Wendy Davis’ lone claim to fame as she campaigns to become the next governor of Texas is that she filibustered a bill that would stop abortions all the way up to birth. Davis received national attention for the pro-abortion publicity stunt — enough to make her essentially the Democratic nominee in the race that will likely pit her against pro-life Attorney General Greg Abbott.
However, instead of highlighting her filibuster to protect killing viable babies in abortions, Davis appears ashamed of her actions — so much so that she’s left any mention of the filibuster off her web site.
Writing at National Review, Charles C. W. Cooke notices the omission and the question of what, if anything, Davis offers Texas voters as a candidate:
At the outset, the answer to this question was that Davis is running to publicize the alleged restrictions on abortion in her state, and to repeal the law that she spent eleven hours attempting to filibuster last summer. Is it any longer? Not really, no. Indeed, if one’s knowledge of Davis were sourced solely after her candidacy was announced, one would struggle to know that she is pro-choice at all. Jonah Goldberg correctly noted last week that we have become all-too accustomed to the friends of abortion flatly refusing to talk about their standpoint, and that it is now customary for advocates to fall back on euphemism and indignation. He is right: One could fill an entire library with examples of such obfuscation. Nevertheless, few advocates have gone so far as actually to say in public, “I am pro-life,” as Davis did in January. Nor, typically, do pro-choice politicians run away from their position in toto. It is presumably of considerable embarrassment to Davis’s early champions that nowhere on her campaign website is there a shred of evidence of the filibuster that brought her to national prominence, invited the praise of a president, and briefly convinced the kids at the Daily Kos that Texas might soon be turned blue. “Reproductive justice” apostles, are thou not a touch disheartened?
Davis’s omission is clearly not the product of an aversion to the word “filibuster,” for another, less famous performance is presented center-stage in her literature. “In 2011,” the “Education” section proclaims proudly, “Wendy filibustered a budget that cut over $5 billion from education funding and she has continued to fight tirelessly to restore that funding to education.”
All of which is to ask, “What, exactly, is her appeal?” Love or loathe her opponent, he is offering an ambitious, clear, open manifesto that includes “ending Obamacare” by “fighting and repealing an unconstitutional tax”; “enacting strong voter ID laws”; limiting the power of the EPA, which he terms a “runaway federal agency that must be reined in”; and vigorously defending the Tenth Amendment by continuing to file “lawsuits against the Obama Administration to protect Texas’ sovereignty.” Moreover, unlike Davis, Abbott doesn’t have a trust problem. Can she overcome the difference?
“Fame is a bee / It has a song / It has a sting / Ah, too, it has a wing,” Emily Dickinson once wrote. There is a lesson in there, especially for a culture that moves now at the pace of the thunderbolt. Wendy Davis sang her song and, without examination or pause, was given her wings. They have carried her far. Now, alas, it is time for the sting, and at this rate it looks likely to burn hard and burn fast. What was the case for her again?