Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wendy Davis knows no shame

The woman who made her pitch for fame and a place in the Democratic party on aborted babies and pink athletic shoes, is now going after her disabled candidate. James Taranto account:

The Washington Post calls it “one of the nastiest campaign ads you will ever see.” (Hope springs eternal.) It’s for Wendy Davis, the state senator who is the Democratic nominee for governor of Texas and is heavily disfavored for an office her party hasn’t won since 1990. As Politico describes the ad, it “directly references gubernatorial rival Greg Abbott’s partial paralysis—including the image of an empty wheelchair—to charge the Republican with hypocrisy”:

“A tree fell on Greg Abbott. He sued and got millions,” a narrator says over the image of a wheelchair. “Since then, he’s spent his career working against other victims.” . . .

The spot cites three cases Abbott worked on as a state Supreme Court justice or attorney general. In one case, Abbott’s office argued a woman with an amputated leg wasn’t disabled because she had a prosthetic limb. In another, he said a door-to-door sales company wasn’t responsible when one of their employees raped a woman. (The Texas Supreme Court ruled in the woman’s favor.) In the third, he helped a hospital defend themselves [sic] against a lawsuit after a doctor botched surgeries.

“Greg Abbott,” the narrator says. “He’s not for you.”

The ad’s—and Politico’s—account of the cases is tendentious. In that third case, for instance, Law360.com reported at the time (in March) that the plaintiffs were “challenging the constitutionality of a revised state law that requires claimants to prove that the defendant had a specific intent to cause injury or harm.” Abbott, as attorney general, sought to intervene to defend the state on that question of law.

At any rate, the “hypocrisy” charge is ludicrous. Is the Davis campaign’s position that if a lawyer has ever been the plaintiff in a personal-injury action, he is obliged to side with plaintiffs in every subsequent case, regardless of the facts or the law? (As a corollary, are one-time defendants obliged to side with all future defendants? Is a plaintiff who gets countersued guilty of hypocrisy either way?)

But distortion and illogic are not exactly uncommon in political ads. What makes this one unusual is the harsh way in which it seeks to exploit Abbott’s physical infirmity. The criticism has Davis on the defensive; the Daily Caller’s Alex Pappas reports that she reiterated the attack on Abbott this morning at a press conference “featuring speakers in wheelchairs.”





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