe on Friday, June 28, co-host Joe Scarborough began his interview by letting Ms. Davis and his liberal panel know that:
Let's go really briefly through the parts of the bill that you find objectionable and then want to pass it around to the table so Donny Deutsch and Harold and everybody else can provide you your victory lap. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
In great detail, Scarborough went through the individual pieces of the Texas bill, asking Ms. Davis what her objections to them were, something that MSNBC and the rest of the media have failed to do. Scarborough, unlike his colleague Chris Hayes, actually conducted a real interview with Ms. Davis, rather than in informal campaign event, challenging her filibuster and her opposition to improving safety standards in abortion clinics throughout the state of Texas.
After a lengthy and tough interview with Ms. Davis, Scarborough then turned the segment over to liberal guest Donny Deutsch, who after commenting that he’s “got the wreath to put on her” he immediately wished Ms. Davis, “Congratulations on a very bold stand.”
Deutsch had no interest in asking Ms. Davis any actual substantive questions on her pro-abortion stance, instead using his time to praise her filibuster and to slam Texas Governor Rick Perry. Unfortunately, Deutsch was not the only Morning Joe guest to cheerlead for Ms. Davis, with former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) praising her actions by observing that, “she deserves a lot of credit and I congratulate you on your courage.”
“Senator Davis is going to be a major superstar over the next of couple decades in this country” an ecstatic Donny Deutsch proclaimed, allowing Scarborough to observe that “I'm glad I asked the questions first.”
Perhaps the most obnoxious pro-Davis cheerleading question of the segment came from Leigh Gallagher of Fortune Magazine, who obnoxiously asked Davis:
How are your Mizuno sneakers doing? They got a lot of attention, almost as much attention as the filibuster itself.
Thankfully Scarborough was there to provide some substance to the campaign session that Morning Joe gave Ms. Davis. Unfortunately, it appears as though Scarborough is the lone MSNBCer who has not joined the Wendy Davis for Governor campaign.
See relevant transcript below.
June 28, 2013
7:37 a.m. EST
JOE SCARBOROUGH: With us now from Fort Worth, Texas, state Senator Wendy Davis. Harold Ford Jr. and Donny Deutsch and Fortune Magazine assistant managing editor Leigh Gallagher all with us at the table along with Robert Gibbs. Senator Davis, quite a week for you.
WENDY DAVIS: It's been a crazy week.
SCARBOROUGH: It’s been a crazy week and we're seeing that week topped off with backhanded compliments from the governor himself saying even you were able to do well given your background. What is your response to Governor Perry's remarks last night?
DAVIS: Honestly, I think it demeans the office that he holds. And clearly Governor Perry has been using this issue as one, to serve his own political purpose all along and he revealed that, of course, to an even greater extent yesterday.
SCARBOROUGH: So what is the future of this bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks and require doctors to have abortion providers to have admitting privileges in local hospitals?
DAVIS: The most significant piece of the bill actually would close 37 of the 42 abortion clinics in Texas by requiring that they meet standards of surgical centers and that's its real aim. The governor called another special session for Monday, July 1st. This bill will be placed; he did place it on the call. And so we'll take the matter up again. And I know that, obviously, there's an incredible amount of attention focused on this right now and I expect we will have a tremendous amount of citizen involvement in what happens in the next 30 days.
SCARBOROUGH: So let's go really briefly through the parts of the bill that you find objectionable and then want to pass it around to the table so Donny Deutsch and Harold and everybody else can provide you your victory lap. Guys are you ready? Are you ready to do that?
DONNY DEUTSCH: I’ve got the wreath to put on her.
SCARBOROUGH: First of all, do you think it is unreasonable for a state legislature to want to ban abortions after 20 weeks?
DAVIS: You know, I -- the question is, does that in any way promote women's health and the purported purpose for the bill is to do that and, obviously, those sorts of decisions are incredibly personal decisions of each individual liberty that we possess and in Texas we hold on to that value very strongly as I know people do elsewhere. But that particular issue, of course, doesn't really accept or understand that there are often times women who understand that they're carrying a fetus that has some very severe problems until after that 20-week pd of time and sometimes actually, if a woman has an irregular menstrual cycle she may not even know she's pregnant until after that period, And the interesting thing about the way they wrote that particular provision, they set the date from which it should be determined as the date of actual fertilization. No doctor uses that date because no one can know what that means. And what the ob gynecological association says is that would essentially have them guessing a way that would probably move that to about an 18-week fetal development and that would be something that’s not seen anywhere else in the country of course.
SCARBOROUGH: Okay. But obviously with fetuses starting to become viable soon after 20 weeks though, you can understand why that provision at least would be supported by some people in Texas and across the country. I mean what I'm trying to say, that in and of itself that's not a radical provision, right?
DAVIS: You know, it's not in the sense that it affects actually very few women because 1%, somewhere less than 1%, of abortion procedures occur past the 20-week mark so it is very rare and it usually is in those circumstances where a family has a much wanted pregnancy and unfortunately has found either that there are problems for the mother or some very severe abnormalities that the family is facing with that pregnancy.
SCARBOROUGH: Okay so Senator, let me ask you about these other provisions that you're talking about. One of them has to do with having abortion providers holding them to the same standards as surgical centers. Obviously after the horrors of Pennsylvania, after the horrors Gosnell, after the horrors a lot of Republicans blamed on a former republican governor tom ridge for lowering standards in that state, what is wrong with trying to raise the standards to not only protect women, and there was certainly one who died under Gosnell's terrible care, but also to make sure that the horrors that occurred in Philadelphia don't occur in Austin, don't occur in Pensacola, Florida, don’t occur around the nation?
DAVIS: Well, the question is, does this, indeed, create a safer climate and we asked throughout the regular session and into the special session, whether the authors of this bill, the proponents of this bill, could tell us that the clinical setting in Texas today -- and we have very high standards for what that clinical setting must be – that somehow that’s created a problem for women's health. We asked for one single example where that setting was putting women's health in jeopardy. And no one could point to a single instance of that. Instead, the true aim of this, and lieutenant governor Dewhurst tweeted this out the night the bill first passed off the senate floor before it came back to us from the house -- he tweeted out by sending something saying, SB 5 has passed through the Senate and he put up a map showing all of the clinics that would be closed basically promoting the fact and bragging about the fact that in Texas abortion was going to become a very very limited opportunity for women who were making very personal and private decisions that are constitutionally guaranteed to them.
SCARBOROUGH: And obviously -- and we talked about this over the past couple of days, you take states like I think North Dakota, there’s now I think maybe one clinic in all of North Dakota because they've been regulated out of existence. And that’s obviously a concern for those that support pro choice positions. So let me ask you about this, one final question and then I promise you we're going to turn it over and Donny Deutsch is about to go crazy, they want to carry you on your shoulders around here. But we just have to have at least one person that's not totally in the tank for you here or else it just wouldn't be good TV. It seems very reasonable to me, to require abortion providers to also be doctors that have visiting privileges at local hospitals only so you don't have the situation that happens an awful lot, from what I hear in states. And I’ll admit, I haven't studied it closely -- but I hear that you have abortion providers that will fly to an area, perform a lot of abortions, because there aren't abortion providers in that area, and then fly out with no connection to the community and no ability to go into a hospital if something happens with a procedure. Is it rational to suggest that an abortion provider in your hometown should also, if something goes terribly wrong, be able to -- have privileges at your local hospital?
DAVIS: Well, this is an issue that affects hospital autonomy as well as doctors. And it's not typically the case that hospitals have as -- admitting privileged doctors, doctors that are in the practice of medicine in this particular arena and they do have emergency doctors who are there always capable of, in emergency rooms to care for women who may have problems. What this bill actually required was that the doctor had to have active admitting privileges, meaning that doctor had to be a full-time practicing doctor within that hospital and, of course, what that would mean -- and it was purposely meant to create the situation where you would have fewer and fewer doctors who could perform these services. So if you combine the limitation on the number of facilities and then very purposely constrain the number of doctors who would be capable of performing these services for women, you've created an environment in Texas where you've put women's health at risk and that's the real issue here. Women's health if this bill were to go into law truly is put at risk and it's a sad state of affairs that politicians like Governor Perry and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst have decided that this intrusion on women's individual personal decision making should be used as a political pawn for their higher aspirations and that's exactly what's going on here.
SCARBOROUGH: Donny Deutsch.
DEUTSCH: Donny Deutsch. Congratulations on a very bold stand. And I want to ask you to take off your senator hat for a minute and put on your daughter hat, your mother hat.
DEUTSCH: Because obviously what Governor Perry said to you was very very personal and Joe asked you, you said it demeans the office. I want you to talk about you. If he said this to you at a dinner how would you respond to him as a woman? What would you say to him as a mother and a daughter, politics aside?
DAVIS: I would say to him that I had the privilege of making a choice about the path I chose for my life and I'm so proud of my daughters, but I could never for a moment put myself in the shoes of another woman confronting a difficult personal choice and it really isn't for him to make statements like that.
LEIGH GALLAGHER: Senator, Leigh Gallagher here. This is obviously a woman's health issue above anything else but unfortunately it’s also a huge political issue possibly the biggest. Demographics around the country are changing but changing in particular in Texas when you have such enormous population growth and a lot of that is coming from minority districts, minority populations, more than any other places in the country. Do you think that the political winds in Texas could shift or are in the middle of shifting at all or what's your take on that?
DAVIS: I think that the more people understand about what our leadership is really up to in Texas, yes, that's happening. We had an opportunity in Texas to actually see Governor Perry in action on the national stage and what was interesting, even though he's been the governor for such a long time here in Texas he had always avoided debates, he had always refused editorial board interviews and so he had never been subjected to that kind of public scrutiny before.
SCARBOROUGH: How do you think he did?
DAVIS: Women and men are learning that. Not too well.
SCARBOROUGH: That memory it’s a strange thing. You can't remember everything that you supported last week. I can't even remember what I had for breakfast.
DEUTSCH: Can I make a statement--
HAROLD FORD JR: She deserves a lot of credit for the democratic process is alive whether you agree with her or not. And I happen to agree with her more often. I do think we should set some limits on this but she deserves a lot of credit and I congratulate you on your courage.
DEUTSCH: Senator Davis is going to be a major superstar over the next of couple decades in this country.
SCARBOROUGH: I'm glad I asked the questions first, Donny. Leigh did you have one more--
GALLAGHER: Well I was going to ask one more question. How are your Mizuno sneakers doing? They got a lot of attention, almost as much attention as the filibuster itself.
DAVIS: I had so much fun reading the Amazon comment, the reviews of those tennis shoes yesterday. It's been a lot of fun.
SCARBOROUGH: Robert Gibbs, would you like to join in the victory parade, Robert?
ROBERT GIBBS: Look, let me ask you a question about the politics of this. Obviously, this was a filibuster that ended and abutted against the end of a session. What's the political strategy, given how few democrats are in the Texas state senate for winning this battle from your perspective in this next legislative session that Governor Perry has called?
DAVIS: The strategy honestly will be to hopefully employ the individual voices once again that really made the difference on this issue in the last special session. Obviously, they let the clock run out. They put themselves in a position where a tremendous opportunity was put in front of us. My senate democratic colleagues, when the majority, the presiding officer, tried to shut the filibuster down, were masterful at continuing to essentially take that filibuster over themselves and move us forward so close to midnight. And then ultimately the people who had observed the lieutenant governor running rough shod over the senate rules all day long couldn't take it any more. And it was their participation in the final 15 minutes, the people's filibuster that prevented that vote from occurring until 12:03 a.m. which of course meant its demise. And I think that empowered people here in Texas and across the country. And I expect that they're going to do everything they can to assure that their voices will be heard again in this next special session. I only hope that people will listen.