Talk about mama grizzlies! When one of their own is threatened, Democrats in the media rush to circle the wagons. (Metaphor alert, James?) In Wendy Davis’s case, they do this in the usual way: they ignore the real issues, and mischaracterize conservatives’ criticisms. So today, CNN included Davis in a story titled “When rising political stars fall to Earth.” Davis’s troubles are mingled with those of Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell and Rob Ford. Here is how CNN describes the meltdown of Davis’s candidacy:
A Dallas newspaper found some discrepancies – that her ex-husband cashed in his 401k to help pay her way through college and how long the single mother lived in a mobile home – minor points, maybe, but enough to give Republicans the chance to question everything.
Got that? Minor points, but enough to provide fodder for those nasty Republicans. CNN fails to acknowledge that Wendy Davis’s autobiography, which is essentially the only rationale for her candidacy, was mostly a lie. To understand how fundamental Davis’s dishonesty has been, you have to go back to the way she described herself before the facts started to come out last week. This account is now gone from her web site; it is reproduced courtesy of the Wayback Machine:
Like any true Texan, Wendy Davis has taken on her share of tough fights.
Raised by a single mother with a sixth grade education, Wendy began working after school at age 14 to help support her mom and three siblings. By 19, she was on her way to becoming a single mother, working two jobs just to make ends meet.
Knowing that education was the only path to creating a better life for her young daughter, Wendy enrolled at Tarrant County Community College. After two years, she transferred to Texas Christian University. With the help of academic scholarships, student loans, and state and federal grants, Wendy became the first person in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree, graduated first in her class, and went on to Harvard Law School.
Davis’s identity as a plucky single mother, an inspiration to single mothers everywhere, was central to her campaign. But here’s the problem: she wasn’t single! Notice that Davis airbrushed her second husband, Jeff Davis, completely out of the picture. But in fact, it was her husband, a lawyer 13 years her senior, who paid Davis’s way through TCU and Harvard Law School. Not only that, she left him the day after he made her last law school tuition payment. Ouch!
And there’s more: when Wendy walked out on Jeff Davis, she left her two children behind, giving him custody not only of the daughter they had together, but also of Wendy’s older daughter by her first husband. As Jeff Davis later explained, it just wasn’t a good time for Wendy to be a mother. So single mother Wendy Davis wasn’t single, and it appears she wasn’t much committed to motherhood, either.
Politico joined the save-Wendy campaign with this astonishing headline; click to enlarge:
The most judged woman in America? Not while Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are around!
And the subheading is laughable: “Wendy Davis did make a mistake. She thought that we were ready for a single mother.” Before you even read the article, you can see that its purpose will be obfuscation. Like this:
[W]hat does seem clear is that she is being subjected to a double standard. Behavior that would be unremarkable in a man—leaving your kids for prolonged periods in the capable hands of your spouse, as Barack Obama did, as did zillions of other fathers who campaigned for public office—is somehow suspect, even unnatural, in a mother.
Here’s the thing: it is possible that a man might do what Wendy Davis did–marry a wealthy, successful and considerably older woman; get her to pay his way through college and law school; leave her and the children behind as soon as she finished paying his tuition; and then run for public office. A man might do this, but if he did, he would not make his “personal story” as a “single father” the centerpiece of his campaign. Not without getting laughed out of the race, anyway. Wendy Davis’s problem isn’t that she is a single mother, her problem is that she is a liar, a fact which no amount of media whitewashing will cover up.