Wendy Davis rocketed to prominence after conducting a filibuster against abortion regulations during the Texas state legislature’s special session last summer. Riding the wave of favorable publicity she generated, Davis is now a legitimate contender for the office of Governor.
As happens too often these days, though, Davis’ ascent stems not so much from the quality of her arguments about abortion, but from her “life story.” The Dallas News explains:
While her state Senate filibuster last year captured national attention, it is her biography — a divorced teenage mother living in a trailer who earned her way to Harvard and political achievement — that her team is using to attract voters and boost fundraising.
Unfortunately, as also happens too often these days, Davis’ autobiography is dishonest in a number of respects, some of them material.
First, Davis was never a divorced teenage mother. She was 21, not 19 as claimed, at the time of her divorce.
This discrepancy isn’t huge, although one can only imagine what would be made of it if the “autobiographer” were Ted Cruz or Chris Christie. But Davis has testified under oath that “I got divorced by the time I was 19 years old.” To me, this makes her error significant.
Second, Davis lived only briefly in the family mobile home before moving into an apartment with her daughter.
Third, and materially, Davis did not work her way through college and law school. She married a lawyer — thirteen years older — and he paid for her last two years of college and then for her education at Harvard Law School.
To pay the Harvard bills, her husband cashed in his 401(k) account and eventually took out a loan to pay for the final year. Immediately thereafter, Davis divorced the man, who by now had served her purposes. “I made the last payment, and it was the next day she left,” he recalled. He now has custody of her two children — one by him and one by her first husband.
To say that Davis earned her way through college and law school is a way of putting it. But now that the facts are known, I doubt Davis wants to put it that way.
Davis’ response to the revelation of her falsehoods is as pathetic as the falsehoods themselves. “My language should be tighter,” she said, “I’m learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail.”
Translation: “I’m learning that lying can get me into trouble.”
But will it? Lying about one’s biography is no big deal in Massachusetts, where another feminist icon, Elizabeth Warren, shrugged off her false claim to be an Indian and defeated a popular incumbent Senator. Nor did it matter in New Jersey, where the lying Corey Booker breezed to victory in his Senate race. Unfortunately for Davis, she is running in Texas, where left-wing Democrats have considerably less margin for error and where, perhaps, the truth still counts for something.
It doesn’t count for much among feminists and their pals in the mainstream media, though. As Andrew Stiles observes, most media outlets are down-playing, and indeed mischaracterizing, Davis’ fibs:
“Wendy Davis tells a fuller version of her rags-to-riches story,” CBS News tweeted on Monday. CNN observed that Davis’s life story is now “more complicated” than the “compelling narrative” she had originally presented. MSNBC was quick to cast the story from an anti-GOP angle: “Right pounces on news that Wendy Davis embellished life story,” a familiar position from which to launch the inevitable follow-up: “Will Republicans overreach?”
From here, it’s only a short step to claiming that attacks on Davis’ veracity are — you guessed it — part of the Republicans’ War on Women. MSNBC takes that small step:
According to MSNBC, the real reason conservatives “pounced” on the story is that they loathe Davis for “making life choices they disagree with — including the decision, as a mother, to prioritize her career.” And adding to the charge of sexism, MSNBC adds, “It’s hard to imagine those choices generating criticism were Wendy Davis a man.”
But the only choice that may get Davis into trouble is her decision to lie.
The lesson, once again, is that the demands of core Democratic constituencies entail the abandonment of standards that underpin the success and cohesion of our society. The leaders of certain minority groups demand that standards for college admission, employment, avoiding school discipline, avoiding incarceration, and so forth be lowered or in some cases eliminated.
Feminists, for their part, demand that standards of ordinary honesty be waived in the service of enabling the embellishment of feminist narratives. To call feminists on their embellished narratives is “sexism.”
It’s just another front in the left’s war on standards.