Wendy Davis: Hey, I also support open carry of guns

We need something light-hearted and fun for a palate cleanser, so here you go. Imagine the coastal liberals who’ve donated to her quixotic campaign for governor opening up their browsers this morning and finding this.

Interesting test here for lefties: How much goodwill has Davis’s celebrated filibuster bought her with the base? Lurching rightward on guns to keep up with Greg Abbott would normally be a mortal sin, but (a) Democrats have no choice but to cut her lots of slack to compete in a state as red as Texas and (b) being an outspoken abortion warrior is so talismanic a liberal credential that they can forgive her virtually anything, I think. Even … this?

Davis has said she supports expanding gun rights in Texas. In a statement to The Associated Press, she said that includes open-carry — a position that puts her at odds with her own party but could keep her from alienating gun rights advocates in a deeply conservative state where the Second Amendment is sacrosanct…

“There is little or no public safety justification for open carry,” said Emmanuel Garcia, spokesman for the Texas Democratic Party.

Kellye Burke, who leads the Texas Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, also opposes Davis’ position. She said the open carry of firearms, whether rifles or pistols, “is meant to be a sign of intimidation. It’s not about protection.”…

Still, gun rights advocates were skeptical. Texas State Rifle Association spokeswoman Alice Tripp noted Davis’ previous calls for more restrictions on gun show sales and past votes against allowing concealed license holders to carry their guns in classrooms and buildings on college campuses.

In other words, she’s in the same position as Obama was in 2008 when he swore up and down that he was opposed to gay marriage. No one from the opposing party believed him because, as an ivory-tower liberal on so many other matters, it was ludicrous to think O was some sort of outlier on this one particular hot-button. His own party didn’t believe him either for the same reason, but they were willing to look the other way in the name of helping him win the election. A pander to independents skittish about same-sex marriage was what was needed, and so the pander was tolerated. And sure enough, once he was safely elected and the political winds had shifted enough to make it safe to reveal his true position, Obama “evolved.” Same here with Davis. Literally no one on either side takes her support for open carry seriously (she does own a gun but has an F rating from the NRA and has said she’d sign a bill to close the “gun-show loophole”), but lefties will probably go along with it in the name of keeping the race competitive. I say “probably” because there are X factors that distinguish her campaign from Obama’s: The stakes are lower, her chances of winning are way, way less than his were, and she’s already done little things, like purge her website of references to the glory of “choice,” that might have already irritated them. I think the upshot is that lefties will hang around so long as she’s semi-competitive with Abbott, but at the first sign that he’s pulling away, they’ll jump ship. If she was fighting the progressive fight all the way, no matter how doomed that would make her in Texas, they might have stuck with her to the end. Not when she’s pretending to be Yosemite Sam or whatever, though.

You know what the real surprise is here? She’s actually trying to win. All along I thought she was running to capitalize on the media attention she got for her abortion filibuster. Run hard, be a loud-and-proud liberal, and then when you lose go to work for some abortion rights’ group and assume your place as a new MSNBC contributor. Instead she’s running as a “pro-life” gun nut. I’m tempted to say this’ll make for an awkward debut on MSNBC, but we both know they’ll be careful not to ask her about it.