Dallas Morning News Editorial: Wendy Davis Can Still Win My Heart!

DMN editorial writer Todd Robberson writes that he is disappointed with Democrat governor candidate Wendy Davis after his colleague, Wayne Slater, revealed large holes in her back story.


I read Dallas Morning News staff writer Wayne Slater’s set-the-record-straight storyabout Wendy Davis on Sunday after taking a big gulp. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the truth, or how badly she and her aides had screwed up the truth. Like lots of readers, I wanted to know that Texas finally had a viable Democratic candidate so that this would truly be a contest. I didn’t want Greg Abbott (or whoever the Republicans ultimately choose) to win just because he’s a Republican.

A journalist who didn’t want to know the truth. We have too many of those, and we have the president we currently have because of them. They refuse to this day to vet him.

Robberson allows that the questions about Davis’ second marriage and the funding of her education are troublesome.

Davis remarried and had another child. She got herself into Harvard Law School, which is a major accomplishment all by itself. Her husband, Jeffry Davis, took out a loan, footed the bill and agreed to take care of the two daughters while Wendy went off to Cambridge, Mass., to earn her law degree. Something happened while she was up there. The couple apparently drifted apart, as can happen when two people are separated for such a long period. There are hints of infidelity.


There are also hints of drug and alcohol abuse, and a restraining order against her. Many keep forgetting about that.

Uh-oh, suddenly, this isn’t turning into the kind of story we want to tell our children. It gets worse. Whatever happened between the two, Wendy wound up sacrificing custody of her youngest daughter, while the older one, now a young adult, chose to remain with Jeff Davis instead of moving in with Wendy. That’s a really big deal. All of a sudden, the image of a struggling mom working her way through law school disintegrates, and the image left is hardly the one we were led to believe. Even worse, Wendy Davis filed for divorce right after her husband paid the final bill for her law degree.

Maybe the true story was so horrendous that Wendy Davis sought deliberately to keep it from public view. Maybe she feared that if she started correcting the skewed public perception of her background, it would open a can of worms.

Or maybe she knew that her political beliefs render her unelectable in Texas, so she invented a compelling back story to connect to voters who disagree with her beliefs. That’s essentially what Barack Obama did in 2008. He even fooled the likes of Peggy Noonan, who have seen politicians come and go for decades. If Davis could work some of that magic, she stood a chance. If she came up with that back story with that purpose in mind, it would show strategy and  insight that Davis hasn’t demonstrated since announcing her run for governor.


Editorialist Robberson allows that Davis’ decision to gloss over her troublesome back story was wrong. But that won’t stop him from voting for her.

This story won’t make or break my decision on whether to vote for her or not. I’ll wait to read her answers to our online questionnaire and how she does in our interview. I want to know where she stands politically much more than I need to know the tawdry details of her life early in her career. But I do need reassurance that the words coming from her mouth match what she would actually do in office. In other words, I need to believe her. That’s where Slater’s story will make a difference.

In other words, I want to believe. I will work to believe. Will you help me believe, Wendy Davis?



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