But Texas is not Massachusetts, so it may not work this time.
When Elizabeth Warren’s fake Cherokee status broke in late April 2012, Warren’s campaign went into panic for several days, issuing statements about Warren’s ancestry that proved troublesome when compared to the facts. The entire issue was portrayed as a Scott Brown campaign dirty trick, and the Boston Herald — the city’s not-completely-liberal paper — was attacked.
Warren even entertained questions herself initially, reciting tales of her Aunt Bee and high cheekbones which both were laughable and questionable.
Not that long after the Cherokee narrative broke, and endangered her campaign, Warren’s campaign found a theme — don’t attack my family, I’m not backing away from my parents — and stuck to it relentlessly. With a mostly sympathetic press in tow, Warren somewhat successfully reframed the issue away from her demeaning usurpation of Native American identity for employment purposes to why people were attacking her family.
Warren also went into media shutdown, refusing to answer any questions except when confronted in unavoidable situations. Even then, Warren robotically stuck to the stript of defending her family.
Warren avoided one-on-one interviews with anyone other than sycophants until the day before the Massachusetts Democratic state convention, when the Cherokee narrative threatened to derail Warren’s attempt to keep her only Democratic rival, Marisa DeFranco, off the ballot. The convention-eve interviews, where Warren of course stuck to script, were enough to quiet party concerns, and DeFranco was kept off the ballot.
I don’t know if Warren’s false narrative ever would have doomed her campaign, considering it was Massachusetts, but the script and press control worked for electoral purposes.
Fast forward to Wendy Davis.
When her political and personal narrative of being a single mom who lived in a trailer and clawed her way through college and law school was revealed to be misleading, at best, Davis’ campaign struggled for the first week. It flailed away at the Abbott campaign, the reporter from the Dallas Morning News, and played the misogyny card.
After Davis’ campaign gained some footing, it went full-Warren with a theme of defending her family. While Warren at least had the decency to keep her family members off stage, Davis rolled out her two daughters to defend her.
Davis also is exercising tight press access control, cancelling a major interview the day after the story broke, and closing out all the press save for the Texas Tribune, from the event at which Davis’ daughters spoke.
But Texas is not Massachusetts. Not only is the electorate more Republican and conservative, the Texas press is not a bunch of political sycophants.
And the press is fighting back at her strategy:
In any case, I don’t know whether the press strategy of the Davis campaign is of her own choosing, or whether she is being cocooned by an overprotective staff. If it’s the latter, perhaps it’s time for Davis’ supportera outside her campaign organization to raise the cry, “Free Wendy!”
Wendy Davis is no Elizabeth Warren. Massachusetts liberals loved Warren for reasons having nothing to do with the Native American narrative, about which they knew nothing until so deeply in love nothing would shake them. The false narrative meant nothing to them, any more so than Chappaquiddick would dampen their love for the Liberal Lion of the Senate.
Without Davis’ narrative, what is there to her campaign? Abortion? That won’t do it in Texas.
Free Wendy? I doubt it will happen.