Democrat Wendy Davis, who made national news for running one of the year’s most aggressively catastrophic campaigns, clawed her way back into the headlines this week with her comment that the “one thing” she would do differently in her race against Republican Greg Abbott is to abandon her support for the open carry of firearms.
In an interview with the San Antonio Express-News, Davis told Austin bureau chief Peggy Fikac:
“There is one thing that I would do differently in that campaign, and it relates to the position that I took on open carry. I made a quick decision on that with a very short conversation with my team and it wasn’t really in keeping with what I think is the correct position on that issue…
“Though I certainly support people’s right to own and to bear arms in appropriate situations, I fear with open carry, having watched that issue unfold during the campaign, that it will be used to intimidate and cause fear.”
As a refresher for Davis, who apparently suffers from the same constitutional illiteracy as her fellow Harvard law graduate, President Obama, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,” period. Not “in appropriate situations.”
Davis also claimed that “as an elected public servant, I’ve always been true to my core beliefs. Always. And I’m so proud of that.” However, she then described her campaign position on open carry as”the only time I felt like I’d strayed a bit from that.” In other words, she “only supported open-carry to get elected,” as Ashe Schow wrote for the Washington Examiner.
Davis’ admittedly facetious attempt to win votes from gun rights supporters fell flat. Despite her comments that she felt she had been “pretty strong in supporting the expansion of the rights of gun ownership,” the National Rifle Association (NRA) gave her an “F” rating, and her liberal supporters were left confused and outraged. A campaign stunt where she was photographed awkwardly holding a shotgun owned by previous Texas Governor Ann Richards led to instant mockery. PJ Media’s Bryan Preston compared Davis to previous Democrat candidates with embarrassingly bad photo ops like Michael Dukakis and John Kerry, and, perhaps most damning of all, to Richards herself holding that same shotgun. “Holding a firearm and looking good isn’t generally a difficult thing to do,” writes Preston. “Say what [you] want about Ann Richards, and I was certainly no fan, but at least she knew how to hold a shotgun without looking silly.”
Davis ended up getting annihilated on Election Day, losing to Abbott by double digits in a loss that was not only viewed as backsliding for Texas Democrats, but also resulted in the efforts of the out-of-state Obama organizers behind Battleground Texas being largely viewed as a failure. So it is pretty hysterical that Davis can only find “one thing” that she would change about her campaign, and it’s the one thing on her platform that, if she had actually been sincere about it, stood a chance of winning support from Texans. Polling shows that the majority of Texans oppose stricter gun control legislation, a greater percentage than nationally, where the latest poll from the Pew Research Center shows that supporters of gun rights are also in the majority.
As a recap of exactly how bad of a dumpster fire Davis’ campaign — about which, remember, she would only change “one thing” — really was, POLITICO branded it one of 2014’s worst in the entire country, and U.S. News & World Report called her infamous “wheelchair” attack ad the worst ad of the entire election cycle, mocking it for not only crossing the line, but also being “completely ineffective.” Wrote Dave Catanese, “Even Democrats shook their heads at Davis’ perceived desperation.” Texas Monthly, which had previously honored Davis with a flattering cover photo with her pink sneakers, turned on her after her colossal drubbing at the ballot box, awarding her their “Bum Steer of the Year” award, for a campaign that “started poorly…[and] seemed to only go downhill from there.”
We at Breitbart Texas certainly appreciated the endless inspiration for articles and amusement her campaign provided, like when she responded to the overwhelmingly negative backlash from her wheelchair ad by doing everything she could to keep the controversy alive in the media, including holding a series of well-publicized events with disabled Texans. The Twitter accounts for her campaign and key staffers kept posting links to the ad, unfazed by the critical coverage. And let’s not forget when she flip-flopped on some of the same abortion restrictions she filibustered, even laughably claiming she was “pro-life” in an interview with a Rio Grande Valley-area newspaper, or when she tried to claim that Abbott, whose wife is Hispanic, was opposed to interracial marriage. Or when the not-at-all-known-as-conservative Dallas Morning News reported on some substantial misrepresentations in her personal biography. Dumping her second husband the day after he paid off her law school loans — the same husband who cared for the two daughters she left behind to attend Harvard — doesn’t exactly scream “feminist role model.”
It actually makes sense that Davis is out of touch with how Texans think: she can’t even talk like a Texan. National Review’s Kevin Williamson, a native born Texan, mocked the Rhode Island-born, Harvard-educated Davis’ attempt at colloquialism in her use of the phrase “wrong Texas gal.” “Oh, Wendy: Nobody talks like that in Texas, or anywhere else, except in movies and dumb campaign commercials,” wrote Williamson. And when linguistic experts at the University of Texas at Austin analyzed her speech, they described it as closer to “a mainstream U.S. accent” than the “Texas-accented English” of Wichita Falls native Abbott. Humorously, the linguists also found that she actually displayed some features of California speech. Davis has never lived in California, they noted, and so “we find ourselves only able to conjecture why she might exhibit this [California] accent feature. It is possible that she aims toward an accent that stands for a modern, Californian, female American.”
— Peni Basse (@pmbasse) December 30, 2014
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.