The Wendy Davis campaign continues to frantically attempt to distract the conversation from the elaborate fraud that is her public persona to the fact that those mean conservatives keep attacking her. In an email to supporters, Davis’s campaign manager called her opponents “desperate” and accused them of “dirty tricks.”
“I guess Rush Limbaugh just couldn’t help himself,” campaign manager Karin Johanson laments in the email, accusing opponent Greg Abbott and his team of having something to do with Limbaugh’s opinion and decrying the “dirty tricks we’re all tired of.” The “dirty tricks” in question? Limbaugh called Davis a “fraud” and a “fake” on his radio show this week in what Johanson called “one of his infamous outbursts,” but which was above all else an echo of what many on the right are starting to say about Davis: that she appears to have no moral core, and nothing we know about her seems to be unadulterated truth.
Johanson, of course, tied the attacks to Davis’s personal story. “Her path wasn’t easy, but she never gave in. She worked hard to build a better life for herself and her family – despite the challenges, Wendy persevered,” she notes.
The message echoes the greater strategy of Davis’s campaign in light of revelations from the Dallas Morning News that much of Davis’s biography simply is not true. Her mother did not have a sixth-grade education; she did not divorce her first husband as a teenager. Given that Davis has manipulated her image to be one of a scrappy girl of the lower classes making it through pluck and feminism, many opponents have latched onto the fact that her husband contributed significantly to her law degree, cashing out a 401(k) and paying off the end of her loans before they divorced.
That story – that Davis divorced a husband who paid for her education – is the one that the Davis campaign seems most eager to drive home. They appear to believe they can obscure the litany of falsehoods that drive the Davis campaign (and the overarching falsehood that Davis is not a privileged elitist) by trying to wheedle out the lowest instincts of a small minority of voters who are uncomfortable with a woman being the family breadwinner and, upon divorce, paying child support to a father with custody. That is why they isolate an attack from Limbaugh accusing her of “fraud” and immediately bring up her life story, one proven untrue, that Davis claims to be “damn right” about retelling.
This is not a story about a feminist. This is a story about a powerful member of the national Democratic elite who, by her own account (and a true one this time), was a member of Texas’s most powerful elite from the age of 25. Davis’s is the story of a family who gather around the television to watch football every Sunday and root for the team that their best friend owns. It’s the story of a candidate so transparently lacking any moral core or ideological backbone that Democrats were initially wary about her first run for office because of her extensive record voting in Republican primaries and donating to Republican candidates. Davis took the mistrust as a “compliment” because it proved that she “wasn’t driven by” ideology – she was driven by ambition.
Davis’s consistent attacks on anyone who call her a fraud try to twist that accusation into a sexist epithet. Supporters allege that she is getting “swift-boated” for telling little white lies. Since no one remembers exact dates and is prone to tall tales, the argument goes, Davis should be forgiven. What the argument ignores is that Davis cheapens the plight of millions of single mothers and women who actually pulled themselves up through hard work and perseverance by painting herself as a populist hero. Harvard Law School is no picnic, and Davis has put in many hours of work to deluding Blue America into seeing her with rose-colored glasses. She has worked, but she has worked to fabricate exactly what Limbaugh called her – a fraud, the fraud that she knows better than any 1%er what it is to be a working-class American.