Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator running for governor, became a liberal superhero last June when she filibustered a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. (This was the good filibuster, not that awful filibuster three months later by Ted Cruz — that was just grandstanding.)
Apart from her enthusiasm for abortion (and you have to admit, abortion is really cool), the centerpiece of Davis’ campaign is her life story. Also the fact that she’s a progressive woman who doesn’t look like Betty Friedan.
In a typical formulation, Time magazine said Davis was someone who could give the Democrats “‘real people’ credibility,” based on “her own personal story — an absent father, a sixth-grade-educated mother, a teen pregnancy, followed by life as a single mom in a mobile home, then community college and, at last, Harvard Law School.”
The truth was gently revealed in the Dallas Morning News this week. Far from an attack, this was a puff-piece written by Wayne Slater, rabid partisan Democratic hack and co-author of the book, “Bush’s Brain.” (He is not an admirer of Bush’s brain.) It would be like Sean Hannity breaking a scandal about Ted Cruz.
The first hint that Slater was trying to help Davis get ahead of the story and tilt it her way is his comment that Davis’ life story is “more complicated” than her version — i.e., completely the opposite — adding, “as often happens when public figures aim to define themselves.”
Slater’s peculiar obsession with whether Davis was 19 or 21 when she got her first divorce, and exactly how long she lived in a trailer home, is meant to deflect attention from something much more problematic: the huge whoppers Davis told.
She claims she was raised by a single mother, went to work at age 14 to support her family, became a single mother herself in her teens, and then — by sheer pluck and determination — pulled herself out of the trailer park to graduate from Harvard Law School!
Point No. 4: As for being a single mother at age 19 — she wasn’t a “single mother” in the traditional sense, either. She was married at age 18, had a child at 19 and divorced her first husband, a construction worker, at 21. (He couldn’t afford tuition at Harvard.)
Just a few years after her first divorce, Wendy was on the make, asking to date Jeff Davis, a rich lawyer 13 years her senior, who frequented her father’s dinner club. In short order, they married and had a child together.
Slater says Davis’ kids lived with Jeff Davis in Texas while she attended law school. Wendy Davis claims her girls lived with her during her first year of law school. Let’s say that’s true. Why not the other two years? And what was the matter with the University of Texas Law School?
Sorry, MSNBC, I know you want to fixate on how many months Davis spent in the trailer park and her precise age when the first divorce went through. And that would be an incredibly stupid thing for conservatives to obsess on, if they were, in fact, obsessing on it. But I’m still stuck on her leaving her kids behind while she headed off to a law school 1,500 miles away.
The reason Wendy Davis’ apocryphal story was impressive is that single mothers have to run a household, take care of kids and provide for a family all by themselves. But Wendy was neither supporting her kids, nor raising them. If someone else is taking care of your kids and paying your tuition, that’s not amazing.
Mr. Davis told the Dallas Morning News that Wendy dumped him as soon as he had finished paying off her Harvard Law School loan. “It was ironic,” he said. “I made the last payment, and it was the next day she left.”
In his petition for divorce, Mr. Davis accused his wife of adultery. The court made no finding on infidelity, but awarded him full custody of their underage child and ordered Wendy to pay child support.
In response to Wayne Slater’s faux-“expose,” naturally Davis put out a statement denouncing … her probable Republican opponent, Greg Abbott. Again, Slater wrote the story. But Davis blathered on, blaming Abbott for the Dallas Morning News story and complaining that he hasn’t “walked a day in my shoes.”