Far be it for me to interrupt Wendy Davis while she’s chowing down on her own pink sneakers, but it’s somewhat interesting that she (or her campaign drones) haven’t decided to go after Jeff Davis – who is, as you note, the actual source of everything that’s driving her campaign into a meltdown. He doesn’t seem like he’s out to get her or anything; he just answered some questions, from the only one of the 10,000 reporters who gave Wendy the tidal wave of press coverage that launched her campaign who bothered to ask any probing questions.
If the rest of the “Go, Wendy, Go!” media chorus puts down its pom-poms and starts investigating things like that restraining order, it might become necessary for Team Davis to sharpen some hatchets and get to work on Jeff. Attacking the reporter who broke the story doesn’t seem to be getting them anywhere. Her little “walk in my shoes” gaffe probably means she’ll need to tone down her assaults on Greg Abbott for a while. (Her supporters didn’t help by declaring that Abbott is “running scared.”)
There are people, a once-married couple and their children, behind all this political drama. I don’t want to read too much between the lines, but I get the impression Wendy and Jeff have made their peace with each other. He’s generally supportive of her in that infamous Dallas Morning News piece; in fact, he doesn’t seem quite aware of how much damage the truth he delivers is doing to her campaign narrative. I don’t think she wants to make trouble for him, either.
Besides general revulsion at her for concealing important details of her history to create a false narrative, one reason this story hurts Davis is because it makes her seem alien and unsympathetic. Having abandoned all other measures of character – the last of them were burned at the stake during the Bill Clinton impeachment drama – our society uses “understands me and knows what I’m going through” empathy as the sole yardstick for taking the measure of a political man or woman. We saw this illustrated to an absurd degree in the 2012 election – absurd not only because it got the father of ObamaCare and permanent double-digit unemployment re-elected, but because it’s frankly silly for anyone in the Sainted Middle Class to think Barack and Michelle Obama understand them or lived in a way that remotely resembles their lives, even before reaching the White House. Show of hands: how many of you hard-working middle class guys were able to secure $360k no-show make-work jobs for your wife at the local hospital?
Davis can’t afford to lose that sense of connection, which is why she greatly exaggerated her single-mom hardships to make herself a more sympathetic figure. Her actual story can be summarized in ways that make her extremely unsympathetic, i.e. “she used a guy for his money and left him with the kids on the day he paid off her student loans.” (Rest assured that sentence would be burned into pop culture with a gigawatt media laser by now, if she was a Republican.) But even under the most favorable interpretations, she hornswaggled everyone with her edited bio. She is not the long-suffering self-made woman she claimed to be.
Let me add a dash of personal response to all this: I was raised by a long-suffering self-made single mom, who worked freaking miracles to get my sister and I fed, clothed, and educated. We sure would have loved moving into a “historic” house after Mom married a lawyer with a six-figure income who paid her way through Harvard. If Davis had presented her life story honestly from the beginning, I would find little objectionable about it; I’m not inclined to pry into the details of anyone’s divorce, absent serious allegations of abuse. But she tried to steal a kind of valor that rightly belongs to women like my mother. I wonder how other women like my mother feel about that.