Is it acceptable for a candidate to mislead voters about key facts in his or her biography?
Questions have surfaced about Texas Democrat and state senator Wendy Davis who hopes to become governor when the October elections roll around.
The Republican in the race is Greg Abbott who is currently Texas’ Attorney General.
Davis made a name for herself when she filibustered a state bill aimed at increasing regulations for abortionists and prohibiting elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy except in cases where the mother’s life is endangered. Until the filibuster, Davis wasn’t a national brand, and like many progressives, she chose a social issue to draw attention to her platform.
Senate Bill 5 was introduced after horrific details emerged about Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortion mill owner who viewed abortion as a tool in the “war on poverty.” Gosnell was convicted first of murder and then for running a pill mill. Media depicted Gosnell as a “rogue abortionist,” but because regulations on abortion clinics aren’t like those in place for healthcare facilities, it’s not possible to credibly call him “rogue.”
Little is known about standards in abortion facilities across the country. No media spin can remove the horror a person experiences when reading the official case file about Gosnell and viewing photos placed on line by Philadelphia authorities.
With her filibuster, Davis rapidly became a media darling, and she spun a story about her personal life, sharing her experiences as a young single mother who worked to achieve her dream.
However, questions are being raised about the image Davis painted and details of her hardships. For instance, her image as a “divorced teenage mother living in a trailer” has attracted donations. She did live in a trailer—according to The Dallas Morning News, for “only a few months.”
Her husband cared for their children when she headed to Harvard. After the couple divorced, he got custody. The paper said she divorced her husband in 2003:
“Jeff Davis said that was right around the time the final payment on their Harvard Law School loan was due. ‘It was ironic,’ he said. ‘I made the last payment, and it was the next day she left.’”
The newspaper attempted to soften potential criticism about Davis’ truth-telling by citing “chronological errors and incomplete details.”
Davis admitted her “language should be tighter.”
Other questions have been raised about the veracity of claims about Davis’ fundraising.
Republican candidate Abbott’s life hasn’t been a piece of cake. An accident when he was young left him partly paralyzed and reliant on a wheel chair. As AG in Texas, Abbott established a crime unit aimed at protecting children from predators and a Medicaid fraud unit. Abbott is also a staunch defender of states’ rights.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Jan. 20, 2014)