Yesterday in the comments, rikyrah posted a link to this Margaret Carlson piece, “Wendy Davis is being Swiftboated”. It’s based on this Dallas Morning News piece that examines Davis’ life story. The Morning News piece points out a few embarrassing lapses in fact, and her second ex-husband makes a few comments that aren’t very flattering to her, and some that are. He also discloses that he got custody of their daughter, who was in 8th grade at the time, and that Wendy filed for divorce the day after the last payment was made on her Harvard loans. (And that she paid $1,200 month in child support to him after the divorce, so it’s not like she took him to the cleaners.)
Overall, it’s a mixed bag detailing what appears to have been a more-or-less amicable divorce, and it shows that Wendy didn’t spend as much time living in a trailer as she might have led us to believe. If Davis’ biggest sin is letting her middle-school-aged daughter stay in the family home, and making her rise from the lower middle class to the upper middle class sound a little more hardscrabble, then she’s about as big a liar as every other politician ever.
Margaret has to work to jam this piece into the “Swiftboating” frame, because it isn’t a bunch of lies, it’s not that negative, and because Davis and her allies have learned the lesson of the Kerry campaign and are pushing back hard and quick. And while in 2004 the best the haters could do was some TV ads and band-aids, today the haters have social media where shit like this shows their true colors for everyone to see.
To say Davis is being “Swiftboated” is to cast her as a weak, powerless victim of right-wing media. Right-wing media is still a powerful force, but I don’t think it works the way it did a decade ago, no matter what Margaret Carlson says, because Democrats like Davis have gotten better at defending themselves. Perhaps Carlson should engage in a Sister Souljah moment with the rest of the DC media, and tell them to retire the phrase from their vocabulary.