NYT Runs Profile of 'Progressive' Wendy Davis on Day She Supports Abortion Ban

NYT Runs Profile of 'Progressive' Wendy Davis on Day She Supports Abortion Ban

Wendy Davis has become a ticking time bomb for the Democratic Party. Raising a third of the funds her Republican opponent has and cornered into supporting stances unpopular to the left, Davis abandoned her pet issue–support for abortion–on the day The New York Times ran an effusive feature on the up-and-coming “progressive.”

The timing is uncanny and deeply unfortunate for the narrative The New York Times sought to drive home about Davis. With the headline, “Can Wendy Davis Have It All?”– an ode to the irritating meme that first surfaced with news that Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer was pregnant–author Robert Draper attempts to tell the full, accurate narrative of Davis’s life story while still holding her up as the liberal icon she was when the media believed she had been a single teen mother who paid her way through law school. Neither, of course, is true.

As for the half-truths, Draper tries to paint them as a strength in itself that Davis lied so openly and refuses to back down from those who demand a correction of her life story, at least on her website. The lies, he argues, are “politically exquisite” and serve to create a very desirable candidate. (Never mind that that candidate does not actually exists.) Draper sticks close to the triumphant image of Davis in the Times last June: the “overnight sensation” who “put herself through law school” and has a “stellar record” among “powerful women, organizations, and advocates.”

Central to that image is the ideology that the Times believes Wendy Davis to possess. “Her positions,” Draper writes, “are in keeping with progressive ideology and are inherently at odds with a state where a low-taxes-low-services economic model carries the day.” He cites same-sex marriage and abortion among the top of the list, but immigration and education, as well.

The timing for such a declaration of ideological fealty could not have been worse.

On February 12th, the Dallas Morning News reported that the Democratic candidate revealed in an interview that she had entirely abandoned the issue that made her a national star. Davis told the paper that she supports a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, despite her filibustering specifically to prevent such a law from entering the books. While she opposed that particular bill, she claimed she could support a bill that had tightly defined the ability for a woman and a doctor to be making this decision together and not have the Legislature get too deep in the weeds of how we would describe when that was appropriate.”

She also threw out a couple of bizarre new political opinions, like support for marijuana decriminalization and yet another comment in favor of gun rights.

To those following Davis’s career arc, such an about-face would be no surprise. Davis did not make a name for herself by standing for what she believed in in Fort Worth; after all, her first political position was a non-partisan one on the city council. As Draper notes in his piece, to his credit, Davis is still a big fan of George W. Bush, calling him a uniter and having donated to his presidential campaign when she was still a Republican. Davis had previously discussed the tension between herself and many establishment Democrats in the state, and she calls it a “compliment” that people could not figure out whether she had any core beliefs. She “was not driven by” ideology, she claimed.

But the news must come as a shock to Democrats and progressives who only saw the powerful image of a woman in pink shoes standing up for what she was supposed to believe in. It does little to deter any feeling that Davis is out for herself and will say anything to win. It also generates questions about what a Davis administration will look like. If she will abandon her core issue to be governor, she will fight tooth and nail to be reelected, and that might mean giving Texas voters what they want, which often looks nothing like what New York publication editorial boards want.