Above: Noted tea party activist Sun Tzu, depicted during a women's outreach campaign.
Oh, what a week of WTF.
Last week, the Observer’s senior WTFologist Patrick Michels devoted this space to a revealing, deep-dig look at the relationship between one Texas man and a beaver. This week, we start, instead, with women. You know women, right? They’re like men, but different.
1) Attorney General Greg Abbott got lured into a debate over equal pay, so our state’s fourth estate got to go around asking Republican women what they thought about it. In normal circumstances, this would have been as perfunctory an exercise as you could imagine: Republicans generate talking points. They speak those talking points into a camera or microphone. C’est fini.
Making this even easier, a friend pointed out recently, is that our generation’s foremost/most insufferable political scribe, Aaron Sorkin, wrote out a pretty good response to this question some 13 years ago, when he had Republican Woman character Ainsley Hayes of The West Wing, a long-running political tutorial for Millennials on NBC, argue against the Equal Rights Amendment. Women don’t need “special” rights and protections, redundant laws are bad, etc.
Instead, Texas Republican Party Executive Director Beth Cubriel put her Netflix subscription aside and took a different tack. Women are paid less in Texas because they’re too soft and timid—unlike Beth Cubriel.
Men are better negotiators. I would encourage women instead of pursuing the courts for action to become better negotiators.
Putting aside the fact that Cubriel is only talking to women in professional fields—Lilly Ledbetter, the inspiration for the federal equal pay act, worked in a tire factory, presumably a place where most workers have little ability to “negotiate” the size of their paychecks—and the fact that women are held to different standards than men when it comes to being assertive in the workplace, Cubriel’s response was, at least, cogent.
Then there’s Cari Christman, the Executive Director of the RedState Women PAC. Christman gained national fame for arguing that women were “too busy” to use the court system, but it’s worth quoting in full:
If you look at it, women are extremely busy. We lead busy lives whether we are working professionally, working from home. And times are extremely, extremely busy. It’s just a busy cycle for women and we’ve got a lot to juggle.
Happy Friday, ladies.
2. Michael Q. Sullivan, the conservative powerbroker in the middle of a years-long brawl with the Ethics Commission, likes to present himself as a happy warrior connecting the people—the ones that matter, anyway—with the Midland oil zillionaire who can finance their aspiration to dismantle much of state government. But it does seem like word is getting out. When a policial scientist at Southern Methodist University told the Austin American-Statesman that MQS was “vengeful” and “short-tempered,” it was eye-catching.
But that’s just the view of an outsider. Sullivan’s groups are staffed by a small and close-knit crew, and I bet they feel differently about their enterprise. Just look at this heartwarming Sullivan tweet, recounting a playful exchange between Empower Texans’ Executive Director Dustin Matocha and Development Director Nathan Ofe:
3. When state Sen. Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) was forced into a primary runoff to defend his seat, it was something of a surprise—few saw it coming. Who was this newcomer Bob Hall, this “strong conservative leader” who could shock a longtime incumbent like this? This bold new tea party warrior must have a future with the party—what’s his story, Dallas Morning News?
Hall and his former wife, Jane E. Hall, had been divorced four years when they took their allegations against each other in July 1994 into Florida courts. In seeking a protective order against Hall, she said in a document filed in Okaloosa County that she asked Hall to leave her house during a confrontation over alimony. She said he began screaming and threatened to quit paying.
“Asked to leave my house, he refused and became more violent, physically attacking me,” she said. “During our twenty-three years of marriage, he was prone to furious rages. I was physically, sexually and verbally abused for most of our marriage.”
In response, a judge prohibited Hall from “assaulting, battering or otherwise physically abusing the petitioner.”
Hall owned a Florida-based company, Professional Proposal Management Inc., that assisted businesses in obtaining federal contacts.
He racked up nearly $165,000 in federal tax liens on his Florida properties over a 20-year period because of unpaid federal taxes, according to court records in Santa Rosa County, Fla.
4. Let’s play a game: Militia leader, or probable state representative? Today’s contestant is lawnchair warrior Phillip Eby. Eby’s real, real mad, he told a conservative gathering in Bosque County this week. Tyranny washes over our state, sickening the body politic like one too many Lone Stars:
The truth of the matter is that we’re in a war for conservative principles, and we’ve been losing that war. The question is: why are we losing? I’m tired of losing. I don’t know if y’all are tired of losing, but I’m tired of watching freedom lose every time and tyranny take control.
Wait for it:
Sun Tzu said in his classic work, The Art of War, that if you know yourself, and you know your opponent, you will never lose. […] The question is, who is our opponent?
Most people today say that the Democrats are our opponent. And they’re right, they are. But in some ways they’re wrong, also. Our opponent is not a person, or a group. Our opponent is an idea. And that idea is the idea of Collectivism.
In Texas, we’ve been winning for years, as Republicans, yet we’re still losing the battle of conservative values so often. It’s because we have Republicans who are infected by the idea of collectivism.
The difference between Eby and other white dweebs who’ve built an ethos around Sun Tzu is that he’s currently the favorite in a primary runoff to replace retiring state representative Rob Orr. He won 40 percent of his primary, and is floating toward the Capitol, where he’ll help preside over collectivist endeavors like the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Education Agency. So make hay while the sun shines, fellow WTFers.