On the front of The New York Times National section Tuesday, Matt Stevens reported breathlessly on the reemergence of Wendy Davis (aka “Abortion Barbie”): “From Filibuster Over Abortion To Run for Seat in U.S. House.” As a Texas state senator, Davis notoriously attempted a filibuster of a state abortion bill in 2013, which made her, in Stevens’ words, an “overnight political star.” In the press, at least.
The headline skipped her failed campaign for Texas governor in 2014, a race she lost badly to Republican Greg Abbott:
Wendy Davis, a former Democratic nominee for governor of Texas whose marathon filibuster as a state senator turned her into an overnight political star, said Monday that she would run for a House seat held by a freshman Republican.
Her bid to challenge the incumbent, Chip Roy, comes about six years after she stood in pink running shoes and talked for more than 11 hours to temporarily halt passage of an anti-abortion bill.
Ms. Davis’s effort vaulted her onto the national political scene — momentum that led her to run for governor in 2014.
But the bill she filibustered eventually passed, and she lost the 2014 election to Greg Abbott by more than 20 percentage points.
Conservative women like Phyllis Schlafly wouldn’t be the beneficiary of flattery like this in the New York Times: “Ms. Davis has often leaned on her back story to inspire voters and demonstrate her tenacity.”
Inspired by bad losses? Stevens continued:
Now 56, she gave birth to her first child as a teenager. She made her way from junior college into Harvard Law School before winning a seat on the Fort Worth City Council and later a seat in the Texas Senate.
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….on June 25, 2013, Ms. Davis began another filibuster in another special session: to block Senate Bill 5. It sought to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and impose other requirements that critics said would force most of the 42 abortion clinics in the state to close.
She did not sit, eat, drink or use the bathroom until she was finished speaking. After various objections and pandemonium, the session officially ended and the bill was declared dead. (The next month, Mr. Perry reintroduced the bill in another special session, and it passed.)
Stevens pumped up her prospects, criticizing her freshman Republican opponent:
Mr. Roy, a former chief of staff to Senator Ted Cruz, won his seat in 2018 by less than three percentage points and has since gained attention for blocking final passage of a long-delayed disaster relief bill….
A month later, he faced the wrath of fellow lawmakers angered by his efforts to force dozens of votes late into the night.
Stevens let Davis have the last stirring words.
“Win or lose, it’s about doing what’s right,” she said. “Because I’m a Texan. And Texans don’t quit.”
Durring the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, Stevens weaponized Kavanaugh’s previous light-hearted joking about excessive drinking under the prim headline “Drinking Days Fondly Recalled, Raising Eyebrows.” (Apparently journalists are never found in bars.)
And one from the “Name that Party” file: In May 2017, Stevens managed to write an entire story about disgraced (and now imprisoned) Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown without mentioning the inconvenient fact that Brown was a Democrat (her party identification was added in later.)
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Author: Clay Waters