Wendy Davis’s inauthentic authenticity.
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Remember the Texas legislative session last June and Ft. Worth State Senator Wendy Davis’s eleven hour filibuster to block a bill making abortions illegal in Texas after 20 weeks? She became an instant darling of east coast liberals and much of the media.
On that rise in profile, she announced her candidacy for Texas governor. Ms. Davis’s life narrative, as she originally put it forth, is practically irresistible to liberals. In addition to the high-profile support of late-term abortion that put her on the map, Ms. Davis claims teen-aged single motherhood, multiple divorces, time spent living in a trailer park and a rags-to-riches bootstrapping of an Ivy League law degree.
There’s just one problem. Much of it isn’t true.
Ms. Davis’s website said, “By 19, Wendy was a single mother.” It turns out that Ms. Davis filed for divorce when she was 20 and the divorce wasn’t final until she was 21.
Let’s call that one a minor discrepancy (except stay tuned for some details on Wendy Davis as a mother).
Her story then has her living in a trailer park – which she did. But only for a few months before she moved in with her mother prior to getting an apartment of her own.
Let’s call that one a fairly minor embellishment of what was technically true.
But she then went on to say on her website that she got through undergraduate and law school “with the help of academic scholarships and student loans.”
Here we start to see some daylight open up between Ms. Davis’s story and the actual facts.
What Wendy Davis failed to include in her education résumé is that she married Jeffry Davis, a successful Ft. Worth attorney 13 years her senior. He cashed his 401(k) and took out a ten year loan in order to fund Ms. Davis’s last two years of undergraduate study at TCU and her law school education at Harvard.
What she also failed to say on her website is that while attending Harvard, she left her by then two children with her husband Jeff in Ft. Worth while she was in Boston. (I don’t know about you but for me, leaving one’s children behind while going off to school for three years on someone else’s dime pretty much zeroes out the whole single mother story.)
Jeff Davis paid off the loans he took out for Wendy in 2003. One day after he made the final payment, she left him.
In the divorce, Jeff Davis got custody of the child they had together. Wendy pays Jeff child support. Highly unusual in Texas.
What emerges from Wendy Davis’s story and its discrepancies is that she embellished or outright fabricated parts of her story to make it more appealing to her base. That’s not the first time a politician has done that.
What strikes me, though, is what the embellishments say about that base. It’s instructive to examine what is emphasized and what gets left out. Wendy Davis does not hasten to tell you that she graduated number one in her class at TCU with a BA in English. Nor does she tell you that she graduated Harvard Law School cum laude.
Instead she emphasizes her teen pregnancy and more or less concocts her single motherhood – all the while leaving out or minimizing her admirable academic achievements.
Thus the questions. Why do Democrats think they need a poverty narrative – even if it’s bogus? Why is an unwed pregnancy held in the spotlight while genuine achievement is de-emphasized?
If Wendy Davis held all of her same political views (among the most liberal in the Texas Senate) but was otherwise married to the father of her children – and if she was devoid of anything real or imagined that can be construed as having ever lived in poverty, would she still be as big with east coast liberals and the media?
Why does it seem that a woman must have teenaged single motherhood on her résumé in order to have ‘street cred’ as a Democrat? (Does anyone remember that Republicans were worried when they learned at the 2008 GOP convention that Sarah Palin’s daughter was pregnant?)
And, to put the sharpest point on it, what does the very asking of these questions say about the party of Truman and Kennedy?