One nixed his signature black cowboy boots for sensible black tennis shoes. The other abandoned her pumps for pink running shoes.
If that were the only criteria, it might be fair to call it a draw in the brewing match between supporters of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s anti-Obamacare filibuster (of sorts) and Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis’ abortion filibuster.
But in politics, it’s never quite that easy.
Republican Cruz, 42, has been talking on the Senate floor since around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, in a marathon floor speech that isn’t designed to accomplish much other than draw attention to his opposition to funding President Obama’s signature health care law. Technically, it’s not a filibuster because the spectacle will not stop the Senate from holding a vote to end debate on the budget measure that Cruz opposes.
But that hasn’t stopped the comparisons to another rising star in the opposing political party.
The June filibuster that catapulted Davis from obscurity to national prominence was designed to stop, albeit temporarily, a measure that would restrict access to abortion facilities in Texas from being adopted by the legislature. Democrat Davis, 50, succeeded initially, only to have Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, call the legislature back into another special session to push the bill through.
Conservatives are taking to Twitter to protest what they view as the media’s bias against Cruz’s filibuster.
Remember when Rick Perry called the TX legislature back and Wendy Davis said she wouldn’t even bother to speak? @SenTedCruz showed up.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) September 25, 2013
In Davis’ defense, her supporters suggest the most basic difference is a technicality: Her filibuster was a real one.
Ted Cruz, just because you’re from Texas does not make you Wendy Davis. #YoureDoingItWrong
— Baratunde (@baratunde) September 25, 2013
Before you decide who did it better, there are some key difference between the two:
The filibuster rules in the Texas legislature are much harsher than the ones in the U.S. Senate.
Davis wasn’t permitted to lean against the podium or rest in any way. And the strict rules also prohibited her from speaking about anything other than the bill at hand.
On the other hand, Cruz was able to talk about just about anything on the Senate floor, and even recited a bedtime story, Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham,” to his young daughters at their bedtime.
Cruz and Davis were prohibited from eating, napping or leaving the floor, even to relieve themselves. And both got help from their colleagues, who joined them in question-and-answer sessions designed to let them rest their voices.
Cruz, however, has spoken for far longer than Davis did.
Her filibuster ended after 12 hours, but Cruz has continued speaking for more than 20 hours.
As for who did it better, you decide.