The Corner

Governor Perry Appropriately Compliments Wendy Davis; Left Goes Crazy

“Perry Launches Vicious Attack On Texas Lawmaker” — so declares the Huffington Post on its front page. The story itself claims Texas Governor Rick Perry jabbed new feminist hero Wendy Davis “for being a teen mom.” Reading on, I see that Davis herself reacted with outrage, declaring in a statement:

Rick Perry’s statement is without dignity and tarnishes the high office he holds,” she said. “They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view. Our governor should reflect our Texas values. Sadly, Gov. Perry fails that test.”

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, was similarly upset:

Rick Perry’s remarks are incredibly condescending and insulting to women,” Richards said. “This is exactly why the vast majority of Texans believe that politicians shouldn’t be involved in a woman’s personal health care decisions. Women are perfectly capable of deciding whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy, or raise a child, and they don’t need Rick Perry’s help making that decision.

And here’s Daily Kos writer Joan McCarter:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is digging his hole deeper with women, and decent people, with his War on Women, and he’s making it really ugly, and really personal about his new nemesis, Sen. Wendy Davis.

I could go on (and on and on) with the outraged commentary in the Twitterverse and lefty websites, but the tenor of the commentary is clear. Governor Perry said terrible things.  Awful things.  

What did he actually say? This:

“Who are we to say that children born in the worst of circumstances can’t grow to live successful lives?  In fact, even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. She was the daughter of a single woman, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas senate,” Perry said Thursday in a speech to the National Right to Life Convention. “It is just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.”

In many ways, Senator Davis has a remarkable and admirable life story to tell. A child of a single mom who chose life, she has — through grit and determination — done some amazing things. Governor Perry’s first statement regarding her life story is a compliment — an appropriate and generous thing to say about a political opponent.

The next remark is, quite simply, the obvious thing to say. In fact, the Governor is more tempered than he needs to be.  It’s not just “unfortunate,” it’s tragic that she has taken the remarkable gifts that she’s been given and the remarkable achievements she’s earned and turned them toward the cause of death.

The Left grabs the smelling salts not because Governor Perry’s words are outrageous but because they hit upon a moral truth the abortion industry is desperate to deny: No person should judge the worth or potential of another person’s life — especially when that judgment can have fatal consequences. No mother, no father, no family member, and no doctor is qualified to judge whether a child’s life is worth living. An abortion isn’t a “personal health care decision,” it’s a decision to kill another human being — a person with the potential to live a life just as remarkable as Senator Davis’s.

Conservatives should be proud not just of Governor Perry’s action in calling back the legislature, but also of his generous and honest rhetoric in the defense of life.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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