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 headlines capture the essence of Wendy-mania:
CNN: Wendy Davis: From Teen Mom to Harvard Law to Famous Filibuster
Bloomberg: Texas Filibuster Star Rose From Teen Mom to Harvard Law
The Independent (UK): Wendy Davis: Single Mother From Trailer Park Who Has Become Heroine of Pro-Choice Movement
Cosmopolitan: Find a Sugar Daddy to Put You Through Law School!
Actually, that last one I made up, but as we now know, it’s more accurate than Davis’ rags-to-riches life story.
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.”
Actually, the truth is much simpler than her story. Also, be sure to look for that “as often happens” excuse the next time a Republican gets caught lying about his resume.
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.
Her big lies were about the obstacles she had to overcome and how she overcame them, not about how old she was at the time of her first divorce.