The lone Texas gubernatorial debate took place in the Rio Grande Valley Friday night. Front-runner Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican, just had to get through the debate without making any negative news. The pressure was all on Wendy Davis, Democrat state senator trailing by a lot in the polls, to make something — anything positive — happen.
Well, she made something happen. But it wasn’t positive.
Davis attacked Abbott over a school finance lawsuit that’s in appeal.
Abbott responded that as attorney general, he has an obligation to follow the law and keep the suit going.
Davis then went into unleashed mode, and talked over everyone. Her actions are aptly being called a “meltdown” statewide. The moderator felt compelled to remind her of the debate rules.
You can hear in the clip, Davis calling on Abbott to ignore a state law in the matter and “stand up to the legislature.”
That would be the legislature of which Davis is a member, which passed a law concerning when the attorney general may not just settle a case, as Davis wants him to do in this case. That law is S.B. 899, which passed during the 2011 session of the Texas legislature. Davis ought to remember, because she was there. It prohibits the state attorney general from entering into a settlement that costs over $10 million or that “commits the state to a continuing increased expenditure of state funds over subsequent biennia” without the legislature’s approval. The school finance case would clearly cost far more than that.
So Attorney General Abbott, following the law, cannot settle the school finance suit unless the legislature authorizes him to do so. That’s the law. He reminded Davis of her own record on that law.
Namely, that Wendy Davis voted for that very law.
Wendy Davis was clearly very unhappy to have her own record used against her. So she stepped all over the debate rules and ended up advocating that the elected attorney general break the law just to satisfy her.
Wendy Davis violated the debate rules, which isn’t a huge deal, but she did so in pursuit of trying to goad her opponent into breaking a state law — which she voted for and which as a lawyer, Davis knows that the attorney general cannot do.
That is a huge deal. It’s a disqualifying deal.
It’s at this point that Texas writers usually deploy a finishing phrase — that dog won’t hunt, Davis is all hat and no cattle, she’s a gun with no ammo that still manages to misfire — that sort of thing. All of those phrases and a whole lot more fit the Davis run for governor. She’s all hype and no substance. She’s one-dimensional, just a left side who’s never right. But those two minutes showed a deep problem with Wendy Davis as a candidate, a lawyer and a person.
Not only did Wendy Davis meltdown at the mere mention of her own record, showing an intemperate side that would wear thin quickly with daily exposure, she signaled that if she were ever entrusted with executive authority of any kind in state government, she would not hesitate to shred state law and the Constitution if she found them to be in the way of pursuing her leftwing agenda. Davis would form a government unto herself and just ignore precedent, current law, and the people’s representatives in the legislature.
That’s just not how things work. Not now, and hopefully not ever.
Watch the whole embarrassing two minutes on the next page.