Representative Gabrielle Giffords is still in the hospital, but some of her most ardent backers are so enamored of the idea of her running for the Senate that they describe the inevitable campaign commercials: the deep-voiced narrator recounting what happened to her, the images of her wounded, then recovering and speaking into the camera alongside her astronaut husband to call on Arizonans to unite.
These supporters say they do not want to get too far ahead of themselves, and make clear that Ms. Giffords, who was shot in the head, is still relearning basic tasks and might emerge from the hospital with neither the same political abilities nor aspirations that she had before. And publicly, her closest aides say the only thing they care about is her health.
At least her closest aides have their heads screwed on correctly. Rep. Giffords needs better supporters than the folks fantasizing about a Senate run.
Well, when I look at an entire cadre of Republican (and some Democratic) Senators who don’t seem to have basic reasoning skills, the idea of Giffords in the Senate is not so far-fetched.
In fact, the fact that she’s capable of actual learning (even if re-learning) shows she has a leg up on at least half of the current Senate.
Pretty disgusting, actually. “Vote for her, she got shot! Or, feel like an asshole about it forever if you vote for the other candidate.” Leaving aside whether it’s even anything she’d WANT to do when and if she eventually recovers completely, and leaving aside the shameless whoring involved in even entertaining the idea at this point, that does seem to be the pitch they’re going for, stripped of its trappings of inspirational recovery and whatnot.
that article seems to leave out a few things… like, who exactly are these “ardent backers”, and how did the reporter find them ? the fact that her campaign staff is continuing to do what they’ve always done isn’t proof of anything. and neither is the fact that other people are holding back their potential campaigns because they don’t know her situation yet.
i can’t find any of these supporters on the net. all i see are references to the NYT story.
sounds like nutpicking, at best.
The imagined commercial is creepy. Given that there’s no credited source for it, it’s hard to say how much is from actual supporters and how much is the the reporter’s imagination.
The rest is just optimism and, maybe, denial. I don’t think any of us knows how soon Giffords’ recovery will be complete or how cognitively intact she will be. I don’t think it’s creepy for her supporters to hope for the best.
"Fair and Balanced" Dave
It sounds totally opportunistic–as well as incredibly insensitive–to me. IMO, these people are more interested in winning John Kyl’s Senate seat than Gabby Giffords’ health or feelings. Yes by all reports she’s making significant problems but we really don’t know whether she has retained–or will regain–the mental skill sets needed to be a federal legislator. Nor do we know how badly she’s been psychologically scarred by the assassination attempt.
In a way, yes. But she’s always been seen as one of the top tiers of Democratic candidates for a potential senate run before being shot in the head, so I can sort of understand why it’s still being talked about.
Why not? Getting shot advanced Celeste Cunningham’s political career.
Yes lets give the brain damaged a senate seat wouldn’t be the first time, and who better than a pro gun violence bluedogger who was too evil to die when shot in the head.
… the fuck?
Paul in KY
@madmatt: Now that’s some World Class Trollin ™. Thanks, dickhead.
@cleek: It’s obviously a troll.
@madmatt: Jesus, dude…get a fucking grip.
“Some people say” is a staple of the rumour mongering, innuendo and planted stories political hidden agenda class.
You normally seem more on the ball than this.
I guess I’m not the only one to find you creepy.
That first paragraph is juicy piece of sensational writing. So what’s the story? That people are wondering about her future?
ETA: Observer said it better.
Ya know, decent trolling requires some subtlety and forethought. You have neither.
One more for the pie filter….
@madmatt: Troll or not . . . does it make you feel good to spew this filth?
West of the Cascades
Yes, totally creepy. At the same time, almost anyone with serious brain damage and a (D) after her/his name would be more fit for the Senate than any Arizona Republican, so although it’s creepy it’s not far-fetched.
@madmatt: Yeah, you might want to revise your remarks. The last woman I know who survived getting shot in the head at point blank range didn’t take kindly to such dumbassery.
Speaking of creepy thoughts, I’ve caught myself occasionally contemplating how differently the past 30 years of US history might have turned out had John Hinkley spent a bit more time with the NRA practicing his target shooting, and a bit less fantasizing about Jody Foster.
@cleek: Seconding what cleek says.
1) None of these supposed “most ardent backers” are named, and 2) it’s the New York Times, for chrissakes. I’ll believe this when an attributed report is printed in a reputable news source.
West of the Cascades
Also, why isn’t there some Arizona Democratic candidate who will actually go on record and say something like “I am running for Senate, and I look forward to Rep. Giffords’s full recovery so we can give the Democratic voters of Arizona a spirited primary.” Someone going public now with a clear intention to run no matter what (and not this off-the-record “OMFG if Gabby runs there’s no hope for any of the rest of us” BS) would probably help convince her NOT to run (if she is even really considering doing so).
Honestly, I find this creepier.
Villago Delenda Est
If Giffords were in a coma, she’d still be a smarter legislator than Kyl or McGrumpy.
“Ever so quietly, Ms. Giffords’s political allies are laying the groundwork just in case. Friends and allies held a fund-raiser for her on March 15 in Washington”
So quietly that the Times is running a story to make sure everyone else stays out.
Last Thursday, I had Brad DeLong on Virtually Speaking:
To become a Senator, you have to become lucky at 50 different times during your life….Senators always believe things will break their way. They’re extremely bad at facing facts.
Because they always have. I never thought of that before. They always have. I mean Harry Reid doesn’t get to be Senator unless things broke his way like 50 times. You’re exactly right.
Which means they are all extraordinarily optimistic….
So I think Blanche Lincoln thought, until October that she was really going to pull this one out….And Harry Reid pulled it out.
So I guess, like Margaret Chase Smith’s husband dying, Giffords is really catching a break here.
I suggest inflicting traumatic head injuries on Arizona’s current Senate delegation. It couldn’t hurt.
It’s politics, and creepy is normal.
Gee sorry that I don’t have any sympathy for a hateful bitch who spent her career making sure any whackjob who wanted one could get a gun.
She certainly never gave a damn about any victims of gun violence and now the taxpayers get to pay for her rehab…a gift no average citizen would receive because she also voted against any sort of healthcare reform.
OK, without endorsing their position at all, there are some fringe elements (read: sick MoFo’s) that say she was, um, described in the Book of Revelations (that’s about as gentle as I can be with it this morning).
(Reuters) – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
@Sentient Puddle: Very true, but she was a professional assassin and thus of a higher moral level than a US rep.
997,000 Google hits for: Giffords antichrist
fer fuck’s sake, people are dumb
@Moonbatting Average: Doesn’t seem all that sekrit if it is being reported by Reuters.
@General Stuck: Ooh! Nicely bottom-lined! It should be a truism, and would be if people were honest about it.
Well, to be fair, if she recovers sufficiently to run again for her current seat, there’s going to be an undertone of this anyway. Especially since the teabagging sociopath who narrowly lost to her in 2010 has indicated interest in running again. Hey, you think he’ll hold another “Come shoot a gun with me to stop Giffords” fundraiser?
Yes. Why? Because it would piss liberals off a lot. The teabagging prime directive is to double down on everything that pisses liberals off.
I simply hope that Rep Giffords can recover from her terrible injuries. I know that a lot of the reported news has been optimistic happy talk, so I stopped paying attention to it. It’s not my business, and I don’t care about the politics behind it or the nonsense that people try to take advantage of the situation.
Bite my Mossberg
Culture of Truth
To be fair (to humanity ,that is) this article is pretty lean on facts, with a innocuous quote from Terry Goddard and a response quote from Dennis DeConcini. I don’t doubt that some people are thinking this way, but that’s politics.
She’s had about the most traumatic brain injury that a person could ever experience, and that she can breathe and swallow afterwards on her own, much less do anything else, is a miracle.
I can tell you this – she likely will never be in any sort of condition to run for office again, so not only is this talk the epitome of wishful thinking, it is also, yes, ghoulish as hell and pretty disrespectful to her as a human being.
Countdown to Karl Rove claiming she arranged the shooting herself in order to jump-start her Senate run in…3…2…1…
Creepier if I had seen actual quotes but who knows in what format this NYT reporter got what he paraphrased.
@campionrules: +1. Mossbergs are awesome.
I certainly understand why John thinks this is creepy, but:
1) Giffords was almost certain to be considered for this Senate run sans the shooting incident, so it’s hardly out-of-bounds for people to be looking at her
2) Assuming the reports of her recovery are anywhere near accurate, I see no reason why she wouldn’t be up to the run. That ABC news guy Bob Woodruff has been back to full duty for a long time after similar injuries, and doesn’t seem any worse for wear.
3) People from the start of electoral politics have benfited from unexpected events, even grisly ones. Many would argue Reagan got his first budget passed with an assist from John Hinckley. Dianne Feinstein’s whole rise was greased by an assassination. If we put our minds to it, we could probably come up with a long such list.
4) But…you don’t talk about it, because that’s gauche. And, as always, I’m suspect about unattributed quotes that seem so ill-conceived.
5) Especially because — there’s no need whatever to run the kind of commercials decribed. There won’t be a voter in AZ unaware of Giffords’ situation. Highlighting it would only cheapen it. You can suggest things…say, have a clip of her running an outdoor town meeting, or standing with her husband. I’ll bet anything that’s the route they’d actually go if it came to a campaign.
What makes me suspicious of where this is ultimately coming from (and I’m admittedly a little battle-addled and jumpy by now) is how neatly it plays into the whole govt. positions as empty-cheerleader roles which fits into the whole “who’d you rather have a beer with” school of voting. Furthermore, that understanding of political positions is part and parcel of the whole govt is the problem and useless world-view.
@campionrules: hey look its one of the whackjobs that she spent her life making sure could get a gun! The fact pro-gun scum like you want to point a gun at me makes me happier than I could imagine.
Bring it on limp-dick.
I didn’t read the article, it being behind the paywall and all, but I found the thought that she might run hopeful and remarkable, as a kind of inspirational story that our press so likes to feed us, presuming it indicates that she is actually making sufficient recovery that would allow her to do so.
Villago Delenda Est
The “some people say” trope is a dead tell to Rethug propaganda. Brit Hume uses it more frequently than he breathes, for example.
I am not sure creepy is the right word — more like, in denial over the gravity and likely life changing enormity of what happened. I have a friend who worked with adults who suffered head injuries, usually from falls, and people experience lifelong behavorial changes as a result, some subtle some not. Some of his clients were high achieving professionals and on the outside, they were the same as before, but their cognitive functioning and reasoning skills (things like, following complex instructions, remembering things like a schedule, and making sense of complex information) were permanently impaired. They also experienced personality changes (much less inhibition in their interactions) and even difficulties in maintaining personal hygeine.
I don’t want to be Debbie Downer, Giffords’ progress is nothing short of miraculous, but these people really ought to step back and stop using her as a political tool. It’s really unseemly and it possibly puts way too much pressure on someone whose life has probably changed forever.
no you’re not the only one John, it’s opportunistic, creepy and displays an extreme amount of indifference to what’s best for Giffords as she recovers.
and how craven do you have to be to actually suggest using imagery of the shooting / her lying in a pool of blood / narrating the events of her shooting and recovery for political gain?
If I were someone close to Giffords, I’d make sure the people suggesting this were fired and would never work for or near her again.
Benjamin Cisco (mobile)
@scav: This. I smell rodents copulating.
i hear an odd sound…almost sounds like…rats fucking.
Paul in KY
@madmatt: I don’t think we’re gonna get Eugenea Debs Jr. elected to office in Arizona. Also, she may now have a change of heart on some of her previous positions.
She’s certainly seen gun violence up close & personal now.
Paul in KY
@Failure, Inc.: I prefer Berettas.
It says something about Arizona politics that anyone would believe the best shot at a Senate victory is a woman suffering from gun-inflicted brain damage.
@Benjamin Cisco (mobile): This.
After the Palin self-pity parade following the shooting and the right-wing convulsive blame-liberals response, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just a rumor floated by wingnut media assholes in an attempt to turn Giffords from a wounded martyr into a cynical and conniving political opportunist.
The question I have is who would used a tragedy to gain political points?
Culture of Truth
The chief benefit of this article is so Rush Limbaugh can whine about something today. He’s probably reading it on air now calling Democrats ghouls.
IMHO, the best word to describe this is “ghoulish”.
Rand Paul of all people:
Is Newt finally getting shit for this? I’ve seen him argue completely opposite positions on the same day depending what show he’s on.
Even if her recovery IS going as well as has been described in the media, I actually wonder if anyone has considered how absolutely exhausting it is to recover from something like this. The physical and cognitive therapy she is undergoing is like working a double shift every single day. As an air traffic controller at O’Hare, just before Thanksgiving. While doing jumping jacks.
Paul in KY
@Mark S.: Golly! I hate him & campaigned against him, etc. but I gotta love his smackdown of Newt. Also with the cut on Fox News.
Does take some balls to say that (when you’re a Republican).
When are they going to re-animate Reagan? We have the technology. Couldn’t they clone him and we could have a remake of the Boys from Brazil? One for each state?
Can't Be Bothered
Jeez, first Cole gives Jake effing Tapper an old fashioned for getting pissy and self righteous about a moronic question not being answered (Eg. Can you state publicly your very private, changing and closed door discussions? Ummm.. no are you fvcking stupid?). Then he falls for the old “some say” trick on his next post. Some unnamed Democrats are saying gross things that impugn their character and the candidate they support? Gee, those Democrats sure are bad. Fvck man, your media critic glasses are broken this morning.
@cleek: Making that more hits for the Giffords as anti-christ than for congressional candidate. Why is the Times writing about the latter?
I’ve sent MadMatt’s comments along to FOX News, with a recommendation that he be booked in one of the evening shows as a representative of the left wing blogging community.
What a lovely comment. Thank you.
@Maude: Seriously? My question is “Who wouldn’t?”
My second question would be “What political points are you trying to score?” Because if you’re trying to score “Stop giving guns to registered psychos” political points, I’ll personally fill out your score card.
well so much for that theory:
She was the one who had her offices vandalized after she cast her vote in favor of HCR.
Admittedly, she is a member of the blue dog caucus and yet she voted for every key piece of Democratic legislation during Pelosi’s tenure. She’s pro-gun, yet she’s also pro-choice, so one vote on one position doesn’t mean that you can automagically deduce where someone stands on all positions.
@sukabi: I tend to think that craven can be equally applied to the calls for her replacement by Republicans in the state less than ten days after she was shot because of their “concern” that Ms. Giffords injuries would leave the state under-represented in Congress.
link is for verification that the Right was talking about this not even 10 days after the events in Tucson.
I just have to comment on this, being an Arizona denizen.
IF Gabrielle can recover sufficiently and IF it wouldn’t place a terrible burden on her longterm health (and those are big IFs) then I would like to see her run. God knows our current senators are small-minded, vicious idiots. We Democrats in Arizona have had trouble finding decent candidates to run in senatorial contests, who also have good name recognition. Moreover, one of the people expressing interest in running in the future is Joe Arpaio, God forbid!
So if she can recover sufficiently and would want the job, Gabrielle could stand a strong chance of winning, plus she’d have martyr and bravery creds on her side. She’s not as liberal as I’d like, but head and shoulders above anyone of the jerks in the cesspool of snarling pitbulls making up the current Repub party.
Yeah, it’s creepy, BUT Republicans would do it, and I’m just sick and tired of the Democrats going to gun fights armed with butter knives.
you’re kidding, right? any politician will Always gain political points from tragedy.
Whenever there’s a story like this in the NYT, I assume that the Some Person who’s saying these things is the reporter him- or herself. And s/he asks, “What if it was like this. [Gives lengthy description.] Would that be your interpretation?” And the other person says, “Um, sure, I guess.” And then the article comes out, “Some Person said that [lengthy description written by reporter].”
Watch for it the next time you read a lifestyle-ish article about a trend. The reporter will have made up the trend, asked her friend to agree with her, then quoted the friend as evidence.
@jwest: I should be so lucky as to get some Kochcash even on my worst day I am still a thousand miles left of beck and oreilly.
People who suffer brain damage ae never the same person again.
The Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in January is gone. She won’t be back. The new Gabrielle Giffords may not be interested in politics — in fact, she may have to spend years just learning to care for herself, which is considerably more pressing than a Senate run.
I wish her all the best but a profound brain trauma changes everything.
It says something about Arizona politics that anyone would believe the best shot at a Senate victory …
Interesting choice of verbiage…
@piratedan: I think the R’s started making noises about her replacement prior to the 10 day mark… but yes, CRAVEN does apply to that as well…
It seems pretty obvious that they have already suffered some type of major brain injury. That or the organ is missing completely.
Not creepy so much as trying to remember what a bright future she had and hoping against hope that it can still be hers. Senate seats don’t come along all that often. Who knows what the situation will look like when McCain is ready to retire.
It’s to run for Kyl’s seat in 2012. Probably way too soon.
The way they accomplished that was to say that other potential Democratic candidates were waiting to see if she got in.
Meanwhile, Giffords’ staff asked Tom Poe (yeah, that one) to come to Arizona and listen to details about a bill Gabby would have introduced. It’s actually a good idea – ensuring cell phone service along the border. Poe did a little two-minute on the floor today about it. I don’t know that cell phone service would have saved the life of the rancher he references, but authorities would certainly have been there quicker. Sure, Poe makes the usual political hay out of the situation, but it seems to me that if it’s something both sides can agree on, it should pass.
Creepy and opportunistic yes but as a person who is currently represented by Gabby I would love to see her recover enough to run for the senate seat if she wishes to. I think that right now simply rooting for her to be able to be present for her husband’s space shuttle lift off in April is enough of a goal for someone who has sustained such massive trauma.
Absolutely! She really is doing remarkably well, all things considered.
Pricianus, jr.: Thanks for understanding my point and expanding upon it. Yes, the decision is entirely up to Gabby.
Davis X. Machina
Senator Charles Sumner was absent from the Senate for three years after being beaten on the floor of the Senate by Rep. Brooks.
More useful perhaps in that period as a symbol than as an actual legislator, but symbols are important, too.
(He eventually returned and served till 1874…)