I haven’t been paying much attention to the Texas gubernatorial race because it’s been clear for a while that Greg Abbott was going to win. Not only is Texas a red state and Abbott clearly qualified, but Davis’ main qualification was filibustering an abortion law, which I didn’t see carrying much water outside of Austin. And, indeed, Abbott has maintained a double digit lead all year.
From the Department of Actual Facts, we find out that Greg Abbott was put in a wheelchair when he was struck by a tree branch while jogging. His lawsuit covered actual damages and medical costs, costs still allowed under Texas’s tort reform statues. We also find out that, in the three cases mentioned:
1) In the disability case, Abbot argued that she was not eligible for a discrimination claim because her prosthesis allowed her to continue to work. She eventually lost her ADA case.
2) In the rape case, Abbot dissented from a majority that found a company liable when one of their door-to-door salesmen raped a woman. Abbot argued that the distributor, not the manufacturer, was liable.
3) In the doctor case, Abbot argued that Baylore Regional Medical Center was not liable for a doctor who allegedly maimed patients.
Any of these might be a poor argument but none of them are outside the boundaries of standard legal argumentation. I have long despised the tactic of running ads against lawyers because of the clients they have represented. Representing clients — even accused terrorist and child-molesters — is what lawyers do. And representing them zealously within the bounds of the law is their job description. I have cited this many times, but it’s always worth mentioning: John Adams defended the soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre and called it “one of the most gallant, generous, manly, and disinterested actions of my whole life, and one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country.” Arguments over who exactly is financially responsible for the failure to run a background check isn’t even close to what President Adams took immense and deserved pride in.
Naturally, people reacting to Davis using Abbott’s disability as a campaign wedge. Naturally, liberals are jumping to her defense. But it didn’t rise to the level of high comedy until today (emphasis mine):
At an event attended by several disabled supporters, Wendy Davis on Monday brushed aside criticism of her controversial “wheelchair ad” and repeatedly blasted her Republican challenger as a “hypocrite.”
“In 1984, Greg Abbott sought out and received justice following a horrible injury, rightly so…receiving millions of dollars. And I’m glad, he deserved justice for the terrible tragedy that he endured,” Davis said at her Fort Worth, Texas, field office. “But then he turned around and built his career working to deny the very same justice that he received to his fellow Texans rightly seeking it for themselves.”
Seriously, Ms. Davis? You’re pulling the “some of my best friends are disabled” defense?
People often talk about the Republicans living in a bubble of “epistemic closure” where they only hear their own voices and are unaware of anyone who dissents from them. But the Davis campaign is a perfect illustration of the Democrats living in such a world. They thought that because they liked Davis’ stand on abortion, everyone else would. That since she was their hero, she would be Texas’ too. And now they think that trying to leverage someone’s disability into political gain isn’t going to be noticed because … reasons.
Enjoy election night, Ms. Davis. I know millions of Texans will enjoy it because it will be the end of your absurd campaign.