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tx gop says no to big gov't: film at 11.

march 3, 2010 11:57 am

From the "if you can't find a news story to tweet, write it yourself" desk---

Yesterday's GOP primary vote in Texas featured five non-binding ballot propositions. No law can result from such propositions; they're simply a means of gauging support for hypothetical legislation among the party faithful (see also, "firing up the base"). In a state where there is no mechanism for voters to get a proposed law onto the ballot directly, the ballot proposition mechanism is a crucial way for Republicans to test the political waters on an issue before expending the effort to propose a bill themselves. (State Democrats, for reasons of their own, aren't nearly as enthusiastic about ballot propositions, and this year offered none at all.)

Proposition 5 was a blatant come-on to the anti-choice hard right. It reads as follows:

The Texas Legislature should enact legislation requiring a sonogram to be performed and shown to each mother about to undergo a medically unnecessary, elective abortion.

They're not asking, as some other legislatures have, that abortion providers be required to offer women ("mothers") the option of seeing a sonogram. The proposition says the ultrasound will be performed and will be shown. No word on a funding source for the A Clockwork Orange-style machine to hold open the women's eyelids and the staff to administer the moistening eye drops, and no word on how this proposition doesn't make a mockery of any and all right-wing protestations regarding the unacceptability of intrusion into healthcare.

It seems that 32% of GOP voters themselves had some of the same questions in mind when they voted "no" on Proposition 5. "Yes" votes remained the majority, but the 68% support that Proposition 5 was able to muster is shockingly small when compared to the 92% to 95% support that every other GOP ballot proposition won in yesterday's vote.

93% of voters favored mandatory photo identification from voters at polling places. 92% supported strict formulaic limits to state government budgets. 93% thought Congress should cut federal taxes. And 95% want to see more God, more prayers, and more Ten Commandments on government property and in government events. The subject matter covered by these propositions reads less like a selection of issues up for any substantial debate within the party, and more like a feel-good affirmation of shared values embraced by nearly all of the American right wing.

In that light, Proposition 5's lousy 68% affirmative vote should be viewed as both an embarrassment to the Texas Republican Party, and as a warning. It turns out that quite a lot of God-fearing, tax-hating conservative voters are against Big Government, whether it's their Big Government or the other side's. If 68% is the best they can do among the primary-going base, such legislation just has no future in Texas. The antichoice waters are running very cold indeed.


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