Wendy Davis myths busted by Dallas paper

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Interesting story in the Dallas Morning News, examining the reality behind the claims Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis has made about the challenges she has faced in life. Davis, a statuesque blonde nicknamed "Abortion Barbie" for her filibuster defending the abortion industry against a bill protecting women's health, is a Democratic candidate for Texas governor.

A single mother working two jobs, she met Jeff Davis, a lawyer 13 years older than her, married him and had a second daughter. He paid for her last two years at Texas Christian University and her time at Harvard Law School, and kept their two daughters while she was in Boston. When they divorced in 2005, he was granted parental custody, and the girls stayed with him. Wendy Davis was directed to pay child support....

When she was accepted to Harvard Law School, Jeff Davis cashed in his 401(k) account and eventually took out a loan to pay for her final year there.

"I was making really good money then, well over six figures," he said. "But when you've got someone at Harvard, you've got bills to pay, you've got two small kids. The economy itself was marginal. You do what you have to do, no big deal."

The daughters, then 8 and 2, remained with Jeff Davis in Fort Worth while Wendy Davis was at Harvard....

Over time, the Davises' marriage was strained. In November 2003, Wendy Davis moved out.

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."...

In his initial divorce filing, Jeff Davis said the marriage had failed, citing adultery on her part and conflicts that the couple could not overcome. The final court decree makes no mention of infidelity, granting the divorce solely "on the ground of insupportability."

Amber was 21 and in college. Dru was in ninth grade. Jeff Davis was awarded parental custody. Wendy Davis was ordered to pay $1,200 a month in child support.

"She did the right thing," he said. "She said, 'I think you're right; you'll make a good, nurturing father. While I've been a good mother, it's not a good time for me right now.'"...

A former colleague and political supporter who worked closely with Davis when she was on the council said the body's work was very time-consuming.

"Wendy is tremendously ambitious," he said, speaking only on condition of anonymity in order to give what he called an honest assessment. "She's not going to let family or raising children or anything else get in her way."

He said: "She's going to find a way, and she's going to figure out a way to spin herself in a way that grabs at the heart strings. A lot of it isn't true about her, but that's just us who knew her. But she'd be a good governor."

MORE: Wendy Davis was a SLAPPer, suing the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1996 for what sounds like Butthurt in the First Degree. Here is the conclusion of the paper's editorial decrying her campaign tactics in a city council race against Cathy Hirt:

What we are saying today is nothing more than this: It is sad that victory means so much to some people that they will follow the time-honored rule of politics: To win, you must fight dirty and with innuendo.

That's what happens all the time nationally. It is not the rule here, but the exception. You would think someone who grew up here would know that.

Andrew Stiles of National Review Online writes of Wendy Davis's lawsuit against the newspaper:

The complaint itself was light on subtlety and nuance, arguing that the paper's conduct "was extreme and outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, as to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community." As a result of the paper's actions, Davis alleged, she had "suffered and is continuing to suffer damages to her mental health, her physical health, her right to pursue public offices in the past and in the future, and to her legal career" and deserved financial compensation.

The suit was essentially laughed out of court. It was quickly dismissed by a district-court judge, who sustained all of the defendants' objections, largely on the grounds that Davis had failed to present legitimate evidence to support her libel claim. It was unanimously rejected by an appellate court three years later and ultimately by the Texas Supreme Court. The defense appears to have had a relatively easy job arguing that Davis was challenging a newspaper's right to express an opinion she disagreed with, a challenge that obviously ran afoul of the First Amendment.

The good news for Texas newspapers and bloggers is that under new Texas anti-SLAPP legislation, approved in 2011 and strengthened in 2013, a suit like Davis's would not only be laughed out of court, but the plaintiff would be required to pay the defendant's legal fees, a penalty intended to deter lawsuits filed with no hope of success in order to harass and silence a critic.

MORE: RedState: "Wendy Davis' Ex Asked a Court to Order Her Not to Use Drugs Before Seeing Her Kids"

MORE: Houston Chronicle had many of these details in a profile of Wendy Davis from September 1, 2013. Via Breitbart.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 19, 2014 11:24 PM.

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