Wendy Davis is having a bad week. In a few days she has gone from quietly admitting she needs to tighten up her language to blaming the entire episode on her opponent and, as of this afternoon, doubling down and suggesting all Texans’ families are under attack.
“You’re damn right it’s a true story” Davis writes in a blog post published on her website Tuesday afternoon. That’s a far cry from her reaction in the Dallas Morning News story Saturday wherein she responded, “I’m learning about using broader, looser language.”
The rest of Davis’ response is light on details and heavy on outrage. It suggest that the reports about her credibility are “a new low” and an attack on her family and education. In other words, this is a sleazy personal attack. At the same time, Davis tries to claim the whole thing is an attack on “millions of families all across Texas who would sacrifice everything to give their children a better future.” So this is somehow both very personal and very general. Wendy Davis as rags-to-riches everywoman, never mind the tricky details.
Davis has been saying since yesterday that she is being attacked by Greg Abbott, who is running for Governor as a Republican. There is no evidence that the Dallas Morning News writer had any contact with Abbott or his staff. He has denied it and Davis’ camp has provided no proof when asked for it.
Meanwhile, Davis’ PR team has already made another gaffe in trying to turn this story into a political attack. One of the first statements her camp issued opened by mentioning Greg Abbott and closed with “I guarantee you that anyone who tries to say otherwise hasn’t walked a day in my shoes.” That’s a bit awkward since Abbott has been wheelchair bound since a tree fell on him in 1984.
Even Esquire, which one would expect to be politically sympathetic to Davis, has suggested she is handling the crisis poorly. Writer Charles Pierce concludes “She needs to organize some very smart people in one very quick hurry.”
The left has been eager to cast Davis as the victim of sexism for months. Time’s Judith Warner suggested back in October that it could be one of her keys to victory. Warner wrote, “The more hits Davis takes, the better is will be for the Democrats.” That may be true but basing your claims of sexist attacks on Davis’ own admitted misstatements seems like a stretch. We’re not talking about anything said about her so much as what she said about herself. Then again, maybe a thin reed is all some news sites and some voters need.