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Tags: Wendy Davis

Nice Work if You Can Get It, Huh, Wendy Davis?



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From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Nice Work if You Can Get It, Huh, Wendy Davis?

Good morning. An epic addition to my collection of jaw-dropping hypocrisy: anti-gun California Democratic state senator Leland Yee was indicted for conspiring to commit wire fraud and traffic firearms. Oh, and the mayor of Charlotte was charged with bribery, and the FBI raided the office of a New York state legislator.

That’s direct and straightforward bribery. But have you ever noticed how many elected officials have private law practices? Particularly those at the local or state levels, with jobs that aren’t necessarily year-round or full-time?

It would be tough to ban these practices entirely, but it always seems like a potential back door for bribery, or at least relationship-building. If you want to get a lawmaker or local official on your side, hire him as your lawyer. There are limits on campaign donations in most places, but the only limit to the number of billable hours is the number of hours in the day.

Some states notice the potential for trouble here. The Montana Bar Association, for example, issued an official opinion that “an attorney elected to full time state-wide public office must dissolve an existing law partnership.” By contrast, in Texas, a city attorney is not considered an officer for purposes of constitutional dual-office-holding limitations, and thus an attorney working for one portion of the government can hold an office in another part of the government.

That’s good news for Wendy Davis, who is doing legal work for various Texas public agencies and entities while being a state legislator. Davis and her law partner, Brian Newby, at Newby Davis, a two-person firm, work as bond counsel, most recently on a $109 million bond issue for Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport, and on a nearly $319 million bond sale for the Tarrant Regional Water District.

If you’re sniffing a whiff of potential conflict of interest for local-government entities to be paying a state legislator to do legal work for them . . . well, you’re not the only one:

Only last month, Davis’ firm worked on two deals that were brought to market: a $201.5 million bond issue for the airport and a nearly $319 million bond sale for the Tarrant Regional Water District.

The bond issues Newby Davis worked on for the water district had this twist: the agency’s financial director is Sandra “Sandy” Newby, Brian Newby’s wife.

In total, the various transactions for which Newby Davis served as co-bond counsel on have represented at least $6.3 billion in new securities and refinancings.

Convenient, huh? “Hey, we need a lot of highly compensated legal work done? Good news, my husband’s a lawyer!”

You are probably unsurprised that Greg Abbott, the current Texas attorney general and Republican nominee for governor, is deeply troubled by this, contending, “When legislators, through their private work, become intimately involved in the financial process of local entities, ethically problematic situations develop wherein legislators find themselves with a personal incentive to increase local debt.”

He wants to ban these sorts of cozy arrangements:

The recommendation would prohibit legislators, including the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House, from serving as bond counsel for any public entity. Violation of this requirement would be a Class A Misdemeanor.

“Elected officials shouldn’t profit off of their positions and line their own pockets at the taxpayers’ expense,” said Greg Abbott. “They are supposed to represent the interests of their constituents rather than their own self-interest. It is particularly reprehensible for lawmakers to profit from taxpayers as bond counsel for public entities that add more to the public debt of taxpayers. My ethics reform plan puts an end to this unethical practice.”

Is she gunning for more legal work with local government entities?

Tags: Wendy Davis , Greg Abbott

The Twilight of the Gun-Control Movement



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From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

The Twilight of the Gun-Control Movement

The Cato Institute’s Walter Olson sums up why yesterday’s U.S. District Court decision is a big deal:

California law forbids the carrying of firearms in public places without a license and provides that the issuance of such a license requires “good cause.” San Diego County, as part of its implementation of that law, has set a number of restrictive policies on what it will consider good cause, which must be exceptional circumstances (“distinguish[ed] . . . from the mainstream”), and it specifies that concern for “one’s personal safety alone is not considered good cause.” . . . 

But it went on, quoting McDonald, to get at the wider constitutional issue (footnotes omitted):

We are well aware that, in the judgment of many governments, the safest sort of firearm-carrying regime is one which restricts the privilege to law enforcement with only narrow exceptions. Nonetheless, “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. . . . Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court [or ours] to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.” Nor may we relegate the bearing of arms to a “second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees that we have held to be incorporated into the Due Process Clause.”

We’ve had a generation or two of lawmakers — at first in both parties, then increasingly concentrated in the Democratic party — who believed that the Second Amendment was optional. Increasingly, courts are informing them otherwise.

Chuck Michel, California civil-rights attorney, summed it up quite simply on NRANews.com when he pointed out what’s really at issue in the legal challenge to the San Diego case, as well as the Heller case and the McDonald case challenge to Chicago’s gun laws: local lawmakers persisting in “calling it a regulation when what they really mean is a ban.”

So if courts all the way up to the Supreme Court keep insisting that the Second Amendment means something, and localities can’t use the “we’re just regulating gun ownership, we’re not banning it” excuse, where does the gun-control movement go from here? They haven’t pushed for a repeal of the Second Amendment because they know it will go nowhere. Ace speculates about piecemeal legislative attempts to ban guns from schools, churches, hospitals, and shopping malls, as they’re currently banned from most government buildings. But that will represent a very nickel-and-dime approach, as more and more Americans get used to the idea that they’re legally allowed to carry a gun outside their homes.

At least gun-control supporters still have Wendy Davi– oh, that’s right.

And Wendy Davis’s loud insistence that she’s a loyal friend to gun owners has consequences — not huge consequences, but some small segment of Texas Democrats find her about-faces dispiriting and unacceptable:

Rancher, bookstore owner and 79-year-old iconoclast Bill Bond has been sticking it out in Limestone County for a long time, waiting for Texas Democrats to take back control of the state. He thought Wendy Davis had a good chance to do it. But the lifelong liberal activist says he’s so pissed off by Davis’ open carry talk that he’s shutting the Democratic Party storefront in Groesbeck, housed inside his bookstore. Bond swears that he’ll sit out the rest of the campaign — and that nothing will win him back.

The positions, values and rhetoric required to win a statewide bid in Texas are incompatible with the positions, values and rhetoric that excites big-time Democrat donors in places like San Francisco, Manhattan, Washington D.C., and Chicago. Davis has to pick one.

Tags: Gun Control , Wendy Davis , Second Amendment

The Wendy Davis Campaign’s Luxurious Accommodations



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The gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Wendy Davis filed its January semi-annual finance report with the Texas Ethics Commission, detailing how much donors have given the campaign and how it’s being spent.

She may have once been “living in a tiny trailer” — at least for four months — but Wendy Davis’s campaign ensures she sleeps in better places these days.

When in New York, she stayed at the Sofitel, running up $1,545.55 in charges from October 22 to 24.

When in San Francisco from August 17 to 19, she stayed at the Fairmont Hotel, running up $1,015.27 in charges.

Sometimes when she’s in Washington D.C., she stays in Donovan House, spending $248.62 on August 8, perhaps enjoying the space-age chairs in the lobby.

Davis stayed at the Dupont Circle Hotel, accumulating $1,269.60 in charges, July 26 to 30.

Then on July 31 there was a charge for $229.23 at the Westin Georgetown.

Getting around D.C. can cost a pretty penny too; her campaign spent $412 on E Street Limousine on August 7 and $102 on ExecuCar on October 10.

Tags: Wendy Davis

Wendy Davis: When the Truth Is Not Enough



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“Where were you born?” Every few months, I sit across the table from a new client with a recording device. “Let’s start from the beginning,” I say, after pouring a cup of coffee and settling in to hear their story. I’m a “ghostwriter,” or – as some prefer to say — a “celebrity collaborator.” That means I listen to the details of people’s lives and help form them into narrative, book form.

Over the course of my occupation so far, I’ve traveled over 12,000 miles and conducted interviews on a presidential-campaign bus, in an Olympic training center, in a Tex-Mex restaurant, and in a nail salon. Regardless of location, however, every book begins with questions designed to get to the heart of each person’s story.

Lately, I’ve wondered what it would be like to sit across from Wendy Davis.

Davis, as you may remember, is the Texas state senator who filibustered for abortion rights and was instantly catapulted into the Democratic stratosphere. She’s attempting to parlay her newfound fame into being her state’s first Democrat governor in almost 25 years. Her story of adversity, strife, and hard work has been a cornerstone of her campaign and fundraising.

Davis, we were told, was a divorced teen mother who worked her way from a trailer to Harvard through true grit and independence. What she claimed to be a “real Texas success story,” however, has turned out to be a bit more nuanced. Some of the details were wrong.

Davis divorced when she was 21, not 19 as she has claimed. She did live in a mobile home – her parents’ – but it was only for a few months until she found an apartment. Then she married a lawyer who was 13 years her senior. He paid for her last couple of years of college and her years at Harvard Law School. She divorced him the day after he paid the last bill. During the divorce, he accused her of adultery and received custody of their two children. Her husband said she claimed she said she “didn’t have time for children.”

Of course, she’s not alone in misrepresenting her story. Barack Obama’s memoir has many claims that turned out to be distortions, according to Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Maraniss, including:

• His claim that his grandfather – a cook in the British Army – was detained by the British in Kenya and tortured.

• The story of his dad’s stepfather being killed by Dutch soldiers as he fought for Indonesian independence.

• Obama’s claim that his father abandoned him when he was two years old.

• His complaint that upper-class Hawaiian girls wouldn’t date him.

And a character called Ray whom Obama called a symbol of “young blackness” was actually half Japanese, part native American, and part black. And he wasn’t a close friend of Obama’s.

If we’re truthful, many of us tell stories in ways that enhance our own reputations. Right?

Read the three reasons why I believe it’s so hard to tell one’s own story . . . honestly.

Tags: Wendy Davis , Barack Obama

‘Wendy Davis is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.’



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From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

The Airbrushed, Polished, Rewritten History of Wendy Davis

Nobody can seek office as they are, huh? Everybody’s got to be born in a log cabin, and have worked himself up from nothing. Choom gangs, William Ayers, and Tony Rezko get airbrushed from history; ineffective years of community organizing are rewritten into a dedication to the poor that rivals St. Francis of Assisi. Al Gore couldn’t be just another senator; he had to invent the Internet. Wartime service isn’t enough; “If you have any question about what John Kerry is made of, just spend 3 minutes with the men who served with him.” John Edwards is Father of the Year. “Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”

Throw Wendy Davis onto the pile, as the Dallas Morning News took a closer look at her life story and found some details not quite matching her tales:

Davis was 21, not 19, when she was divorced. She lived only a few months in the family mobile home while separated from her husband before moving into an apartment with her daughter.

A single mother working two jobs, she met Jeff Davis, a lawyer 13 years older than her, married him and had a second daughter. He paid for her last two years at Texas Christian University and her time at Harvard Law School, and kept their two daughters while she was in Boston. When they divorced in 2005, he was granted parental custody, and the girls stayed with him. Wendy Davis was directed to pay child support.

In an extensive interview last week, Davis acknowledged some chronological errors and incomplete details in what she and her aides have said about her life.

“My language should be tighter,” she said. “I’m learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail.” . . . 

A former colleague and political supporter who worked closely with Davis when she was on the council said the body’s work was very time-consuming.

“Wendy is tremendously ambitious,” he said, speaking only on condition of anonymity in order to give what he called an honest assessment. “She’s not going to let family or raising children or anything else get in her way.”

He said: “She’s going to find a way, and she’s going to figure out a way to spin herself in a way that grabs at the heart strings. A lot of it isn’t true about her, but that’s just us who knew her. But she’d be a good governor.”

A good governor . . . once you get past the pathological lying!

Andrew Kaczynski points out . . . an inconvenient truth:

Davis did however testify under oath in 2012 that she was 19, when she divorced, not 21. Davis was testifying before a three-judge panel that was was deciding whether the new Texas legislative district map violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act.

She sent a statement to Buzzfeed that at age 19, she was “on her way to a divorce.”

An enormous ego is almost a requirement for running for office, so we shouldn’t be surprised that those who want our votes carry more than their share of self-aggrandizement, conveniently edited memories, and borderline-insane belief in their own personal heroic narratives. The thing is, we don’t really need any larger-than-life heroes in public office. Governors, senators, congressmen, presidents . . . they’re temp workers. The more grandiose the ambitions get, the larger the scale of potential failure gets. Sometimes the idea is to fundamentally transform the culture and politics of the Middle East. Sometimes the idea is “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” It’s tough to get people to stand up and cheer, much less write out checks, for anything less than forever changing life as we know it.

Immanentizing the eschaton requires a messiah figure, which mean every contender for the throne needs to have that pitch-perfect life story. Details be damned.

A frequent lament on the right since the frustrating defeats of 2012 has been, “we need to become better storytellers.” Dare I flip it around and say, the American electorate needs to stop needing all of its information in convenient storybook form? Because the basic facts of, say, the need for entitlement reform don’t necessarily lend themselves well to the convenient plucky-underdog-takes-on-the-system-and-wins Erin Brockovich template that apparently many Americans require to understand.

Thomas Lifson:

It is not exactly a surprise that the latest feminist political icon, Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, turns out to be a phony and an exploiter. Davis, you may recall, rocketed to progressive superstardom by conducting an ultimately futile filibuster on a bill tightening health regulations on abortions after 20 weeks of gestation when the life of the mother is not in peril. The fact that Davis is an attractive blond and speaks fairly well in public was enough to gladden the heart of the pro-abortion faction, eager to find a champion who can be packaged as an inspiring profile in courage. She has already raised $12 million for her campaign for governor, tapping into the victimology cult among wealthy feminist women.

Here’s how Tanene Allison, “political consultant and Texan,” characterizes the latest developments in the Huffington Post:

A gang of men in Texas are trying to burn State Sen. Wendy Davis on a proverbial stake. Almost as soon as the Davis campaign announced that, over the final six months of 2013, they had raised more money that her opponent, the knives came out. As Texans are beginning to unite around Wendy, Greg Abbott and his out-of-touch operatives are scared and relying on the oldest playbook in the world: Tear the woman apart by examining her personal life and saying she isn’t perfect enough.

That “gang of men in Texas” she’s sneering at is the reporting staff and editors of the Dallas Morning News. The falsehoods are not in dispute; Davis admits to the newspaper that she’s been saying things that aren’t true. Had the newspaper run the headline, “She isn’t perfect enough,” it would be a laughingstock.

The allegedly nonpartisan mainstream media seems to think well of the Huffington Post, and when you see something like the above, it’s really hard to understand why. This isn’t merely a passionate defense of Davis; this is an attack on the newspaper as somehow being sexist and malicious.

Tags: Wendy Davis , Barack Obama , John Kerry , John Edwards , Al Gore

An Orwellian Fundraising E-Mail for Wendy Davis



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Check out this fundraising e-mail from San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, a rising star in Democratic circles, touting gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis:

Friend –

I just had a great meeting with my friend Wendy Davis here in San Antonio.

We talked about job creation and economic empowerment for all Texans — and I left reminded of her extraordinary determination to make Texas even better than it already is.

If you caught Wendy’s announcement speech last week, you saw why she’s been able to inspire so many people, both here in Texas and across the country. I’m going to do everything I can between now and next November to make sure she gets to the Governor’s Mansion.

Show Senator Davis she’s not taking on this challenge alone — add your name to say you’re with Wendy for governor in 2014.

Wendy is fearless.

She overcame a background of poverty to put herself through Harvard law school.

She once stood for hours to filibuster a bill that would have resulted in billions of dollars in cuts to public education for our kids.

She’s a proven winner who brings Texans together — elected twice in a swing district that’s considered a microcosm of Texas, where Mitt Romney won easily last November. And she knows that bread-and-butter issues like public education and transportation infrastructure are essential to keep our vibrant economy going strong.

That’s who Wendy Davis is — and that’s why she can win next fall.

Let’s rally around her now and kick off this campaign with a strong show of support.

Join me and say you’re with Wendy:

http://join.battlegroundtx.com/Wendy-for-Texas

In this together,

Julián
 

Castro (or the staffer who wrote this) is just flat-out lying.  Davis made a one-hour-and-fifteen minute filibuster in 2011 about public education spending. The only time she stood for “hours” was in her 2013 filibuster to stop a bill that would ”ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, require abortion clinics to meet the same standards that hospital-style surgical centers do, and mandate that a doctor who performs abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.”

The Castro e-mail is attempting to blur the lines between the two filibusters, perhaps hoping they can fool people that the more recent and high-profile filibuster wasn’t really about late-term abortions but about education.

In fact, you’ll notice the word “abortion” doesn’t appear at all in Castro’s e-mail, nor does the term “choice.”

Why would Castro (or his staffer) lie about this?

Above: San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro; state legislator, late-term abortion advocate, and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis; the mayor’s twin brother, congressman, and stunt double, Joaquín Castro.

Tags: Wendy Davis , Texas , Julian Castro

Wendy Davis, the Ned Lamont of 2014



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Wendy Davis, the Texas Democratic state legislator who engaged in a filibuster to preserve late-term abortions, is reportedly running for governor.

Republicans should be elated at this development. The Cook Partisan Voting Index scores Texas as R+10, and Davis’s bid will inevitably be defined by her trademark stance. A University of Texas poll found 62 percent said they would support “prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks based on the argument that a fetus can feel pain at that point,” and that same percentage said they support “prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks.”

Yet her status as a heroine to the pro-late-term-abortion Democratic-party grassroots will ensure that she will get a small fortune in donations, money that could otherwise have been spent in more competitive races. She’ll also probably get a lot of national press coverage.

She could be this cycle’s Ned Lamont — the liberal anti-war challenger to Senator Joe Lieberman in Connecticut in 2006. Lamont was a hero to the anti-war Democratic grassroots — Markos Moulitsas appeared in a commercial for him.

Markos Moulitsas, peering in the window of Ned Lamont’s house in one of the odder ads of the 2006 cycle.

Lamont won the Democratic primary . . . only to lose to Lieberman, running as an independent, in November. A loud but small minority of the electorate at large fell in love with him, only to find that the voters as a whole didn’t agree.

Of course, Ned Lamont spent $16 million of his own fortune on that Senate bid, and collected about $3 million from donations. Davis will require a lot more help from the DGA and Democratic 527s.

Lamont ran for govenror a few years later and lost in the Democratic primary; he is currently teaching at Central Connecticut State University.

Tags: Wendy Davis , Ned Lamont , Texas , Abortion

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