Wendy Davis Proves—Be Careful When Anointing a “Hero”

January 21st, 2014

Reading the Dallas Morning News biography of Texas gubernatorial candidate, Wendy Davis, feels more like checking in on the latest update of an episode of the evening soap Dallas than learning the background of a serious contender for the state’s highest office.

While I admire any woman who can defy all the odds to improve her life, I’m not sure that the Wendy Davis Story is truly the modern day Horatio Alger tale she likes to advertise it to be.  Instead, her story seems more like something F. Scott Fitzgerald might liked to have taken a crack at.

According to the article, her early struggles were eased considerably when she married attorney, Jeff Davis, who was thirteen years her senior. For example, when she entered Harvard Law School, he cashed in his 401K to help fund her education.  According to Mr. Davis, the day after the last payment was made on that investment, she left him.  After their divorce, he obtained custody of the couple’s daughter and she paid child support.  While I’ve seen her on a few lists last year among the Women of the Year, I venture to guess after this revelation, Mother of the Year isn’t in her future.

Even the filibuster that made her famous may not be what it appears to be.  I’ve been told that she may have been asked to do it by Planned Parenthood and that they orchestrated the event.  As the story goes, they were considering asking another state Senator who is a man, but they thought having a woman would be better.  I have no idea if this is true or not so in fairness someone should ask her, but if it is it certainly paints an entirely different picture of what transpired that evening.

Was Wendy Davis the female Jefferson Smith of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington fame who stood up for a cause until she could stand no more inspiring throngs of citizens to follow her, or was she just another politician asked to help out a powerful interest group and she did her part?  Obviously, as “heroes” go, there’s a huge difference.

I bring all this up because my oldest son has shared with me on more than one occasion how much many of the girls in his class admire and love Wendy Davis.  I think it’s great to have role models (though one who advocates late term abortion is a mystery to me) and to look up to people who deserve admiration, but I think it’s always a good idea to do a little homework on a person before elevating them to a future on Mount Rushmore.

Too often lately, we tend to pick our heroes first and ask questions later. This is how some people grow up to become very cynical. Perhaps going forward we should put all public figures in a probation period so that we can find out if they really are exactly what they initially profess to be or what we initially want them to be, so we don’t end up being sorely disappointed later.

Today, many on the left are offering the same sort of analysis of Governor Chris Christie.  Hopefully, they continue to ascribe the same scrutiny to Wendy Davis.

In the Dallas Morning News piece, Wendy’s ex-husband attempts to redefine her image by saying, “She got a break.  Good things happen, opportunities open up.  You take them; you get lucky.”

So maybe she got lucky and married a man with some money who supported her ambition.  Maybe she was asked to do something that made her an overnight sensation.

That all may be fine at one level, but is it enough to warrant becoming the Governor of a state or anybody’s hero?

When it comes to Wendy Davis, there are many questions left to be answered and time certainly will tell.



  1. @kaylawildflower
    Posted Jan 23 2014 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    Funny how you think “an entirely different picture” of Wendy Davis emerges if she was asked by a group she supports to filibuster a bill they mutually oppose.

    I, on the other hand, see a world of difference between a woman who opposes ongoing chipping away at abortion-rights through ever-increasing restrictions, and a woman who “advocates late-term abortions.”

    • monica
      Posted Jan 23 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      As to your first point, I’m only noting that she became an overnight sensation over an action that they considered asking Kirk Watson to do. I guarantee you that the public response would have been quite different if he’d been up there instead of her. As to your second comment, I see your point, however, Ms. Davis has since had every opportunity to clarify and oppose late term abortion. She has never done this which can only make one believe she supports it. As the mother of a premature baby, I personally oppose late term abortion. If Ms. Davis clarified the difference you note, I may still not entirely agree with her on all the issues, but I certainly would view her in a different light. Thanks for your comment.