A Man Is Responsible For Wendy Davis' Success, DMN Story Timidly Suggests

Categories: Campaign News

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Wendy Davis
The Dallas Morning News clearly wanted to publish a story reporting that Wendy Davis exaggerated about growing up poor while raising kids on her own. That's plain by the title of its big feature on the Sunday front page: "As Wendy Davis touts life story in race for governor, key facts blurred."

Sure, if it turned out that Wendy Davis was never a single, teenage mom living in a mobile home, as she has repeatedly mentioned, but was actually a happily married, childless woman who grew up in Plano and settled with her husband in her parent's basement, that would count as lying about some key facts.

Unfortunately for The Dallas Morning News, the report didn't find that. Instead we are left with a timid little story that suggests, but never says outright, that Davis' rise from poverty to senator wasn't so bad because she had a man.

You can see how a story like that might be a little offensive to girl politicians, Democrat or Republican. But don't worry, News reporter Wayne Slater has his facts. He came to that conclusion by quoting a grand total of three people -- Davis herself, one of her ex-husbands and an anonymous source who suggests that Davis is a liar who cares more about success than her children.

The whole report hinges on a wobbly little summary paragraph. "The basic elements of the narrative are true, but the full story of Davis' life is more complicated ... some facts have been blurred," Slater writes. It turns out, even though Davis had once said she was divorced when she was 19, Slater found some paperwork showing that the divorce wasn't final until she was 21. In an interview, Davis told the DMN that she was 19 or 20 when she separated from her first ex-husband. Slater doesn't lay out for readers why that's significant, but as the story goes on, it becomes clear that this is all part of the Wendy Davis Isn't So Tough, Look at Her Leaning on Her Man narrative.

In the most passive way possible, Slater then questions whether Davis really lifted herself out from poverty to success on her own."Some will question how much of her success was her own doing, and how bad her circumstances were to start," he writes.

The DMN then introduces us to Jeff Davis. This is the man, the paper is suggesting, who some people will think provided for Davis' success.

As reported in the story, Wendy Davis was working two jobs at age 21 when she met Jeff Davis, identified as "a 34-year-old friend of her father's." Jeff "once served" on Fort Worth City Council. Wendy later expressed interest in running, too, leading to this vague quote from Jeff: "I opened some doors for her with people, knew how bright she was and knew she'd do a good job,'' he told the DMN. Yet we never get to learn what opening a door for Wendy Davis means.

It turns out, opening doors isn't all Jeff Davis has done. He also said he paid for her final two years at Texas Christian University and then paid for her time at Harvard, though Wendy Davis denies this. "We paid for it together," she told the paper. Presumably, it is according to Jeff Davis that Jeff Davis funded Wendy's education, and he is still pissed.

"It was ironic," he said. "I made the last payment, and it was the next day she left." Does he mean Wendy Davis used him for tuition money? If only he and Slater would stand up straight, look readers in the eye and tell us what they are really thinking.

In 2003, the marriage ended. Jeff Davis got custody of the kids. Wendy was ordered by a judge to pay child support. Wendy Davis tells the DMN that was what the couple agreed on, but Jeff Davis is silent on that issue. However, we do have this interpretation of the divorce proceedings from Anonymous Guy. "She's not going to let family or raising children or anything else get in her way," Anonymous Guy says. He does not elaborate.

Anonymous Guy is a former colleague, who adds: "A lot of it isn't true about her, but that's just us who knew her. But she'd be a good governor."

No, we don't know what that means either.

Jeff Davis gets the last word in the story, capping the tale off with more suggestions that Wendy Davis pranced through life with a man supporting her. "A lot of what she says is true," he starts off, nicely. But that doesn't last long. "When she was 21, it became a little easier for her ... She got a break," he explains. Then, the final jab directed in Wendy Davis' general direction: "Good things happen, opportunities open up. You take them; you get lucky. That's a better narrative than what they're trying to paint." Yes, that narrative might be better, if you are the person who thinks they are responsible for making Wendy Davis' life "a little easier."


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109 comments
KJMTA
KJMTA

Back in 1996, Wendy Davis lost an election for the Fort Worth, TX City Council. After the election, she sued the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the local newspaper, for defamation. In short, Davis did not like being criticized by the media (something she won't have to worry about this go round), so she sued for those criticisms claiming they defamed her.

The Texas Court of Appeals and then the Texas Supreme Court both threw out her case. But it is worth noting that Davis, in making her case, claimed that the nasty newspaper, by virtue of criticizing her, damaged her "mental health."

More worrisome regarding her mental stability, Davis sued the newspaper months after losing her city council and claimed that she "ha[d] suffered and [was] continuing to suffer damages to her mental health."

Think about that. The best candidate the Texas Democrats could find to run is a lady who admits in open court that a newspaper editorial caused her mental health to be damaged.

She should not even be holding ANY political seat in office. Whats wrong with Texas.

ruddski
ruddski

"We’re not surprised by Greg Abbott’s campaign attacks on the personal story of my life as a single mother...

...

"... I am proud of what I’ve been able to achieve through hard work and perseverance. And I guarantee you that anyone who tries to say otherwise hasn’t walked a day in my shoes.”

Snicker.

fromtexasbygod
fromtexasbygod

If there were even the remotest possibility that Wendy Davis can win the Governors race, I might care about the allegations that she is a cold hearted lying cheating opportunist, but there isn't and I don't.

JustSaying
JustSaying

I am actually surprised that this story took so long to get printed. Its pretty well known amongst the legal community in Ft Worth that the single mother putting herself through Harvard backstory was not entirely true. Sounds like this story matches up to the one I heard when I started asking about Wendy right before the filibuster. She left the kids behind, husband paid for her education, and then she divorced his ass and he got the kids after she graduated. Hell, its a story we have all heard a million times. Usually its the guy who let his wife work and pay the bills while he went to med school only to dump her when he became a doctor. I don't see what the big deal is. Its 2014. Women can be dicks, too.

Guesty
Guesty

1)  No person has accomplished anything of significance without a lot of help and luck along the way.  Why this is up for debate is mystifying, and to argue that pointing this out is the same as saying "a man is responsible for Wendy Davis's success" is disingenuous at best. Davis and her supporters have overstated her "by the bootstraps" narrative, which is far from a unique circumstance among politicians.  This seems like a good opportunity for Davis and her supporters to remind people that Davis's life story is a good example as to why we should offer more help to others who might not be lucky enough to marry a lawyer who can afford to help finance an education and to demonstrate that no amount of success is entirely "earned" in response to the conservatives who view all taxes as theft and all aid as waste.


2)  Most people who accomplish great things in politics or business have made choices regarding their families that I would not have made, and to be frank, demonstrate a level of narcissism that I find unhealthy.  Davis's choice to send her children to Texas while she went to Harvard is one of those choices (she almost certainly could have gone to SMU for free while being with her children).  But as a practical matter, I believe almost every successful politician (and business person) has made similar choices along the way.  You don't get to certain levels in life without leaving a lot of other things on the table, and one of those things is your family.         

JackJett
JackJett

Why is Wayne Slater the go to guy for a supposed alternative voice to right wing BS?  

He is the last person to understand true Dallas Dems.   He is ever so slight to the left of the extreme right.   He is NOT the one to go to for a full on Dallas progressive viewpoint.   Just as Sister Robert Jeffress is not totally representative of tea baggers for a wealthier jeebus.


whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

At the end of the day - only one person will be walking to the podium to accept being the governor of Texas, the other will not

fredgarvinmp713
fredgarvinmp713

For Slater:

'Breaking News: Wendy Davis put her rising political career ahead of family, just like every politician before her.'

I'm no fan of Palin's politics, but it bothered me to no end to hear critics complain that she was a bad mom for choosing her career over kids, that with a special needs kid she should have just stayed at home. Her husband seemed capable.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Wendy graduated TCU in 1990, top of her class.  She graduated Harvard Law School, cum laude, in 1993.  I suppose men did all her studying and took all of her exams? 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

So, someone got a lucky break early in life, ran with it and made something of themselves with it.


And this is a story?


At least on her resume, she has some accomplishments that amount to more than being a cheerleader while in college.

chad
chad

didn't want her own kids? thanks, but no thanks.

rusknative
rusknative

@bvckvsAMAZING how liberals have no integrity to compromise in actuality.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@ruddski LMAO, "single mother"....Don't you have to raise your kids to claim that?

rusknative
rusknative

@Guestyyeah...I guess you are right...kinda like abortion....a woman makes a decision and leaves behind a dead kid and just moves on to wherever SHE wants to go...

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@Guesty "Send her children to Texas ..."? She left her kids with her then-husband. As I said below, many people have career ambitions that require them to live apart from their families. Those military folks overseas -- yeah, are they worthy of ridicule for having children and then leaving them for long periods? This is the modern world, where families often live apart.

rusknative
rusknative

@JackJettwho in their right mind COULD understand "Dallas Dems?"...only the guy running Green Oaks or Timberlawn maybe.

rusknative
rusknative

@whocareswhatithinkln THIS case, the new governor will be going to the podium on wheels while the other leaves in her pink tennis shoes.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

If only ... but this state went for Romney by a 16% margin less than two years ago. Just too damned red, yet.

trendsexpressinc
trendsexpressinc

What MEN ever have to deal with this accusation? Over decades the same attack..real women would NEVER do anything that seperates them from their children! What did you say to your children as they grew up...YOU CAN BE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO BE ******caveat...except for MOTHERS! Mother are not allowed to do anything without full approval by the entire world. WHO exactly has been harmed by Davis attendence at Harvard? Deal with facts and not sexist prejudice. Grow up its a new era!!

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@fredgarvinmp713Still, a family is a commitment, and a commitment that one takes on voluntarily. It makes me uneasy when any person tosses a commitment in order to follow an option that seems more glamorous or attractive or "fulfilling," as we say these days.

I don't regard this as fatal to her political ambitions. There's a lot that makes her an appealing candidate (the most appealing thing is that she is not part of the bunch that's already in.) I'm just, as I said, uneasy.

As for the "leaning on her man" narrative - a particularly nasty little piece of sexism -- how many male politicians have leaned on their woman? In other than the sense that  "I want to thank the little woman who's always stood behind me -- WAY behind me."      

rusknative
rusknative

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katzwell....all those HONORS at Harvard brought us Oblammer....so I guess that Harvard Magna or Summa is just a piece of paper.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-KatzStill, Myrna, I doubt that graduating from Harvard Law School cum laude is enough to cost her the election all by itself.

JackJett
JackJett

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Or it could have been due to her great "hooters" that got her that cum laude.   It is sort of amazing that the DMN would take this route right off the bat.   Yet, I have faith that Wendy Davis is smart enough to know that this sort of BS is going to follow her every moment of every day until the election.   And it is my hope that many men and women will come to her defense. 


mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul

it seems that there is a big contingent who are disturbed by a woman who DID "amount to more than being a cheerleader in college".

see, they prefer those women who know their place, which is to be a cheerleader, then be the good wife, and nothing more.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@chad Who says she didn't want her two children?  She carried them and went into labor to have them, just to give them up?  The husband was awarded custody, for whatever reason the misogynist judge gave, and Wendy paid child support.

rusknative
rusknative

@doublecheese@ruddskiSHE SINGLE MOTHERED TWICE...one child by first husband she divorced and left, and the second child by the second husband that paid for her schooling and set up her career before she divorced him and left BOTH kids behind.

Guesty
Guesty

@CogitoErgoSum @Guesty Military families do not have the option of staying local.  Davis could have gone to SMU, most likely for free.  She chose to go somewhere more prestigious that kept her away from her children.  I would fault anyone as a narcissist who made that choice.  But I assume all major politicians fall into that camp.   

Just-Sharon
Just-Sharon

@rusknative Yes, one must be insane to be a Democrat in Dallas.   That said.....Slater is NOT a voice for Dem's  And Robert Jeffress is the prime spokes-model for Republican's. 

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@CogitoErgoSum That's not what I meant -as in one will walk, one will wheel their way up. Both are cruddy candidates, the only thing is Abbott gets most of his money from out of the state builders and Davis gets most of hers from the law industry and other attorneys. Ill take the builders over the attorneys, (at least for right now) I think we all know by now that you need to watch the money, not the actual person - its going to depend who they owe favors to when they win is how the state (or country) will shape.

I don't vote red or blue, just educated. Following red or blue because you have previously or you think that's what you should do or your family has, is just silly and mindless.


http://votesmart.org/candidate/campaign-finance/50168/greg-abbott#.Ut7fdcLnbIU


https://votesmart.org/candidate/campaign-finance/108093/wendy-davis#.Ut7gEMLnbIU

TexMarine
TexMarine

@JackJett "this sort of BS"....like her backstory? That BS? Yeah, it will follow her. All the way into obscurity.

dingo
dingo

@mavdog@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul 

I value those that know their place as good parents. You forgot that one.

Abandoned kids to go to Harvard instead of reeling in ambitions and commuting to SMU? That says a lot in my book.

Daniel
Daniel

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

Do you have any reason at all to believe the judge was a misogynist? Are you even sure that Wendy fought for custody -- that she didn't relinquish it willingly? I know you're not so stupid you can't see that the kind of gender essentialism you're promulgating in your comment has been used mostly as a chain to "keep women in their place" for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. (It's been no bed of roses for men, either, but we clearly got the long end of the stick.) 


Is there a reason you have such a blind spot in that area? I'm sure it must have hurt really bad, but at least try using your brain. 

doublecheese
doublecheese

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz This simply doesn't happen in Texas.  Mothers are always given preferential treatment in custody cases.  A mother basically has to be a meth addicted prostitute to have her kids taken away.  The only way this happened is that Wendy Davis didn't want her children.

Guesty
Guesty

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  Excuse me, but on what basis do you believe the judge was a misogynist?  Because the judge had the audacity to think the children might, in some cases, be better off with their father than their mother?  Do you just believe the judge should always pick the parent without a penis to raise the children?

Guesty
Guesty

@CogitoErgoSum @Guesty It's not the same thing because she didn't have to go to Boston to become a lawyer, or even to become a very successful lawyer.  It just enhanced her chances.    

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@Guesty @CogitoErgoSum Yes, but the member of the military either had kids knowing they could face a lengthy separation or joined the military after having the kids. Either way, they knew the military could separate the family.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@whocareswhatithink @CogitoErgoSum You should choose your words carefully -- just as the Davis campaign should have with the walking joke. Also, I'm super proud of you for being an educated voter.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ruddski
 " the democratization of Iraq and Afghanistan"

Man, news moves fast these days!! When did this happen? Or are you quoting a Biblical prophesy?

ruddski
ruddski

Correction, Jack - Leftists will see Bush as a war criminal, but who cares? What counts is how History will see the results of the democratization of Iraq and Afghanistan, and that's up to the people there.

Bush was declared a war criminal by the left just as quickly and baselessly as his successor was awarded the Nobel. Y'all are just a bit too impulsive.

JackJett
JackJett

@TexMarine@JackJett A worthless war that killed about a million has yet to follow Bush/Cheney into obscurity.  He is now painting male buttocks and Dick is purchasing new hearts on Ebay.   Now history will show them as war criminals.   But don't let the possibility of having a woman as a State leader frighten you.  Work through it.

Guesty
Guesty

@mavdog @Guesty 


#1:  The bottom 25% of Harvard admitted students have significantly higher LSATs than the top 25% of SMU students.  Her GPA must have been among the top among admitted students at either institution.  Law school admissions follow a predictable formula.   


#2:  I don't overate SMU, but you seem to miss the point.  She wasn't presented a choice between feeding her family and or barely making ends meet.  She was presented the choice between a very good law school (SMU is in the top quarter of all law schools) and being with her kids or the best (top 3) and not being with her kids. 


#3:  That's fine, but there isn't any reason I can't fault people, including myself, for putting career ahead of family.  And make no mistake, in my opinion this is a flaw shared by almost all successful people, so I see no reason to base a vote on it.  


I give money to Davis's campaign every month, I will likely volunteer for her campaign, and I will definitely vote for her.  But that doesn't stop me from seeing both the good and the bad in her.         

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@Guesty

#1. your point IS conjecture, no matter how much you wish to nuance it.

#2.you overrate SMU Law, and I would challenge anyone who would attempt to place SMU Law as anywhere near the stature of Harvard Law. #2 vs #48 in US News rankings? come on!

#3. I chose a career that gave me the freedom to be with my kids as much as I wished, but I sure don't get on a high horse and look down on those who put ttheir career as the most important. IMO those that chose their career as most important do not have "a flaw" as you put it.

Guesty
Guesty

@mavdog @Guesty  


#1:  First in her class at TCU, high enough LSAT to get into Harvard = Full ride at SMU.  It isn't complete conjecture, it is a well informed estimate based on knowledge of law school admissions.    


#2:  Yes, it would be a sacrifice of sorts to go to SMU when you could have gone to Harvard (e.g. you could write off becoming a law professor or sitting on the SCOTUS if you go to SMU).  But there also isn't any doubt that going to SMU law and doing well there would have been more than enough to launch a very successful law career.  In other words, the difference is about feeding your ego, not in the ability to provide a nice life for yourself and your family.    


#3: It absolutely is a flaw to have ambition and strive to achieve the highest one can reach when that interferes with your relationship with your children.  I say this as someone who shares that flaw and wrestles every single day with the fact that I spend far too much time working and not enough time with my son.  But I never would have considered spending years away from my child to advance my career from being merely successful to being very successful.  

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@Guesty

you keep repeating the phrase ""chosen...SMU (most likely for free)". that is 1) complete conjecture that she would have been given a full scholarship, and 2) there is no dispute that a law degree from Harvard is much more valuable, is of grater accomplishment, than one from SMU.

I find it disingenious to criticize Davis for accepting the offer to attend Harvard and having her young children stay with their father in Texas. As stated above Harvard is head and shoulders a more prestigious school with a faculty of superior merit, and not moving the kids meant as little disruption to their environment as possible.

It is not a "flaw" to have ambition and strive to achieve the highest one can reach.

Guesty
Guesty

@mavdog @dingo Mavdog, I understand what you are saying, but having attended law school with several parents, I don't know any that left their children behind.  I think every one of them would have chosen going to SMU (most likely for free) and staying with their children rather than going to Harvard and living away from their children (as it turns out, they all moved their children and significant others to law school with them).    


That being said, I think basically all successful politicians have exactly the same flaw and view it as a non-story.  The same is true in business.  The titans of industry are married to their jobs and view their company as their favorite child.  You just don't get that far in ultra-competitive worlds if you put your family before your ambition.    

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@dingo @mavdog @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul Abandoned? Really? That's a bit of a stretch. Many people have ambitions that require them to live apart from their family for long periods. How about those military officers overseas -- did they all abandon their families?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@dingo

would you level the same criticism on a father who left town to go to Harvard rather than stay here for the much lesser regarded SMU?

also, are you saying the father is not as capable of running the house as the mother?

is having "ambitions" a negative?

I really have difficulty with the premise that you are making, with the phrase "know their place as good parents" you indicate a very narrow viewpoint on life.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@doublecheese @mavdog So what? It's not as if she abandoned them, never to enter their lives again They are apparently on good terms with her, helping with her campaign and all.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@mavdog @doublecheese OK, so she wanted the kids a little bit?  She made her decision, and good for her, but it wasn't a choice to stay with her children.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@doublecheese

no, that is your opinion, and only an opinion.the facts say the opposite.

as stated in the article she wanted the kids but they decided it was best for the kids to stay with the dad.

she would not be the first parent to make a difficult decison that sacrifices what the parent wants in favor of what is best for the kids.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@doublecheese

the kids were not "taken away". the parents decided the kids should stay with the father, the court agreed with their decision.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@Guesty

you're correct, the judge does not deserve any labels, for it was clear from the article that the parents made the decison together that it would be best for the kids to stay with the father, to maintain the same environment in which they had lived for years.

likelwise it is incorrect to criticize Wendy Davis for agreeing to leaving the kids with the father. In her (and her spouse's) view it was best for the kids, and that is really all that matters.

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