Wendy Davis, and Past “Ugliness”

Beauty is only skin deep, and the world is full of thin skinned people.
~ Richard Armour


“I am not a crook!” Richard Nixon once famously declared, but the media uncovered the facts, and exposed him otherwise.  Without a media willing to engage in the pursuit of the truth, how would we have known?

Barack Obama, also notoriously thin-skinned, has used his position for payback of critics.  He cuts off access to those who question him, and surrounds himself with his own photographers and propaganda machine.

That’s why Wendy Davis’s own thin skin is an issue.

In 1997, Davis sued the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in a bizarre lawsuit after losing her 1996 race for City Council. As reported by the San Antonio Express News the story goes like this:

Her lawsuit said the newspaper’s overage, including news writing and editorials, libeled and defamed her and inflicted emotional distress.

The newspaper won without a trial. Davis went on to win a council seat before being elected to the Texas Senate and, this year, running to succeed Gov. Rick Perry.
It’s unusual for a candidate to sue a newspaper, and her claims weren’t strong, observers said.

“I have never seen anything like it before or since,” said lawyer Chip Babcock, who represented the Star-Telegram in the case and said it cost the paper “a lot of money to defend.”

At issue was the newspaper’s portrayal of Davis’ position on expansion of the Fort Worth Zoo. Davis in 1994 had opposed the idea of a zoo parking lot on land by her home. She said the stand cost her a job with a law firm with zoo ties.

She said she didn’t, however, make the zoo an issue in the 1996 race. She said the newspaper raised the issue and cast her in a negative light, including with regard to her seeking campaign contributions from zoo supporters.

She also faulted the newspaper’s portrayal of the way she brought up issues about her runoff opponent, who was endorsed by the paper.

Davis said in her lawsuit that the newspaper ran “a series of contrived and false news stories and editorials…with malicious intent.”

The lawsuit said “defamatory and libelous” remarks were made to inflict emotional distress and to deny her rights to free speech, assembly and association.

It said that “Davis has 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.”  She sought unspecified damages, including “significant exemplary damages.”

So, Davis got all worked up about something having to do with a zoo parking lot? As the Walt Disney Co. probably said, after being sued, “Jiminy Cricket!”

That’s the story the progressive leaning, Barack Obama-JoaquinandJulian Castro- supporting Express-News would have you believe.

There’s more to it, of course, that the Express News just kinda left out:

Specifically cited [in the lawsuit[ is a Star-Telegram editorial published the day of the runoff election between Davis and opponent Cathy Hirt, whom the paper had endorsed. The editorial expressed “disappointment” at an opposition-research flier that Davis’s campaign had circulated in the days leading up to the election and that, among other things, attacked Hirt for failing multiple times to pass the Tennessee bar exam and raised questions about whether Hirt had practiced law in Texas illegally.

“Perhaps the intensity of the fight has caused good people to act callously and recklessly and to abandon good manners,” the editors wrote. “Whatever, it seems tasteless for the Davis campaign to imply that Hirt — who has a doctorate and speaks three languages — is inferior because she, according to the flier, failed the Tennessee bar exam three times before passing it.”

The editorial went on to criticize the Davis campaign flier for attempting to “impugn the integrity” of her opponent by painting her as beholden to the “power and money” crowd — even though Davis raised nearly twice as much money ($40,000) — and for including a series of laudatory quotes from Jerry Russell, founder of the Stage West Theatre in Fort Worth without disclosing that Russell is Davis’s father.

The editors concluded on a mordant note:

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.

It appears Davis was mad that the paper responded to her campaign flier, full of contrived stories and malicious intent, with the facts.   Well, hmmm.

Davis, asked about the [lawsuit language claiming mental distress] when she filed for office in November, said she won’t address “ugliness.”

“Look, this campaign is about prioritizing education in Texas, making higher education accessible for all young people in Texas who want it, keeping our economy strong through keeping the education pipeline strong, and of course, taking care of our veterans,” she said.

Those are my priorities…I understand that along the journey, there will be some ugliness. I’m not going to address that.”

Given the facts, there really IS ugliness there, starting with an ugly campaign flier.   Beauty is only skin deep, as they say.  And the thinner the skin, it’s almost like a scratch off lottery ticket, flaky.

Had Davis’s lawsuit seen another outcome, I would guess the Express News would practically have had to shut down by now or muzzle itself, else conservatives in San Antonio would be having a heyday in court. Right Ms. Chan? Ms. Campbell? Mr. Soules?

Anyhow, Ms. Davis,  intent on making the most of her Harvard training, spent three years pursuing money from the case, which was laughed out of court on its long journey to the Texas Supreme Court.

I’m guessing Nieman Marcus was keeping its fingers crossed for a big payday, too.

Why is Wendy’s lawsuit important?   Because she has very little legislatively to run on.  She is basically running on a thin platform of more taxpayer money for already overpriced public universities, and her filibuster of a late term abortion bill supported by the vast majority of Texans.  It speaks to her mindset, to what kind of person she is behind the persona carefully crafted by Battleground TX.

The thing about liberals is that they are all for freedom of thought and speech until it crosses their own.  Davis sued a newspaper for publishing facts she didn’t want exposed in a political campaign.   Obama used the IRS to target political opponents and shuts off access to media critics.   GLAAD put pressure on A & E to fire Phil Robertson for statements they didn’t like.  On and on.

Barack Obama didn’t want to address certain “ugly” things in his past. The media was too afraid to. How’s that working out for us, Texas?

Next time you have a job interview, and the interviewer probes you about a certain item on your resume, see how far you get with “You’re being ugly, sir. I’m not going to address that.”

Good luck with that.

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6 Comments on “Wendy Davis, and Past “Ugliness””

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