Time.com Promotes Lefty Fantasy That Wendy Davis Can Turn Tide for Democrats in 2014
"Wendy Davis, Misogyny Magnet," blared a teaser headline on the Time.com front page this afternoon. The headline was accompanied by a photo of the Democratic Texas state senator who is most famous for her lengthy but ultimately unsuccessful filibuster of a bill to regulate the Lone Star State's abortion clinics.
The article in question -- written by Center for American Progress Senior Fellow and former New York Times Opinionator columnist Judith Warner -- was posted in the magazine's Ideas blog, an opinion feature which does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Time's editorial board. That said, the premise of Warner's piece was essentially that the pro-choice lobby's favorite new bogeyman, Republicans engaged in a war on women* will propel Davis into the governor's chair next fall (emphases mine):
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A Wendy Davis run for Texas governor may be just what the Democratic party needs as it gears up for the 2014 midterm elections.
Blonde, strikingly pretty, outspoken and female, Davis is, to put it bluntly, invaluable as bait. In her short tenure on the national scene, she has elicited an almost Pavlovian response from anti-woman blowhards.
There’s every reason to expect that, as a misogyny magnet, Davis, whom The New York Times has described as an Austin “fashion icon,” will be the gift that keeps on giving all through the upcoming campaign season. Her hair, her clothes, her pink sneakers; the fact that she’s unmarried; the fact that abortion is the issue that brought her to national prominence—all these things sexualize her to a degree that’s unusual for female politicians (as it any accident that Sarah Palin was always dripping with kids?) and they open her up to a very specific, and very ugly, form of woman-hate.
The more hits Davis takes, the better is will be for the Democrats. It was, after all, a consistent pattern of gender-based disrespect that helped land Democrats their 2012 election victories in the U.S. Senate and the presidency. A long pile-up of Republican insults to women’s dignity, particularly in the area of reproductive rights, led President Obama to win the women’s vote by a 12-point margin. Women don’t always vote as a unified block; they’re by no means unanimous in their support for abortion rights, or for any of the pro-family social policies that tend, unhelpfully, to be classed together as “women’s issues.” But they have, in recent years, tended to come together in a common understanding when the “yuck factor” in politics – the macho posturing, the questionable remarks that cut away at women’s hard-won public dignity – just gets to be too much.
Abbott, sensitized by outrage that followed his Twitter thank-you, has tried to backpedal, tweeting his supporters to “Stay positive. ” The admonition, however @Barbie-worthy, hasn’t done much to mollify his critics. The Republican party’s effort to rebrand itself to women doesn’t seem to be working out too well, either. A new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection poll just this week found that 33 percent of the women surveyed felt that the party had drifted even further away from them since the 2012 election. Only 14 percent of women—and just 11 percent of women younger than 50—said that Republicans had moved closer in perspective to them.
Message: we Barbies are no dummies. You can’t change a legacy of policies that insult and hurt women through the power of positive thinking.
Roughly 50 percent of abortion's victims are girls. In many parts of the world, it's actually much higher due to the prevalence of sex-selection abortions, a class of the procedures which, by the way, Ms. Davis's cheering section at NARAL does NOT want to ban. Many Western countries -- which generally have more permissive abortion laws than the U.S. -- already ban sex-selection abortions.
Texas Republicans are no dummies, nor are Texas voters. Ms. Davis may have friends with deep pockets in the pro-choice lobby, but those associations can leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many voters, particularly in socially conservative states like Texas.
As for Warner's suggestion that attacks on Davis could offend women nationwide and cause them to break Democratic in a way that helps Democrats in congressional and Senate races, that seems like a case of extremely wishful thinking. For one thing, voters outside of Texas won't be paying attention to Davis. Secondly, although it's thoroughly possible there will Todd Akin-like dopes who happily shove their feet in their mouth, a) you can expect greater message discipline from the field of candidates and b) the damage from such unforced errors would likely be localized to the actual candidate who made ludicrous statements in a given campaign.
The long and short of it is that Warner not only seems to think the 2012 "war on women" meme can be replicated to similar success in 2014 but that it absolutely MUST be pursued as part of a grand Democratic campaign strategy.
You don't have to be a "dummy" to think that's a smart play. You just have to reside within the liberal media's echo chamber.
*To be clear, Warner did not use the term "war on women," although she was certainly painting the picture of one with her complaints about criticism of Davis from conservatives.