Most of you have no doubt read this already, but it’s interesting, not just for the information about Davis but for the CW biases. Robert Draper, in the NYTimes Magazine:
… That Davis is from Texas raises the stakes for Democrats. America’s longstanding ambivalence about its most bravado-stricken state — I say this as a proud native — intensifies whenever Texans take their acts onto the national stage. Under the spotlight, they revert to type, or at least seem to, reinforcing all the crude images of dead-certain intransigence that breeds resentment both at home and abroad. In Democratic circles, two of the most despised figures in recent memory are George W. Bush and Rick Perry, who have occupied the governor’s office consecutively for the last two decades. (Another Texan, Senator Ted Cruz, today heads the liberals’ most-loathed list.) Were Davis to take the executive office, the triumph would signify a taming of an ornery conservative ethos that resides throughout America but is nurtured in Texas like nowhere else.
To this end, Davis makes for an intriguing warrior. Even her political enemies concede her toughness. After achieving a rare feat in Texas five years ago by unseating a state senator — “Usually these senators go out in a casket,” Rodney Ellis told me — she arrived in Austin as the G.O.P.’s Public Enemy No. 1. “They never gave her the benefit of the doubt,” said another Democratic state senator, Kirk Watson. “It was more, ‘Let’s kill her off.’ ” The state’s Republican Party has seemingly broken all the rules in its quest to undo her: first, in 2008 legally challenging her right to run for State Senate against the incumbent, Kim Brimer (saying Davis had not officially vacated her City Council seat by the filing deadline, an argument a court eventually rejected); in 2009 momentarily considering not seating her as a senator (because of the aforementioned lawsuit); in 2011 trying to gouge out her minority voting support by redrawing her district (prompting a federal court to intervene at her behest and mostly restore her original district map); in 2012 persuading her G.O.P. Senate colleagues to openly rally support for her opponent during her re-election campaign (a breach of unwritten Texas Senate etiquette); in 2013 removing her from the Senate Education Committee as a punishment for staging a minifilibuster in the previous session over a state budget that slashed funds for education (she continued to attend the committee’s meetings anyway); and then, of course, that same year turning Davis’s marathon filibuster into a gladiatorial contest from which she emerged an overnight sensation.
At the same time, celebrity does not altogether suit Davis. She lacks the salty oratorical verve of Ann Richards. She is unswervingly articulate and genial but maintains a lawyerly remove; her emotional thermostat remains more or less at room temperature. She is a policy enthusiast, sometimes to a fault. Her opening attack on Greg Abbott, who is the state attorney general and is expected to win the Republican primary for governor on March 4, focused on his refusal to call for further regulation of the high-interest payday-lending industry — a pet issue for Davis, but one that most people know or care little about. One day, she said to me scornfully of Abbott: “He’s not a player in Texas policy! He’s got no experience in educational issues. He’s got policy-wonk people telling him what he’s going to say. My policy comes from me, from my experience and my passion. And I force my team to develop a policy around my initiatives, my desires of where we should go.”
Despite Granholm’s Joan of Arc allusion, Davis is anything but a martyr. During our initial meeting last May, five weeks before her filibuster, Davis pointedly observed that “somebody’s got to step up” and run against Abbott. At the time, she wasn’t volunteering: She had no desire to be, as she would later put it, the Democratic Party’s “sacrificial lamb.” Only after the filibuster, when polling data showed that her name recognition had shot up in Texas by 40 points, that women admired her and that her identification with the issue of abortion was not damaging, did she decide to do the stepping up herself. And when she did, in October, her rollout ad was striking in its discreetness. In it, the words “Democrat” and “abortion” went unsaid. Instead, the ad was replete with sunsets and longhorn steers and working-class heroes — “It looks like ‘Friday Night Lights’ B-roll,” one Democrat told me approvingly — and with Davis conflating the Texas spirit with her own. As one of the ad makers, Peter Cari, told me: “Why cede that to the Republicans? Why give them all those powerful images? She is a Texas fighter.”
But Davis has been convinced by her advisers that the road to victory does not begin with a fight — not, at least, for a female Democrat in Texas. One day last month on the campaign trail, I asked Davis if it was true, as I had been hearing, that she wanted to be more aggressive than J. D. Angle, her top adviser, and some others did. “Yes!” she responded immediately, with a wide smile.
But then her grin subsided, and she added: “I think you have to be careful. You have to know exactly what is going to resonate with voters. And you can’t get ahead of that. You have to be very careful with your approach.”…
Oh, payday lending and educational policy — what serious politician would waste his time on such trivial issues? (Yes, I can hear Kay screaming from here. Not to mention Senator Warren giving the author a very stern look! )