Wendy Davis Caught in a Ridiculous Double Standard With Bio Scandal

The race for governor of Texas is expected to be one of the most closely watched (and most expensive) state races ever. One major key to any highly contested, nationally anticipated campaigns is to try to define your opposition as early as possible, before your opponent is able to create a positive image in the press.

In that respect, the campaign of Greg Abbott, current Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate, was handed a windfall when the Dallas Morning News ran an “expose” on state Senator and Democratic candidate Wendy Davis. In the investigation, the reporter discovered that Davis had “embellished” her backstory that she used when running for office. Among some of the discrepancies that the article noted: Davis didn’t disclose how short of a time she actually lived in a trailer; she wasn’t forthcoming with the fact that she was only separated, not officially divorced, from her husband when she was 19 (the divorce didn’t become legal until she was 21); and that she didn’t state emphatically enough that her husband helped care for their children or pay for her schooling.

Davis has responded by clarifying those issues in the media in as much as they needed to be clarified. But the question is, did she really need to be more specific? After all, why would she have to say specifically that her husband of the time helped her fund her education, or cared for her children while she was in school? Why is it important to clarify that she was separated, but was not officially divorced, for a year earlier than she stated, when the intent of the statement — that she was a single mother — is the same?

If the “truth” seems to be nitpicky, the quotes that the paper obtained are even more problematic. Although a number of the statements from Davis’s ex-husband seem mostly content with their past despite the ending of their marriage, statements like, “I made the last payment [on her student loan], and it was the next day she left,” are misleading. Such a quote from an ex-wife would be lauded as the sign of a bitter former spouse. Yet conservatives hoping for an Abbott victory are more than willing to embrace it as an unbiased truth.

“Wendy Davis would’ve ended up being really poor and destitute were it not for a man,” claims Rush Limbaugh. “But that’s no problem, they just made stuff up. It works for Obama.”

Some right-wing pundits are going even further. Conservative pundit Erick Erickson claims Davis’s ex asked the court to “order her not to use drugs before seeing her kids,” without noting that the order was a standard boilerplate form.

The story, as the GOP sees it, is one of a female candidate with a “sugar daddy” who gave her all the breaks, cared for her children, and allowed her to advance her career. In other words, the biggest issue they have with Davis is that she was focused on her work and someone else was spending more time with her children than she was, as well as supporting her in her professional pursuits.

Someone else was taking on the traditional role of wife.

Davis is being caught in the greatest of double standards in the political world: campaigning while female. A woman who doesn’t pull herself and her family out of a trailer within a matter of months is detested for not working hard enough, but a woman who succeeds quickly is pilloried as not being as downtrodden as she presented herself. A parent who leaves a partner at home to care for the children while seeking out more educational or career opportunities is a breadwinner when it’s a man, but a bad mother when it’s a woman.

At what point do male candidates receive massive newspaper profiles detailing how much older or younger they are than their current or past spouses, or who had custody of the children and for how long? Where are the candidate exposes on male politicians whose wives put them through school, and when do they get called out for having “sugar mamas?”

“The thing is that millions of Texas women know what it’s like to have their experiences and decisions examined and picked apart by those who think they know better,” political strategist Tarene Allison writes astutely at Huffington Post. “When we hear the recent attacks on Wendy Davis, we understand that they’re attacking all of our stories.”

Not all of our stories, mind you. Just those of women who have the audacity to believe they deserve to run for office on equal footing with their male challengers. Especially when those women are Democrats.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven6 months ago

thanks for the article.

Michael T.
Michael T.2 years ago

you can also google miniature guide to critical thinking and get a copy of it too.

There is a specific section in this guide that gives pointers on the flaws of both egocentric and sociocentric thinking which is very handy in disarming a lot of conservative nonsense.

Michael T.
Michael T.2 years ago

Yes Dale, I agree. We see it all the time.

It is a case of moving the goal posts. I always keep my Baloney Detection Kit handy. It was first revealed to me by Carl Sagan, further I always keep my Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools (Dr. Paul and Dr. Elder) at the ready. Much of what is in them I have made part of my thinking, reading and reasoning portion of the brain.

This is the same behavior in particular that is used by conservatives to make it more difficult for certain classes of people to vote for example in our own country, where it is known that the examples of people voting illegally is so low as to be almost non-existent. Let’s move the goalposts then to make it easy for only this class of people to vote and require a whole other class to have to do so many other things just to regain the privilege of voting they one had all along, but are now barred from it.

Everyone’s opinion counts in discussions such as this, irrespective of their country of origin, and location.

just google "sagan's baloney detection kit"

Dale O.

Michael T, Mary B, the entire mindset reminds me of similar attitudes in the Travyon Martin threads. Various con-servatives blamed the victim while defending George Zimmerman. When the support for Zimmerman by some right wingers was challenged by many, one person commenting noticed that some of the people in the discussion were Canadian.

That fact had her climbing onto the saddle of the high nationalistic horse to make sweeping statements. She had noticed that a specific person commenting against Zimmerman's actions was not American, declaring that comments or statistics made by non-Americans were now totally meaningless to her.

Dale O.

She then stated that she could care less about any future 'meaningless' comments made from those living outside the U.S., also pontificating that no one from outside the U.S. had the right to talk about 'any American' or their 'great country'.

Soon, there was yet another xenophobic dance with a 'lol', along with a finger wagging about where the rest of the world would be without the U.S., and how no one 'could compair' (her spelling) any nation with the 'great United States or her people'. Xenophobia is so ...un-refreshing. I did ask about the mysterious airline company by the name of 'Comp-Air.' It always helps to avoid flying the xenophobic skies aboard 'Comp-Air'.

Don Swanz
Don Swanz2 years ago

ELLEN G: First get your head out of you butt. Now, a moment or two (2) of your attention PLEASE. Then you can return to your previous petition. How many petitions have you butted in; signed and/or made comments on events and/or life styles taking place in other Nations and/or Countries?

Crap! Never mind. I forgot that you are from Texas. Don and WE CAN! :-))

Michael T.
Michael T.2 years ago

Ellen hurls a taunt: Mary B., I fail to see what skin you have in this game.

Yes you would fail to see, and you do fail to see.

Let me whisper a few words to you about how closely Canada, England and other countries have their economies tied to ours more strongly than others. In addition to that the US is part of a global economy, maybe you heard about it in the news?.

Everyone has "skin" in the game.

Dale O.

Ellen G, are you saying that anyone who is not American should not be commenting on what takes place in the U.S.? Re, Mary B having no "skin in this game?" Do Americans refrain from commenting on articles pertaining to everywhere else but the U.S.?The skin that Mary B has in this game is called freedom of speech. Or is that reserved in your mind for Americans only?

Oh, I get it, politically you are a con-servative. That explains her comment, Mary B...as con-servatives have very thin skins, lol!

Ellen Gaston
Ellen Gaston2 years ago

Mary B., that you hail from Canada, I fail to see what skin you have in this game.

Don Swanz
Don Swanz2 years ago

JACOB R: From my high school days. What does "SOLID SOUTH" mean to you?

I've Posted this before> , I reckon that once more won't hurt. This "so called" negative information regarding Ms. Davis has been "out there" for years. She ran and was elected to the Ft. Worth City Counsel and the Texas Senate. Why tlhe BIG fuss now? Don and WE CAN! :-))