Say, do you all remember Wendy Davis? No? She was the lady with the pink sneakers who filibustered an abortion bill in Texas once, then ran for governor and wound up doing about as well as your average armadillo trying to cross an eight lane interstate during rush hour after accidentally eating ten hits of LSD. She’s written an editorial for Politico this week with the title, Why I Caved on Guns When I Ran for Governor of Texas. It’s a heartfelt tale of sorrow from her perspective, but it might have been more accurately labeled, Hey, Sorry That I Lied Through My Teeth to All of You During That Election.
I am a lifelong Democrat. I proudly boast an “F” rating from the NRA. And, yet during my 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Texas, I supported the open carry of handguns in my state.
It is a position that haunts me.
Can you guess where this is going yet? I’d wager that most of you can, but for the remedial readers in the class we’ll fill in some of the blanks. Davis knew she was a long shot at best in that race and she was in a state where people prize their Second Amendment rights perhaps even more than they do a secret family BBQ recipe. She is opposed to loose guns littering the landscape, but she really, really wanted to win. The reporters came knocking one day and wanted to know how she felt about a proposed open carry law. You’ll never guess what happened next.
I vividly recall where I was when I hatched the idea for the open carry position I ended up taking. It was a late night in February 2014, and I was bone-tired after finishing fundraising in Colorado. Standing in the noisy, crowded TSA screening area of the Denver airport, I received a call from my strategy team back home. My opponent, the current Gov. Greg Abbott, had staked out his position in support of the open carry of handguns and I was being asked to stake mine out as well. Ever since I had announced my run the prior October, we had known this day, when I would have to declare my stance on this issue, would likely come. In every previous conversation that I had had with my team about open carry, I had been resolute in my opposition to the policy. Still, their concern that the issue threatened to “suck the oxygen” out of the conversation on other issues was a worry for me too. ..
Against that backdrop, I chose to do something that was cleverer than it was wise. I decided to take a position in favor of open carry, one which would include the caveat that any property owner who wanted to opt out should be able to do so, whether it be a school, hospital or a private business. Understanding that most of these property owners would likely take advantage of an opt-out provision if the legislature were ever even to agree to pass such a diluted version of the law, I thought I could go forward with a clear conscience.
This rather obnoxiously long piece is a paean to the gun control lobby and it’s clearly offered as a cautionary tale to other anti-Second Amendment candidates to not make the mistake that she made and stake out a position she didn’t believe in. But while that’s no doubt what she intended it’s also something else. This entire article is a clear admission that she lied to everyone about an important decision in the hopes of winning an election. And if she had somehow been the victor, there would have been no open carry or campus carry bills signed into law during her one term in office. She would have vetoed any such bill because she didn’t believe in the underlying principle.
In some ways this is almost refreshing. Usually when politicians lie to us they find some way to triangulate their answers later on or dance on the head of a pin and quibble over terminology. Davis is at least being honest enough (now) to come out and admit that she lied to the people of her state in an effort to trick them into voting her into the highest office in Texas so she could work against their interests. But it’s not an honorable act because she makes it quite clear that she’s not sorry about lying. She’s sorry that she lost and she’s sorry that she “let down” the anti-gun movement by being a phony. It’s really not an apology at all.