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Bristol Palin's sexist, hypocritical, very bad Wendy Davis rant

January 30, 2014|Robin Abcarian
  • Blogger Bristol Palin, shown with her son, Tripp, in an undated still from her short-lived 2012 Lifetime reality show, rapped Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis.
Blogger Bristol Palin, shown with her son, Tripp, in an undated still from… (Richard Knapp / Associated…)

Wendy Davis, the long shot Democratic candidate for Texas governor, deserves all the scrutiny she is getting for blurring some facts in her compelling life story. When she got divorced, how long she lived as a single mother in a trailer, whether she was remarried and financially comfortable when she went off to Harvard Law School are not minor points in a narrative built on overcoming hardship.

Politicians, whatever their party, must be held to the highest standard of truth, so it’s entirely fair to rap her for overstating the adverse conditions of her life in order to make her climb to success sound more dramatic.

But when someone like 24-year-old Bristol Palin gets on her high horse to accuse Davis of abandoning her children while she pursued a law degree at Harvard, I have to laugh. Palin, who has ridden her mother’s coattails to fame, God bless her, simply must be called out.

The eldest daughter of the former Alaska governor has flippantly inserted herself into an important conversation about women and children and careers. Unfortunately, she offers nothing useful or thoughtful:

Turns out, [Davis] lied about much of her ‘pulling herself up by her own bootstraps’ story. Actually, she found a man to marry her, pay her way through college, and then through Harvard Law School. The day after he paid the last bill, she left him. By the way, she left her kids too. She said, 'it’s not a good time for me right now' to be a parent.

Is everyone paying attention? This woman is the hero of the Left? A woman whose ambition and ego were so big she couldn’t have both a career and kids at the same time. Gosh, children are sooo inconvenient, huh? I’m glad my mother didn’t put motherhood on the shelf when she was elected to City Council, then became our mayor, then Governor.

Palinistas rightfully howled in 2008 when Sarah Palin’s opponents wondered whether a mother of five—whose brood included a special needs infant and pregnant, 17-year-old Bristol--could effectively lead the country in the event that a (hypothetical) President John McCain became disabled.

Surely, having watched her mother break ground--as the first female governor of Alaska and the first female Republican vice presidential nominee while raising a family—Bristol Palin should understand the folly of sitting in judgment of another woman’s career path.

Her critique of Davis – You behaved differently than my mother — falls flat. It is sexist, disingenuous and, ultimately, hypocritical. Also, it is wrong.

In open letters released Tuesday, Davis's two daughters responded to the barrage of partisan attacks on their mother.

Dru Davis, 25, wrote:

Yes, she went to law school after my sister and I were born. We lived with her the first semester, but I had severe asthma and the weather there wasn't good for me. My parents made a decision for my sister and me to stay in Texas while my mom kept going to school. But that doesn't mean she wasn't there for us. She traveled back and forth all the time, missing so many classes so that she could be with us. Her friends were such a big help. Especially her third year, when she would only go to school two weeks out of the month and her friends would share class notes so she could try to keep up while she was home with us in Fort Worth. I love that my mom went to law school and was dedicated to both her work and us. Watching her work so hard to achieve something great has been one of the most important lessons in my life.

Amber Davis, 31, defended her mother just as fiercely:

Dru and I lived with her the first semester but our parents soon realized that it would be better if we stayed in our childhood home in Texas, be around extended family and attend our regular schools. This was a decision made by both parents. I have recently heard the phrase 'abandoned' quite often in the past week. That our mother 'left us to be raised by our father' while she went on to pursue her education. Not only is this ridiculously unfair; it's completely untrue…People should be less concerned about who paid for what and pay more attention to the fact that she was accepted to Harvard law school, a dream she believed was unachievable.

How convenient for Bristol Palin to ignore that, by her standards, her own father abandoned her and her siblings. For many years, Todd Palin worked for British Petroleum on the North Slope of Alaska. During his work season, he was away from home two weeks each month – very much like Wendy Davis, who, during her third year of law school divided her time equally between Massachusetts and Texas.

The Palins have talked proudly about how they coped, depending on family and friends to pitch in when both parents were busy.

But maybe Bristol Palin has a different standard for men?

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