The world of politics in the U.S. is bewildering sometimes, especially when it becomes difficult to figure out precisely which party a particular candidate is actually attempting to represent in office. This identity crisis style politicking is happening now in Texas, and could turn out to be a new trend for Democrats in the upcoming election season.
At a time when more and more Americans are getting highly annoyed with the Obama administration, it makes sense that Democrats might try just about anything to distance themselves from the president. It’s no secret that there probably won’t be many members of Congress running for re-election on the back of the ObamaCare roll out “success.” And this is not a new strategy – distancing oneself from unpopular politicians and policies during an election. But, that’s not what is happening in Texas.
It seems that Democrat gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is taking this strategy to a whole new level, by making herself appear to be essentially a carbon copy of her Republican opponent, Texas State Attorney General Greg Abbott. Of course, that involves quite a few examples of political gymnastics that may prove to be too dizzying for Texans to stomach. Flip-flopping in politics is nothing new for Democrats, if one recalls Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2004 campaign. But that was merely an exercise in distancing oneself from unpopular policies. Davis is creating a completely different breed of political duplicity by actually emulating the opposition.
While Democrats are generally opposed to increasing the ability of citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights, Davis just came out saying that she is for open carry in the State of Texas – precisely the same stance as Abbott had already taken. One should wonder why in the world she would want to take the same position as a man that her own supporters were caught on tape insulting, but then again, they weren’t exactly complimentary of her either by quietly suggesting that she isn’t smart. Couple that with a less-than-perfect rapport with the Texas press corps, and it would seem that Davis is the proverbial short end of the stick for Democrats in Texas.
What’s a gal to do in order to get some real support in a state that has gone red for years? Well, if she’s Davis, and rocketed herself to political fame by engaging in an 11-hour filibuster against an abortion law, maybe she’ll double-down on hypocrisy by coming out as being for a form of that same legislation. In case that was a little confusing to understand, take a moment to consider how Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, is feeling right about now. Just a mere 15 days ago, Davis was appearing at a fundraiser with her, still towing the pro-choice line. It took just over two weeks for Davis to make a political turn around on the issue that got her into the spotlight.
Some might say a move like that takes some nerve, but whether or not it was a smart move remains to be seen. Considering that the gubernatorial race hasn’t truthfully started heating up in Texas yet, it doesn’t seem like a very good idea to start burning bridges with people Davis should have been able to consider strong allies heading into the general election. Now? If Richards and her Planned Parenthood political apparatus step up to help Davis, it could hurt them on the nationwide level. There’s no reason to think that politically savvy pro-choice donors will want to keep handing over donations to Planned Parenthood, if they step up to help a politician that ostensibly slapped them in the face. As for Davis, this can turn out to be a complete disaster, just like the flip-flopping was the undoing of Kerry in 2004. Abbott isn’t a political lightweight, so it is extremely foolish to think that he will not take advantage of all of the political twists and turns heading into November. This new pile of potential ammunition for the Abbott campaign will simply be added to the pile that’s already been building over other issues – from immigration to education – that have only shown that Davis is a neophyte to politics, policy, and governance. In her own words, Davis clearly indicates that she doesn’t even have a firm grasp on which levels of government are responsible for activities related to border control, as she suggests that the focus of the governor of Texas should be on reducing wait times at ports of entry, as opposed to securing territory on the border. Of course, that is under Federal, not state control.
If nothing else, it should be interesting to observe where the Davis campaign ends up traveling to next, and how many times the candidate will back down on previous policy statements. Given the history so far, it can be assumed there will be many more situations like this. Perhaps Kerry will finally get a rest from being considered the “flip-flopper-in-chief”, with Davis taking that dubious honor.