Wendy Davis’s Defenders
Her liberal supporters see criticism of her fibs as motivated by sexism.


Andrew Stiles

Following revelations that Wendy Davis fudged some of the details of her personal background and life story — a centerpiece of her long-shot gubernatorial campaign — the Left is rallying to her defense.

Predictably, rather than address the actual discrepancies in Davis’s “rags to riches” narrative, her liberal supporters have devoted most of their energy to blasting her critics as sexist foot-soldiers in the Republican party’s “war on women.”

At MSNBC, a network that recently ousted one of its hosts for suggesting someone ought to defecate in a woman’s mouth, Zachary Roth reported that conservatives had “pounced” on the Dallas Morning News report about Davis’s fibs for sinister reasons.


Roth explains that, in the mind of conservatives, Davis is at fault not for “playing fast and loose with her biography,” but for “making life choices they disagree with — including the decision, as a mother, to prioritize her career.” And just in case you didn’t grasp what he was getting at, Roth adds: “It’s hard to imagine those choices generating criticism were Wendy Davis a man.”

A ThinkProgress blogger charged that the attacks on Davis were drawn from a “classic sexist playbook,” and seemed to find hidden malice in Morning News reporter Wayne Slater’s innocuous statement that, owing to the admitted discrepancies in Davis’s personal narrative, “Some will question how much of her success was her own doing, and how bad her circumstances were to start.” The left-wing blogger argues that such questions are clearly absurd, citing as evidence the fact that Davis herself insists that such questions are, in fact, “absurd.”

The New Republic asks: What’s the big deal? “The most paradigmatic political narratives — from Marco Rubio’s to Barack Obama’s — are almost always achieved with a touch of creative license,” wrote Nora Caplan-Bricker. Of course, “it’s worth asking why Davis felt compelled to play up her trailer park origins,” but certainly not worth “dwelling on this point.”

Feminist writers such as Jessica Valenti went after the Morning News for “trying to paint Wendy Davis a bad mother & gold-digger,” and presumably for quoting Davis’s second husband, Jeff Davis, who noted that their relationship ended almost immediately after he made the final payment on her Harvard Law School loan. “It was ironic,” he said. “I made the last payment, and it was the next day she left.” “Give me a [f***ing] break,” Valenti rebutted. She later wrote that she “look[s] forward to the day a male politician is criticized for having a spouse that supported his career.”

Amanda Marcotte and others claimed that the real “scandal” in the eyes of Davis’s critics was the fact that her ex-husband had generously supported her career, just “as wives have done since time immemorial.” Liberal blogger Sarah Jones informed us that criticism of Davis was a reminder of how “conservatives view working women with contempt.” To conservatives, “if [a] woman dares to rely on [her husband’s] money, she is a very bad person who is stealing from man [sic],” Jones explained.

Jones ends on a note that pretty much sums up the liberal reaction to criticism about Davis and her “fuzzy facts”:

For Ms. Davis’ part, she has vowed to be more precise in her language, which is as it should be. But forgive me if I am more appalled by the vicious attacks from a party that pretends it’s Pro life and then removes social safety nets from single parents and demonizes single mothers and women in general, leaving vulnerable children to starve.

Sure, she may have lied. But Republicans want to murder your kids.

— Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online.

Meme Watch: Wendy Davis
Recent revelations that Texas politician and pro-abortion celebrity Wendy Davis fudged parts of her biography drew fire from critics who lambasted both Davis and the mainstream media for failing to dig into her past until now. Here’s a look at some Twitter commentary, illustrated by NR.
“Wendy Davis needs a man like a fish needs a rich bicycle that will pay its way through fish law school and take full custody of its spawn.” (@exjon)
“Wendy Davis Feminism: Stand By Your Man Until the Bills Are Paid” (@NolteNC)
”Blurred lines is a Robin Thicke song. It is not interchangeable with "lie." (@DLoesch)
“Hired Wendy Davis PR firm to redo my bio. Turns out I was orphaned. Then reform school, migrant worker. Very inspiring.” (@patsajak)
“So Abortion Barbie had a Sugar Daddy Ken. No exactly the bio she claimed.” (@EWErickson)
“Toots, no one is to blame but YOU and YOUR OWN lies for political gain. Here's the Cliffnote's version: You. Are. Insane.” (@LilMissRightie)
“@WendydavisTexas stands behind every word of her life story, says her spokesperson, Manti T'eo's girlfriend.” (@SooperMexican)
“Next, Wendy Davis will claim she bought her pink tennis shoes from a 1/32nd-Cherokee friend named T-Bone." (@exjon)
“Wendy Davis should really chat with Liz Warren about how to fabricate life stories.” (@guypbenson)
“Wendy Davis should just pack up and move to Massachusetts right away. The voters here love Harvard chicks who are complete frauds.” (@LADowd)
“Seems Obama and #WendyDavis are cut from the same "rewrite your past and embellish your life" to get elected cloth.” (@pambesteder)
“Amazing in all the Wendy Davis interviews by serious journalists, only now basic facts of her bio coming out” (@stuartpstevens)
“Hi MSM! So, if Sarah Palin did what Wendy Davis did, would that make it news? #caring” (@KurtSchlichter)
“Marco Rubio got second hand info wrong about his parents = OMG!!! SCANDALOUS!!! Wendy Davis lies about her life = Meh.
“If her Texas campaign flops, Wendy Davis has a future as chief diary consultant for the mayor of Hoboken.” (@Doc_0)
“Whoa. Wendy Davis had a boyfriend named Frank Underwood?” (@blakehounshell)
“I await Wendy Davis's lawsuit against the Dallas Morning News claiming it harmed her mental health by revealing her lies.” (@EWErickson)
“Waiting for Wendy Davis to turn "Dallas Morning Newsed" into a verb like "Swift Boated." (@JonahNRO)
“Wendy Davis: She didn't build that. She didn't get there on her own. (But really guys, Obama was right on this one)” (@KatiePavlich)
“Don't worry Democrats, there's still time for Wendy Davis to abort her campaign. And she'd be okay with it in the abstract.” (@EWErickson)
“This reminds me of the time Greg Abbott didn't make his wife pay his way thru law school then didn't dump her & his kids.” (@exjon)
FOOT IN MOUTH: Davis compounded her troubles with an ill-considered reference to her opponent in the Texas governor’s race, whom she accused of being involved in the story and also of not walking “a day in my shoes.” Greg Abbott is paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair.
“Wendy Davis out Joe-Bidened Joe Biden with that whole "hasn't walked a mile in my shoes" dig.” (@maxjkleber)
“Is @WendyDavisTexas really Joe Biden's younger self in drag? She just keeps digging her hole deeper. #WalkInMyShoes #AbortionBarbie” (@StarCoreOne02)
“Stories of struggle? Looks like @WendyDavisTexas struggles with the truth.” (@TXTrendyChick)
“So the Wendy Davis line will be that her rival, the paraplegic, has lived a life of privilege and ease?” (@jimgeraghty)
#WendyDavisStruggles: The Davis campaign tried to fight back, accusing conservative opponents of orchestrating the disclosures and her critics of sexist motives. But her attempt to elicit sympathy with the #WendyDavisStruggles hashtag only fueled the Twitter-storm. As @amylutz4 put it: “#WendyDavisStruggles is the new #FirstWorldProblems.”
“#WendyDavisStruggles with telling the truth” (@LizardStomp)
“#WendyDavisStruggles all the effort she had to put in finding a man to pay for kids and schooling” (@jensan1332)
“#WendyDavisStruggles "Abortions sure are expensive. That's okay! I'll get my husband to pay for it, then I'll divorce him. Easypeasy." (@Cyntroe)
“These aren't even MANOLOS! YOU walk a mile in them." #WendyDavisStruggles (@ChrisBarnhart)
“#WendyDavisStruggles What shade of pink lipstick works best with these shoes?” (@gapo67)
“What is this? Tap water??? GET ME EVIAN!” (@JayCaruso)
“We are NOT drinking any Merlot! #WendyDavisStruggles” (@JayCaruso)
“I said NO whip in my White Chocolate Mocha!! #WendyDavisStruggles” (@dthompson5150)
“#WendyDavisStruggles being late for her Botox appointment because of waiting in line for a mammogram at Planned Parenthood” (@idideat4414505)
“You don't know the pain of going to college while hoping your rich husband got the kids to school on time. #WendyDavisStruggles” (@EEElverhoy)
“Having to kiss babies on the campaign trail.. #WendyDavisStruggles” (@gigg423)
“Is part of #WendyDavisStruggles that her campaign is in free fall from being a liar?” (@garygramscom)
Updated: Jan. 22, 2014