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Powers is wrong: Right attacks Wendy Davis because she’s a fraud

Written By | Jan 27, 2014

LOS ANGELES, January 27, 2014—Daily Beast columnist and Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers — a stated liberal Democrat — has a bone to pick with the Right about its attacks on Texas Sen. and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis.

“It seems that Wendy Davis needs to learn her place.

“Since news broke in the Dallas Morning News that the Texas gubernatorial candidate had support from her then-husband while she attended Harvard Law School, conservatives have been apoplectic.

“The right has been heaping scorn upon Davis because she and her husband decided that their children should stay in Texas with him while she studied in Boston.”

Powers goes on to cherry-pick three major conservative voices — Ben Shapiro of Breibart, Erick Erickson of RedState, and Ann Coulter — to prove her points.

Powers gets it totally wrong. The Right is not heaping scorn on Davis because she gives the appearance of being a poor mother; we are heaping scorn on her because she misled people by painting herself as an up-by-her-bootstraps single mom, when the reality was different, and much less positive. Marrying up and allowing your husband to pay for your college and law school education doesn’t really fit the whole feminist meme. Divorcing your very supportive husband after he writes the last loan check and leaving him with custody of the kids doesn’t play very well in the heartland of Texas. Davis knew this and deliberately shaded the truth; she rightly deserves to be called on the carpet for this.

Powers condemns the “double-standard” of politics where a man would never be questioned about leaving his children in his spouse’s hands while he pursues his political ambitions. Mind you, a double-standard does exist, but it’s not on the part of the Right. It’s on the Left.

Powers uses former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as an example of the Right’s double-standard, claiming that the Right came to Palin’s defense, but attacks Davis for what Palin did. The Left attacked Gov. Palin’s motherhood creds — among other things — because she campaigned with Sen. John McCain in 2008, rather than staying home to care for her newly-born Down Syndrome son.

As many know, the child, Trig, was part of Gov. Palin’s platform: her stance for Life, and caring for Down Syndrome children, and other children with disabilities. The Left’s attacks were fallacious because Trig never left her side: She stumped with him, made him a part of her speeches, and reinforced her platform and biography. But nobody on the Left seemed to recognize that fact.

The Left went into full attack mode on Gov. Palin, the basis of their attacks often false, many of them ridiculous. The party of late-term abortion and pro-choice was suddenly concerned about whether Palin’s Down Syndrome baby had the proper care. A baby that, had Gov. Palin been a Democrat and pro-choice, would not have seen the light of day. So the fact that the Left is not using this same “standard” to condemn Davis for her falsehoods reveals their true colors. We’ll forgive anything if you’re on our side and support our agenda; if you’re on the other side of the aisle, the gloves are off, even if we have to make things up.

Powers’ comments would hold some validity if not for the fact that Wendy Davis is the one who made her life and single-motherhood a major part of her platform and biography. That is on her.

If you don’t want your parenting skills to be the issue, then don’t insert your daughter as one of the spokespeople in your campaign video, and don’t have her repeat these embellishments as unvarnished truth.


Former South Carolina governor — now Congressman — Mark Sanford (R) lied about an affair and used the taxpayer dime to visit his mistress in another country; ex-New Jersey Governor James McGreevy (D) cheated on his wife to conduct a gay affair. Both men came under fire from the Right and the Left for not living up to their press, and lying to cover it up. Why should Wendy Davis get preferential treatment? That would be yet another double-standard at work.

The Texas Republican Party has mounted a website called the Real Wendy. One of its posts reports that Davis tried to sue a local paper, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, in 1996, after her failed City Council campaign.

“During her failed 1996 City Council campaign bid, Davis was the subject of negative news coverage in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, including an editorial which criticized her negative campaign tactics. Subsequent to her electoral loss, Davis filed a libel lawsuit against the paper, and parent companies The Walt Disney Co. and ABC Inc., to attempt to obtain an award for damages.

“In her suit, Davis claimed that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s editorial had damaged her mental health and infringed upon her ‘right to pursue public office.’”

The case was dismissed on summary judgment; the First Amendment applies in Texas. For Democrats, it always seems to be “free speech for me, but not for thee,” especially if the free speech is critical of their flawed candidates.

After the Dallas Morning News article, Davis was quick to blame her opponent, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, for adding fuel to the fire. But Wayne Slater, who wrote the Dallas News piece, responded on Twitter, making it quite clear he did not speak to the Abbott campaign about the story.

Powers is defending a candidate who stepped in it all by herself. The piling on has nothing to do with her sex, or her parenting skills. It’s because she’s a fraud.


Jennifer Oliver OConnell

Jennifer Oliver OConnell offers witty, insightful, and direct opinion, analysis and musings on local and national politics and popular culture, with occasional detours into reinvention, food, and Yoga. Jennifer also teaches Yoga, and coaches clients on careers and reinvention. You can keep up with what's in Jennifer's orbit through her As the Girl Turns website.