Wendy Davis Is Sort of a Laura Miller Candidate. So How Did that Work Out?

Categories: Schutze

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The New York Times today contains what apparently is going to be a regular feature on how cool Wendy Davis is. Today's installment is called "Democrats see value in Texas in candidacy for governor." The one two weeks ago was, "Democrats see hope in Texas star." The one three days before that was "Democrats look to Wendy Davis as the charm."

See also: Is Wendy Davis Running for Governor?

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Dallas Observer
She's got Laura-appeal, doesn't she? Next question: Why is that a good thing?

Great. I love it. I heart her too. I can't wait for the next one. Wendy, Wendy, Wendy, as far as I'm concerned. Put her on Page One of the Times every damned day, but I'm still not sure of two things: 1) How does that get her elected governor of Texas? 2) Why does she want to be governor of Texas?

Well, three things, but I wasn't going to mention the third one. OK. Here goes. 3) She's really kind of a Laura Miller candidate.

Let's face it. Like Miller when she got elected mayor of Dallas, 90 percent of her appeal right now is based on factors that have absolutely nothing to do with her politics.

Miller, you will recall, was mayor of our city from 2002 to 2007. Before entering politics to run for city council in 1998, she was me -- ultra-liberal lefty pot-stirring columnist for the Dallas Observer. So does that mean I could get elected mayor?

Uh, no, it does not. One big reason? If I posed on a sofa wearing pearls and Laura Ashley, no one would take me for an upper-class Republican-looking person. Laura could pull that off, as Wendy Davis sort of can, also. Of course there was more to Miller than that.

Rob Allyn, the brilliant political ad man who ran Miller's first mayoral campaign, positioned her as an eat-your-peas couture-fashionable mother-type who would appeal to the basic civic-minded conservatism of white North Dallas voters who did not read the Observer and did not know squat about her before she ran. She already had the liberals ganged up behind her like lemmings.

Her opposition was a bunch of old rich white guys whose wives already resented them for living at the country club instead of at home. All they had to do was oblige by acting sexist and dismissive, which they did as if on cue, and Miller was over the top already.

See also: Meet the Republicans Who Are Lining Up for Wendy Davis' Senate Seat

The New York Times piece today about Davis contains this intriguing nugget:

"Researchers presented Ms. Davis with private polling that showed she was better known for her personality than for her positions. They also prepared an analysis of the nearly 900,000 Twitter messages in the 24 hours around her filibuster in June, which temporarily halted a bill to ban abortion in Texas after 20 weeks. A high percentage of those messages focused on her physical ordeal."

So she's a good-looking fashionably-dressed woman who is put upon by Texas lout-men. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. If it weren't for Texas women who are put off by louts, Rick Perry and the rest of them would have us all in forced labor camps by now.

So what, if anything, is wrong with Wendy Davis as potential savior of the Democratic Party? Well, for one thing, she's got the wrong color hair. I thought we all understood that the only real hope for turning Texas blue depends on the emerging Hispanic electorate. So why wouldn't we run somebody Hispanic? Doesn't that make sense?

And, actually ... just hold off one second on the pitchforks, will you? OK, fine. Hair color was my bad. The Times piece points to another more fundamental issue:

"Mark P. Jones, chairman of political science at Rice University, said the two demographic groups that Ms. Davis needs most, white women and Hispanics, disagree with her by wide margins on the issue she is best known for: opposition to a ban on abortion after 20 weeks."

That's a better issue than the hair, right? But they're both sort of the same thing: Beneath the showboat appeal generated by her brave filibuster during the abortion debate in the Texas Senate, a real chasm lies between Davis and the voters the Democratic Party most needs to mobilize in order to take back Texas. If that happens, it's not going to be a case of Molly Ivins rising from the grave, more likely someone like Raphael Anchia stepping to the fore.

I had another question. Oh, yeah: Why does she want to be governor? Miller was able to fool North Dallas into thinking she was a Republican, but what good did it do her when she became mayor? She had to wear a cone-hat and sit on the stool in the corner for most of her tenure, because nobody on the City Council was fooled for a minute.

Davis has a whole lot more political experience than Miller did, as well as a different life-history. But if she did win she'd still wind up sitting down there in Austin with a building full of cross-eyed, foot-washing, Tea Party mouth-breathers trying to out-lout each other all day long. What's the future in that?

I get that she's what Democrats have got. I get that they're thrilled to have anything at all. And I'm sorry, but somewhere in this I smell misadventure. Now or later. And she does have the wrong damn hair. Hey, I've got a pitchfork, too, so bring it on, Teapies.

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121 comments
schermbeck
schermbeck

Rick Perry has shown us just how a weak governor becomes strong - by staying so long that he seeds every agency with mini-mes down to the third or forth level of bureaucracy so that every single one of them becomes an extension of his perpetual campaign. Even if she passed no legislation for 8 years, Davis could still start doing state government a huge favor by redressing the complete imbalance within these agencies just by appointing less-than-crazy people to head them up. Start by replacing the poultry scientist who now leads Texas' "environmental quality commission." A state version of Laura Miller? I'll take it in a heart beat.

ruddski
ruddski

I would like to make a public apology to our liberals here, for talking about Wendy's tits. I understand that joking around about women and their bod parts is upsetting, unless the target is Sarah Palin or some other conservative with great tits, so I'll stop. Now, will the DO post a shot of her ass, so we can change the subject?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

If you want to vote for a concept. draft Hillary.

Threeboys
Threeboys

No, Wendy is much, much hotter than Laura Miller.

Americano
Americano

I get it now.  "Hey I want to kill babies up to 6 months old!", make me Governor!

Guest
Guest

The Davis stories in the NY Times are, no doubt, part of the effort to develop a national narrative about turning Texas blue.  This probably is ultimately an attempt to to find new sources of funding for the same group of Democratic consultants who have been being paid handsomely to lose elections in the state for two decades.  Presumably, the same small group of trial lawyers who fund the few-and-far-between Democratic campaigns in this state must be tired of getting taken for the same ride, and after what happened to Tony Sanchez no self-funder is signing up for the ride either.  However, there is a whole country out there beyond the borders of Texas full of wealthy Democrats who might be enticed by a well-turned-out candidate profile to open their checkbooks for the same group to consultants who who have tapped out their Texas sources.

I'm not saying it's wrong for a Democratic candidate in Texas to raise her profile in order to raise money nationally to be able to compete against the Republican dominance of this state, but I don't expect such efforts to bear much fruit at the ballot box until Texas Democrats also start searching for new sources of advice, consulting, and campaign management.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

yoka
yoka

I enjoyed her gutsy, show-stopping performance in the lege as much as anyone, but the democrat's subsequent adoration of Wendy Davis, and the hasty positing of her as a potential guv candidate, reeks of desperation.  Is there nobody else in our talent pool?  Because the GOP's is overflowing, dubious as they all may be.

I wish I thought otherwise, but if she runs, she will lose, and the love-fest will be over.       

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

One thing I've noticed in my many years in TX; Texans, no matter their political stripe, are generally against everywhere else and for Texas.  I've been in this state for 16 years, and am still considered a damn yankee by most, although one with the good sense to move to Texas.  (originally from Colorado, definitely not a yankee stronghold, until recently.)  I would think being the darling of NY media wouldn't be an asset to someone running for statewide office in TX.  Even among the more liberal commentors on this board, reaction is swift and brutal against outsiders bashing Texas and Texans.

I like Wendy Davis.  I don't always agree with her, but I usually know her position on an issue and how she's going to vote on it.  Very few surprises with her.  She ran on an agenda, got elected with that agenda, and seems bent on sticking to that agenda.  That's a rare quality these days.

xdarkridex
xdarkridex

As a die-hard Perry/Abbott supporter, I find this kind of stuff terribly funny.  Y'all are like those Fantasy Football League guys: so completely emotionally invested in contests that only exist in your head.

Wendy Davis has as much chance of being elected governor as I do, and I'm not running.  

'Hey gang, I know, let's run an ultra-liberal pro-abortion woman against Greg Abbott for Texas Governor!  That'll show those mean old white guys that we mean business!'

You can't write comedy that solid.

animas
animas

Oh man- what a bummer of a way to start a holiday weekend.  The usually ultra astute and right on target Jim Schutze is  so waaaay off base here.  Could it be tthat all lovely smart blonde professional women look the same to him?  Laura Miller and Wendy Davis are very different, starting with their respective backrounds, how they operate politically and well, honestly almost in any well thought out metric.  Misadventure?  When you look at results, was Miller any worse than Tom  ("conventiion center or bust")Leppart or Mike ("JWP runs my city") Rawlings?  I would say that all the middle aged white guys regardless of party are "about the same (type of) candidate". Whew, my head is spinning!

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

The thing about the abortion bill is not that it's pro 8th month suction. It's about the right of a woman, her doctor, and her family to make difficult decisions themselves without a bunch of hypocritical bible beating vote scrounging white boys interfering.

I would think every single libertarian ring winger would be all for the government getting out of the doctor's office. Of course, that's where the hypocrisy comes in.

James080
James080 topcommenter

I would welcome a competitive Democrat for governor, hell I voted for the last one even though he wasn't.

But really, Ms. Davis is going to have to build a name other than a as cheerleader for abortion if she is going to attract moderate republicans and independents. Abortion should be legal, safe and rare, and 20 weeks seem like more than enough time to make the decision.  Frankly, I don't know her position on a single issue other than her abortion platform. That alone is not enough to get elected in Texas.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo derez iz nahh harmz inz notz knowingz whatz youz bez doin' ifz use canz gitz awayz wif itz.

rain392
rain392

@ruddski  

Maybe males shouldn't be allowed to vote if they give their cocks and brains are  equal consideration in decision-making.  We almost got Sarah Palin because of that.  You should apologize to Wendy who probablty feels icky having her breasts discussed in public by horny men.

I support Wendy's politics but that makes me a stranger in a strange land in Collin County.  Of course I'm an RN and they never would put me on a Jury here because of my "libral" ways.

As for Laura, I was a supporter but she wasn't perfect.  Barbara Jordan was close to perfect in intelligence and the ways to put values above politicians.   She did know how to play the games also.


mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@Americano 

so when asked how old you are, you answer with a date that is 9 months before your actual date of birth? that is what is on your birth certificate and driver's license?

doubt it.

leftocenter
leftocenter

Colorado?  What part of Texas is that?

Oh, they (Coloradans) always hated that one...

James080
James080 topcommenter

@Montemalone  

You leave out the fact that an abortion involves a woman and, at some point during pregnancy, a baby.  Are you advocating that a woman should have the right to abort a viable baby as long as the doctor kills the baby before it clears the birth canal? That's really the problem for people like me that don't put a religious slant on this issue. For me, the "rights of a woman to control her own body" end when her decision involves the death of an unborn, viable human being.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Montemalone The republican party has convinced a large number of people that the republicans actually espouse libertarian ideals.  They don't.  At all.  The way I read libertarian ideals and the reason I identify as a libertarian, puts me square in the middle between the right wing republicans and left wing democrats.  Actually, in Texas, since blue has shifted a bit to the right compared with other democrat bases, I might be considered a left of center libertarian.  As mavdog says above, right wing =/= libertarian.  Those right wingers are simply wearing the wrong label.  Somebody call ICE.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@Montemalone 

your mistake is in conflating these "ring winger" posters with true libertarians. they aren't. not anywhere close.

DigDeeper
DigDeeper

@James080 I don't think she can win, but here in Dallas County it will insure county-wide Republican defeat.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@Obummer This reminds me linguistically of the suburban, middle-class white chick Margaret Seltzer who wrote a briefly famous pseudo-memoir in which she claimed to be from South Central L.A. She was ultimately busted because her phony dialect was called out, having written what a naive white chick thought was Ebonics.

So you're a stupid, insulated, suburban, white chick who can't even write in black OR white. Do you actually even SEE any black people, outside rush hour traffic in other cars on the freeway?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Obummer I find it amazing that you post and then within one minute straightshooter likes your shit.  Are yall sitting next to each other laughing at each thing yall post

ruddski
ruddski

Mabye people who.take themselves too seriously should not be allowed to vote.

Americano
Americano

@mavdog

Yet if you kill a baby in the womb, it's just as dead as if you killed it when the "State' declares it to be 6 months old.  

Amy S
Amy S

@James080 @Montemalone So would you advocate for free birth control for any female of an age to conceive a baby? How about the day after pill?

If they are old enough to get pregnant, THEN they are able to control their own body? No? Then it's not just about abortion, is it?

wcvemail
wcvemail

@James080 @Montemalone James, you're a thoughtful guy, let me ask you thoughtfully (this is not a test nor an incitement, just a thoughtful q to which I don't have the answer): What if the mother's life is in jeopardy, like that unfortunate woman in Ireland who died along with her unborn baby who was refused an abortion?

gregmarcydagama
gregmarcydagama

@James080 @Montemalone Yea, well, you are not in charge of any woman's body, thank-god. You are not in any position whatsoever to say whose rights over their bodies you think you have control over due to your personal convictions. You have no rights at all in that area. Just emotions.

gregmarcydagama
gregmarcydagama

@RTGolden1 @Montemalone all these godammed labels are useless and meaningless. Each issue is and should be decided on its own merits; not some pablum prescriptive from a think tank. The country is in grave danger with gerrymandering; bribed electors serving the Fascist rich and corporate amoralists; what one Earth does it serve to run around proclaiming some pointless socio-political badge? None. None whatsoever. ~ / ~


ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @Montemalone I dont want to be labeled as any of them, I just want to have my beliefs, and under the current system, I cant, because Im not supposed to agree with stuff from the left and the right and the center.

gregmarcydagama
gregmarcydagama

@mavdog @Montemalone fine assertion - how are 'they" different, and, how do you know that? And, what does difference does it really make in ordinary people's lives?

James080
James080 topcommenter

@DigDeeper @James080  

That's going to happen anyway. Dallas County is the poster child for low information - single lever voters.

Obummer
Obummer

@wcvemail 

Yo ifz use don’ts disparage whatz eyez sayz ahz won’tz disparage whatz use sayz.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin 

maybe straightshooter could interpert the post, it's unintelligible.

after all, it's pretty clear straightshooter is also composing it.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@JFPO Yes, and that is why the Republican Party's influence and ability to shape the national debate is steadily shrinking.  Even in conservative stronghold states like Texas, the younger generation coming up is more progressive, more in-touch and better informed than ever before.

The hard right edge of the Republican party is pulling them off the precipice.  The majority of conservatives are pulling back to the middle.  It's tearing the Party apart.  It can be fixed, but it will take a strong hand to do it.  The Democrats pulled back from the very far left and have been growing stronger ever since.

JFPO
JFPO

I don't think Ireland is that bad an example as this is the direction the Republican Party wants to go - no exceptions.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@wcvemail @James080 @Montemalone Bad example.  It's in Ireland, so US laws could have done nothing to prevent or promote it. Also, life and health of the mother has always been an acceptable grounds for performing an abortion in the US (Always = in my lifetime, and in the eyes of the law, not the eyes of some backwater church somewhere).

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@gregmarcydagama @RTGolden1 @Montemalone The labels shape the discussion, and therefore are not 'useless'.  'Should', however, IS a useless term in this context.  There are a lot of things that 'should be' in politics, then there are the things that 'are in' politics.  Dealing in one of these areas is effective, the other is not.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@RTGolden1 @ScottsMerkin Well, that's three or four of us who vote the candidate, not the party. Unfortunately, that's not even a ripple in the one-way stream of current politics, certainly never gonna be a tidal wave.

And in self-analysis news, I shoulda made plans to go to the coast this weekend, I see now.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @RTGolden1 @Montemalone A co-worker told me, in the last two election cycles, I was wasting my vote for President by voting for a Libertarian candidate instead of the Republican ticket.

I clued him in to the fact that if I voted for someone who didn't represent the majority of my own political ideals and values, and in whom I had no trust anyway, THAT would be wasting my vote.

I vote my conscience.  I don't care about party.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@Obummer @wcvemail For instance, the pseudo-memoirist added letters and maintained punctuation ("don'ts") when in reality, people tend to drop letters and eschew proper punctuation. 

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