On the National scene, the Wendy Davis nontroversy is dying down, but in Texas it's just getting started. The Wendy Davis story and all it's "nuances" came out in September 2013. It was published by The Texas Tribune. The comments from 4 months ago are not much different than what I've heard this week. She's ProChoice, which could be risky in Texas. She's voted both for and against Republican agendas, which gives her trouble from the left (for the for part). She received $200,000 in contributions from billionaire, Sid Bass, which raises eyebrows. I'm not sure nuanced covers Wendy Davis. The fact remains, Wayne Slater's article covered no new ground that wasn't out there before. Why Swiftboat her? Because it will work? That's telling about what Greg Abbott's campaign thinks about the Texan electorate.
In the movie, People Like Us, Chris Pine's advice to his nephew included "Don't sleep with anyone who has more problems than you", which is pretty good advice. It's shorter, but similar to the advice my Republican, Christian fundamentalist family members gave me growing up. Like many of us, Wendy Davis made good and bad choices in her life. It seems her worst offenses are that she's twice divorced, ProChoice, ambitious, female, sometimes an absent Mom, one time single mother, Democrat who picks political fights. Gosh, if she had a penis she'd be earning kudos and descriptions of being a real go getter. Wendy Davis' life story tells me she learns life's lessons. She married well after not marrying well and now she's single and dating another man. Which is it conservatives? Is the path out of poverty marriage? If it is, then why criticize her for implementing that advice to her full advantage? Wendy Davis was not a dead beat Mom. She doesn't "need" a man anymore. Is that the "real" issue? Oh, yeah, I forgot, she's a Democrat....and a woman, ambitious, ProChoice candidate who picks political fights and did I mention she's twice divorced? now single, absent Mom during 2 years of law school and post the second divorce? That's Unforgivable? This disqualifies her as a candidate?
Screw that! I think her messy personal life is part of her story. She made better and wiser choices as she went along her life. I like people who learn from their mistakes. She said she was a single mother and that was true. She lived an uncertain life from when her parents divorced until she put herself on track at age 21. She got married for the sake of her pregnancy and as typical, it didn't work out. She was well along her track when she married Jeff Davis at age 24. The innuendo of what Wendy Davis did while living alone in Cambridge, MA (without any proof) is what this is about. A "good" Texas girl doesn't put her ambitions ahead of her family and she certainly doesn't leave her children with a nurturing Dad to go to Harvard....even if the kids will thrive and it will pay off within 10 years after getting that law degree.
A couple men in Texas show their disdain for ambitious women who use their marriages to their advantage. The ROI on a Harvard law degree is far greater than what it cost to obtain it, but that didn't make it into Wayne Slater's analysis. Wendy Davis haters can't stand an independent woman who used her marriage like men use marriage to their advantage. They downplay Greg Abbott's position statements that are hostile to women, children the uninsured, immigrants, disabled, people in poverty and people who might not have picture perfect ID that want to vote.
Wendy Davis did benefit by a marriage to an older man, but so did he. Jeff Davis got two beautiful daughters, a nice home and part of the proceeds from selling Safeco Title Company that he started in 1995 while she worked at another law firm. She became an officer at Safeco a couple years later. Slater didn't ask about where the capital to start the Safeco came from after Jeff Davis sort of (not really) left where? exactly? (it's blurry). Dare I ask; did Jeff Davis use (gasp!) marital assets to start the new company in 1995? Slater not only glosses over the idea Wendy Davis contributing to her marriage, but he didn't comment on the blurry details in Republic Title which has "its roots beginning in 1965". How exactly is Jeff Davis a "founder" of Republic Title when in 1965 he was 15 years old? Jeff Davis' bio page says he joined Republic Title when he became Chairman of the Board 2004. Please, explain that root business and how you can be a founder of a company that has it's roots 29 years prior to you joining it. And what does First American Title Insurance Company have to do with Safeco? Was that part of the divorce settlement? I guess it's blurry because it's complicated. I'm sure everything Jeff Davis said is substantially true, besides, Jeff Davis is a guy who isn't running for Texas governor. All Slater did was write what an ex-husband had to say about his former wife. That fact alone offers enough "clarity" to me when it comes to Wendy Davis' personal history.
Slater also ignores the reality that Jeff Davis didn't do the course work at TCU or Harvard. She wrote the papers. She took the exams. She passed the bar. She got her own jobs in law. The degree and law license has her name on it, not his. Jeff Davis made introductions for his wife, but she closed the deals. She lost, then won her elections. He paid the bills? That's all you got? I'd need to see proof that shows Wendy Davis didn't contribute a dime toward her household. I'd like to see Slater write about any male candidate who has a supportive wife the same way he wrote about Wendy Davis.
Another thing nagged me while I was reading Wayne Slater's article. This is a reporter who traveled with George W. Bush for two years leading up to the 2000 election. He co-wrote a few books with James Moore about his experiences and analysis of Karl Rove. In one, he mentions his wife, Dianne. He also has a son, Todd. I don't presume to know Mr. Slater's personal relationship with his family, but how did he manage to travel on the job for 2 years, 1998-2000 and write a few books between then and 2007) without being an absent Dad or receiving the "help" of his family? This inquiring mind wants to know how you do that? ...especially the traveling for 2 years without being an absent husband/parent starting 15 years ago. Who paid the bills, got the car and house repairs? Who mowed the lawn? More importantly, in hindsight of Slater's work history, why isn't he more objective? Why the snide antagonism? Why the double standard? Is it because Slater knows the temptations of living away from your family? See how unfair, but easy it is to smear someone with a concern troll comment? I have no reason to think Slater isn't a stand up guy. I'm sure what he's written is true for the most part, but some aspects of his reporting is blurry. Words matter.
Slater's piece is a little too smarmy. Too paternalistic. Too cherry picked. It relies on an ex-husband and ex-nameless colleague who wants his trash talk to remain anonymous. It's great gotcha journalism with a lot of smoke, but not much fire. I would be hard pressed to tell you the year I was divorced from my first husband without looking at the divorce decree. (I think it was 1982, or was it 83? eh, I don't care.) Any honest objective person would view these "discrepancies" and see it for what it is, a lack of attention to detail due to not realizing she would be targeted by a gotcha reporter. Greg Abbott has no reason to like Wayne Slater either. Wayne Slater is in the business of getting people to read his bylines which requires him to write compelling articles. He's good at it. It's up to us to read between the lines.
Wendy Davis's voting record is what should be used to evaluate her. She is good from a liberal point of view on environmental issues, got a 17% rating from the NRA and an endorsement from the AFL-CIO. She also is grudgingly liked by a lot of wealthy business people. She's got the ear of many public officials. As a city council member, negotiated to "scale back lucrative pension benefits" for city unionized workers. Wendy Davis is a Centrist in the Democratic Party. She isn't quiet. She's ambitious and she made her own luck after she turned 21, which may be her most unforgivable sin in the eyes of status quo fanatics.
If you don't want to support Wendy Davis because of her political positions, fine; but if you don't like her because of her personal ambitions, that's bunk. It's time for Texas to call out this swiftboating bullshit.
UPDATE 1-25-2014 11:45 EST: Just saw an article on Raw Story. Tea Party Republican Todd Kincannon has been spewing hateful tweets at Wendy Davis all week with no sign of letting up. He calls her a whore and more. If you think this will blow over. uh, maybe not. Facts are optional among people like Todd Kincannon.
Full disclosure. I have been in a committed, loving marriage for the last 26 years. We have shamelessly used each other to promote our physical and financial health. We pool our resources and split our responsibilities according to our individual talents.
6:24 PM PT: Whoa! Go out to the Hollywood Abracadabra Art Show, dinner and come back to rescue and then recommended. Sorry I wasn't here to field comments. I'm here now.