Sunday, December 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Wendy Davis’ choices her own

navarrette column sig

By
From page A7 | January 30, 2014 |

SAN DIEGO — Being a liberal means never having to be consistent.

Take the idea that women should make their own choices about family and career and it is no one else’s business what they choose to do.

That sounds good. I just can’t believe it’s coming from liberals who have never been particularly skilled at resisting the urge to criticize women over the choices they make – if those women are conservative Republicans.

In the 1992 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton defended her choice to pursue a high-powered legal career by taking a swipe at the June Cleaver crowd. “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas,” she said. “But what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.”

In 2008, CNN’s John Roberts asked correspondent Dana Bash if Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin shouldn’t be spending more time at home caring for a newborn son with Down syndrome instead of running on the Republican ticket? Bash called her colleague on the carpet for asking such a sexist question, one that would never be put to a man running for office.

Then in 2012, Democratic adviser Hilary Rosen went on the attack against Ann Romney, insisting that the wife of the 2012 presidential nominee – who kept up a home and raised five boys while her husband was building companies and amassing wealth – “never worked a day in her life.” President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama both condemned those condescending remarks.

So much for respecting women’s choices.

Yet, this kind of respect is exactly what some liberals are calling for in Texas, where Democrats are now circling the wagons around embattled gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. They hope the state senator – who last year put on her sneakers and filibustered an anti-abortion bill in the Legislature – will help turn the red state blue.

A change of hue might be good for Texas. During the five years that I wrote for The Dallas Morning News, I saw numerous examples of bad government tied to the fact that Republicans controlled the governor’s mansion, every other statewide office, and the Legislature. There has to be competition in politics, or it’s a road map to irrelevance.

Yet, Davis might not be the strongest candidate to put Texas in the Democratic column. Texans value authenticity, and Davis might not live up to her campaign literature. The narrative of her life story that her handlers peddle to reporters and campaign donors contains several inaccuracies.

The legend goes that Davis was a divorced teenage mother living in a trailer who worked her way through college and on to Harvard Law School through an inspiring combination of smarts and grit. Davis has raised millions of dollars on the strength of that biography, which she repeats in speeches.

She even got the attention of a book publisher who wants her to write her life story.

Good for her. But which version will she write?

According to a recent article in The Dallas Morning News, Davis was 21 and out of her teens when she divorced. Once she separated, she lived for a few months in a mobile home owned by her family before moving with her daughter into an apartment. As for working her way through Harvard, it was Davis’ second husband – Jeff Davis, with whom she had a second child – who footed much of the bill for tuition by, among other things, cashing in his 401(k). Her now ex-husband even took care of her two daughters in Texas while she attended law school more than 1,200 miles away.

It’s that last part that gets us back to the touchy subject of women and choices. How is this for a biography? Davis chose attending a faraway law school over raising her kids. This won’t go over well with some Texans, who just might conclude that motherhood isn’t her strong suit and that ambition got the better of her. This might make her less likable.

Davis’ daughters, 25-year-old Dru and 31-year-old Amber, are trying to counter that impression. Both wrote open letters released by the Davis campaign in which they insisted that – as Dru put it – Davis “always shared equally in the care and custody of my sister and me.” Amber called “ludicrous” any suggestions to the contrary.

No matter who is correct, Davis’ defenders insist that she had every right to make the personal decisions she did, and that her critics need to back off.

That’s good advice. Let’s hope that liberals follow it the next time they feel the urge to criticize a woman on the right for the choices that she’s made.

Ruben Navarrette is a columnist for U-T San Diego. Reach him at ruben@rubennavarrette.com.

Ruben Navarrette

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Shining bright for all to see: Locals deck out yards, homes

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
The Salvation Army serves 1,000-plus across 2 days

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 7 Comments | Gallery

Blue Christmas service offers reflection, hope

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

 
Time for annual Solano County quiz

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Bevy of holiday activities at Western Railway Museum

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
State Fair scholarship applications available

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Get tested, know your status

By Morgan Westfall | From Page: C4

 
 
New development fees start Jan. 1 in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Free New Year’s celebration slated

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
A word of warning for Senator Warren

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7, 11 Comments

 
New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

By Tanya Perez | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Sky-high price has VA rationing hep C drug

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Air Force admits nuke flaws, but will fixes work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
 
Design of Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier OK’d

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Officials: Missing dog was dyed to deceive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Immigrants build document trails to remain in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California officer kills teen after machete attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
4 teens die in fiery head-on crash in Pennsylvania

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

2 dozen injured in southern Indiana bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

2 car bombs rock southern Sweden’s city of Malmo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Bombings kill 12 in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

US sends 4 Afghans back home from Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Panama’s Noriega in prison 25 years post-invasion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Burying the dead after Pakistan’s school massacre

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
A chance to breach divide for young in Cuba and US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Season’s greetings from the Obamas

By Alexandra Petri | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

New school finance strategy lacks accountability

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Dec. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 4 Comments

Why celebrate Christmas?

By Noel Reese | From Page: C3, 4 Comments

 
Vatican offers olive branch to US nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3, 1 Comment

Horoscopes: Dec. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
Should I ask grandson why we weren’t included in wedding photos?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

Review: ‘Five’ by Ursula Archer is intriguing

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Publisher hopes to sell books through Twitter

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Chris Colfer has multi-book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jerry Lee Lewis: Sustained by brief blaze of glory

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

New Giants 3B McGehee eager to play back home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Interim coaching jobs present challenges in bowls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers squander 21-point lead in 4th straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Eagles near elimination, fall 27-24 to Redskins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Raiders place cornerback Brown on injured reserve

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
No. 11 Lady Vols trounce No. 7 Stanford 59-40

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Big moves bring big hope for Chicago baseball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US skier Nyman wins Gardena downhill for 3rd time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Vonn wins women’s World Cup downhill in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Business

Your info has been hacked. Now what do you do?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
On the money: 4 ways to hold on to your cash when renting a car

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Recalls this week: Bean bag chairs, toy monkeys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Scarecrows outnumber people in dying Japan town

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Obituaries

Barbara Jean Bidstrup Braker

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Perry Michael Smetts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Luzdivina B. Banks

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Arnold Howard Evans

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Anthony Hanson Elder

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Dominic C. Scolaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics