The Wendy Davis difference

Updated
 
The Wendy Davis difference
The Wendy Davis difference
Associated Press

If you’re ignoring conservative media this morning, you’re (a) saving yourself a great deal of aggravation; and (b) missing a curious new argument about the media and Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) Senate spectacle.

For conservatives, we’re witnessing a clear example of media “bias” – Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) generated national attention with her filibuster in Austin earlier in the summer, but the right believes Cruz is garnering less attention now. Therefore, the argument goes, it’s clear that Cruz is being treated unfairly by the “liberal” media.

Dylan Byers finds the comparison compelling.

[Y]ou can forgive conservatives for being upset with the mainstream media’s coverage of the Cruz affair. When a Democrat like Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis filibusters against abortion restrictions, she is elevated to hero status, her tennis shoes become totems. When Cruz grandstands against Obamacare, he is a laughingstock in the eyes of many journalists on Twitter, an “embarrassment” in the eyes of The New York Times editorial board.

“Gee I wonder why NYT and WaPo and everyone else gave ecstatic coverage to Wendy Davis but not to Ted Cruz. I just can’t make sense of it!” John Podhoretz, the conservative columnist, tweeted on Wednesday morning.

Fair-minded observers can certainly draw their own conclusions, but let’s note some of the pertinent differences between the two.

Davis was waging a filibuster; Cruz is delivering a long and inconsequential speech. Davis succeeded in blocking progress on a measure she opposed; Cruz isn’t actually having any kind of legislative impact whatsoever. Davis was fighting against a proposal that was not yet law; Cruz doesn’t like a measure that’s already law.

Davis enjoyed the support of her party; Cruz has been widely criticized by his party. Davis had to stay on topic; Cruz has read from Ayn Rand novels on the floor of the Senate. Davis was watched like a hawk by Republicans hoping to stop her; Cruz has generally been ignored by Democrats who don’t much care about his theatrics.

Did Davis get more attention for her efforts? I honestly have no idea; Cruz seems to be generating quite a few headlines for himself. But as a qualitative matter, was Davis’ speech a more important, consequential, and impressive display? I don’t consider it a close call.

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Ted Cruz and Wendy Davis

The Wendy Davis difference

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