So this is how it works: The GOP is a bitter bunch, with a serious and well-deserved inferiority complex. They like to go tit-for-tat. So, back in 2008, when the McCain campaign was releasing attack ads accusing Obama of being little more than a hollow celebrity in the same vein as a Paris Hilton, the very same people were vetting their very own vacant superstar in one doltish and attention-hungry governor of Alaska named Sarah Palin.
When the Democrats have a winning and accurate message about the Republican War on Women, the GOP has to dig deep and strike back, claiming that the Democrats are really the group with a war on women! The Democrats’ anti-poverty platform? Nothing compared to ours! All facts be damned. You have to admit that, catchy hashtags aside, the Republicans just don’t have many original ideas to offer the country. And that is why they just keep losing national elections.
And now deep red-state Texas might be up for grabs. State senator Wendy Davis captured the national imagination last June with a 12 hour filibuster that temporarily stalled the passage of some of the strictest (and most likely unconstitutional) anti-abortion laws in the nation. I say temporarily, because Texas Governor Rick Perry simply regrouped and called for a special session with special rules that made another filibuster near impossible and the abortion bill passed with little fanfare a month later, already resulting in the closure of one third of the state’s abortion clinics. Regardless, Wendy Davis on the Senate floor in her pink sneakers and urinary catheter, standing up for women’s rights in the male-dominated Texas legislature drew a crowd of thousands, attracted donors, and set her up for a run at the governorship which she officially announced that October.
And here comes that tit-for-tat: With the Chris Christie scandal turning into a monster with a life of its own, consuming media coverage and controlling the national political conversation, the Republicans need a diversion. And they think they found it in this Dallas Morning News piece. Breitbart screams “TEXAS’S WENDY DAVIS LIED ABOUT LIFE STORY” and calls her a liar. Conservative Outfitters doesn’t even bother changing the headline–they just duplicate it. Drudge links to the Dallas Morning News article and claims that Wendy Davis “blurred” her biography. Of course, the anti-choice advocacy groups, still stinging from her victory last year, are jumping on this as well. All of these headlines are a reference to the “revelation” that Davis, who uses her experience as a teen mom to boost her appeal, didn’t actually divorce the father of her child until she was 21. A slightly closer look tells you that this is actually no revelation at all. Davis separated from her husband at the age of 19, which technically would have made her, well, a single teen mom. The rest of the hysteria is hardly even worth mentioning as it dwells on allegations of adultery that never made it into final divorce paperwork and the fact that Davis’s second husband helped pay for her law degree. Big fucking deal. But before this information gets any more contorted and spun out via the industrial conservative media complex, it is worth pointing out that the one potentially damaging fact (the divorce) is and will be much ado about nothing.
Beyond the national diversion this provides for the right, it is also a sign of just how nasty the Texas Governor’s race has the potential to become. Davis has raised more than $12 Million in the last six months, and is only trailing Texas Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott (who has twice that in his coffers, but raised less than that in the same period) by six points. With that kind of prominence in a state that hasn’t elected a Democratic governor in 20 years, Abbott has a true challenger on his hands and the state GOP establishment will not take kindly to that.