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"I had to be here for this vote. I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy,"
August 1, 2011 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Slightly less than 7 months after being shot in the head while meeting with her constituents, Gabrielle Giffords returns to the House floor to vote for the debt limit.

previously
posted by get off of my cloud (97 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Big pimpin.

Best news ever outta congress.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:50 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also it look like this is her first tweet (not by a staffer) since the attack.
posted by thecjm at 9:50 PM on August 1, 2011


I have something in my eye from chopping onions after weightlifting shut up leave me alone!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:51 PM on August 1, 2011 [13 favorites]


Great news.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:51 PM on August 1, 2011


I have something in my eye from chopping onions after weightlifting shut up leave me alone!

I know, I know. Me too.
posted by sweetkid at 9:53 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


so serene on the screen
posted by mannequito at 9:54 PM on August 1, 2011


So happy to see her back.
posted by babby╩╝); Drop table users; -- at 9:59 PM on August 1, 2011


Curious how, in the footage showing her welcome back, many of her colleagues seem to be not looking at her but looking around.
posted by datawrangler at 10:01 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, she has an excuse.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:02 PM on August 1, 2011


Curious how, in the footage showing her welcome back, many of her colleagues seem to be not looking at her but looking around.

That struck me as very human. Also, everyone seemed to be hugging her very gingerly. Everyone seemed so nervous, and not just because of the debt ceiling bill. It was very touching, very human.
posted by sweetkid at 10:09 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Amazing.

Fuck you, Sarah Palin.
posted by bardic at 10:14 PM on August 1, 2011 [45 favorites]


I'm very glad that she has recovered so well and so quickly, but her showing up on the floor during this bill is the most shameful exploitation of a personal tragedy for redirect the media narrative that I've ever seen. My stomach churned when she walked into the room-I could see the media's focus instantly and irrevocably shifting away from this debt limit fiasco (and the terrible bill that got pushed through) happening before my eyes.
posted by Benjy at 10:17 PM on August 1, 2011 [41 favorites]


Massive and spontaneous dust storm just erupted. The unobtanium covering my heart just melted a tad bit. Finally that chamber gets a dose of long missing courage....
posted by TomSophieIvy at 10:19 PM on August 1, 2011


Good for Ms Giffords. She's made an impressive recovery. A lot of hard work on her part that we don't see.

but looking around.

For the camera. They're all looking to get some of that delicious free publicity. The theatrics of Democracy are too much to bear. There is a long history of Senators and Congressmen being wheeled into chamber on a gurney to cast a deciding vote. Drama, drama, drama whilst they pick our pockets and fail to do even a reasonably competent job. Reality TV at its best.
posted by three blind mice at 10:21 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm very glad that she has recovered so well and so quickly, but her showing up on the floor during this bill is the most shameful exploitation of a personal tragedy for redirect the media narrative that I've ever seen. My stomach churned when she walked into the room-I could see the media's focus instantly and irrevocably shifting away from this debt limit fiasco (and the terrible bill that got pushed through) happening before my eyes.

THREE-DIMENSIONAL CHESS
posted by mr_roboto at 10:22 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just sat alone in my room and clapped. This is wonderful.
posted by Judith Butlerian Jihad at 10:25 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


how can you be cynical about something so beautiful?
posted by spitbull at 10:27 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Saw the clip of Gabrielle Giffords voting on the budget bill -- of course, I cried.


- Mom's Facebook status
posted by louche mustachio at 10:34 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


After the kick in the gut that 1-8-11 was here, this is damn fantastic. I don't care for the debt deal, but that's a rant for a different time. I remember people crying when the erroneous reports came in that she had died. She is making her first appearance to the nation to hugs and wild applause, while the psycho that killed several and damn near got her too rots in a mental ward, awaiting the trial that will some day come.

Tucson got a much needed lift today. Thanks, Gabby.
posted by azpenguin at 10:37 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


(Sarah Palin had nothing to do with this)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:43 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fuck you, Sarah Palin.

Amen.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:46 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Sarah Palin had nothing to do with this)

You're right on target there, furiousxgeorge. Oops... silly me, did I say "target"? Sorry, I meant crosshairs. Like, um, you see on maps. Yeah. You know, surveyor's marks. Never mind.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:54 PM on August 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


*lines up furiousxgeorge in gunsightssurveyor marks*
posted by GeckoDundee at 10:56 PM on August 1, 2011


Right, she said that but it had nothing to do with the international grammar conspiracy that drove him to murder.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:56 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


...very slowly, it would seem.
posted by GeckoDundee at 10:56 PM on August 1, 2011


She looks great. I forget who said it here back we she got shot but BULLET PROOF HEADS.

I'm not saying "go get shot test the theory" I'm saying "holy fuck medical science!"
posted by vrakatar at 10:56 PM on August 1, 2011


Jared Lee Loughner is damaged. You know, mentally ill.

He was failed by his family, his friends, his community, the state of Arizona and this nation.

Note, only now will he be receiving anti-psychotics... so he can stand trial.

That fact, speaks volumes.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 11:01 PM on August 1, 2011 [43 favorites]


What stunning courage and patriotism. She is truly extraordinary. Love or hate this bill, it had to pass to keep our economy from crashing, and one has to admire Giffords even more for her selflessness in doing what she could to make sure that didn't happen, even in the midst of a very tough and daunting road to recovery.

I think it is also clear this was Giffords' own idea. She is no one's puppet.
posted by bearwife at 11:07 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


As happy as I am for Rep. Giffords I can't help but think this was all a ruse. Have Giffords come in unexpectedly and vote for the bill, saving face for the other 94 Dems who voted to drive us further away from economic recovery.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:20 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]



I think it is also clear this was Giffords' own idea. She is no one's puppet.


Whether or not it was her idea or one of her aids, it was a calculated political move and nothing else. I find Giffords' recovery touching, but let's be real for a minute.

"I had to be here for this vote. I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy,"

I could not help rolling my eyes at this. Giffords knew that the vote would not be in danger of failing. She knew that it damn sure was not going to be so close that one vote would make a difference. If any other representative suggested that our country's economic prosperity was dependent on their single vote, we'd think they were full of themselves.

And now instead of discussing the bill and its consequences, the only conversation seems to "Gabby! What a hero! Shot in the head and still drags herself to Washington!" Gabby gets infinite political brownie points. Joe Sixpack forgets about the debt circus and changes the channel. Nero fiddles while Rome burns.
posted by WhitenoisE at 11:27 PM on August 1, 2011 [23 favorites]


I wish I was an astronaut.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 11:32 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


^me too! Anyone who's not an astronaut, a CIA sniper, or a vampire hunter is a sellout as far as I'm concerned.
posted by WhitenoisE at 11:35 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Unless it is Jack Crow. Then you can be a vampire hunter AND a sellout.
posted by Justinian at 11:57 PM on August 1, 2011


Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

I've been reading stuff lately that makes me think this is misused a lot.

It seems at least plausible that Nero was by no means disinterested or out of touch or lost in fantasy while Rome burned. He was perhaps behind it, as part of a giant land grab scam to make him and his social set become wealthier - as well as letting him build the Golden Palace.
posted by freebird at 12:08 AM on August 2, 2011


Yeah, yeah, politics, shmolitics, but this one could be a candidate for the tear-jerker movie thread earlier today.
posted by Lukenlogs at 12:15 AM on August 2, 2011


You guys never run out of ways to erase the real news from the headlines, do you? They needed a distraction proportional to the epic failure of governance that transpired yesterday, and, god damn it, they found one. Bravo.
posted by klanawa at 12:22 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Fuck you, Sarah Palin.

It occurs to me that The Palin has been quiet lately. Has she dropped out of sight or is everyone finally ignoring her?
posted by awfurby at 12:52 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has she dropped out of sight or is everyone finally ignoring her?

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
posted by spitbull at 12:55 AM on August 2, 2011 [16 favorites]


You guys never run out of ways to erase the real news from the headlines, do you?

Who are "us guys?" Are we any relation to "you people?" Are you saying MeFi tends to bury the lede, or Americans, or what?

And what would you like us all to do about the debt ceiling/deficit reduction package that is now sure to pass, klanawa, that cannot be paused for an appreciation that Rep. Giffords is able to vote? And why on earth would this somehow change the subject? Maybe if we got mad enough and mocked the apparently phony charade of Rep. Giffords coming back from the brink of death to return to work then we could go back in time to 2010 and change the outcome of the election?

The fury about this on left and right is so damn delusional. I hear some of the teabaggers would have preferred an actual default. I hope progressives aren't quite as insane. But I am beginning to wonder based on the childish keening over at dKos and here on Metafilter.

Indeed, the best evidence it's probably not a very bad outcome is how *pissed off* both far right and far left are about it. I was more upset about it before I started hearing the progressive wail arise across the blogosphere, mirrored by the right wing wail across the aisle.
posted by spitbull at 1:03 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


It seems at least plausible that Nero was by no means disinterested or out of touch or lost in fantasy while Rome burned. He was perhaps behind it, as part of a giant land grab scam to make him and his social set become wealthier - as well as letting him build the Golden Palace.

The sad part is that the analogy seems to work either way.
posted by WhitenoisE at 1:37 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


The sad part is that the analogy seems to work either way.

Or, hey, maybe the guy just liked playing the fiddle.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:50 AM on August 2, 2011


Pedantry:

The fiddle wasn't invented until the 10th century. Its immediate ancestor, the Byzantine lira was invented during the 9th century.

If he played anything, it was the Lyre, which was more like a zither and less like a bowed instrument. Suetonius suggests he sang in theatrical costumes while the city burned, though historically Nero probably wasn't even in the city at the time. In fact, history suggests he returned and led a relief effort out of his own pocket and even helped search for and rescue victims. Wikipedia's coverage is actually pretty decent.

So we do Nero a grave disservice when we compare him to our current U.S. government. First, he supported the arts. Second, he wasn't present when the disaster happened. Third, he tried to actually help do something useful. Fourth, he would have told the tea party where they could shove their Lyre and just raised the gods damned taxes. Fifth, he would have blamed the Christians and fed them to lions.

All of which suggests to me that Nero was actually better equipped to handle the U.S. crises than any current politician.

Also, don't blame the fiddle. Its one of a handful of instruments that can defeat the devil.

And don't get me started on using "Kabuki theatre" to describe Washington DC politics. If you're not having the occasional bloody disemboweling by sword, you aren't doing Kabuki theatre.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:55 AM on August 2, 2011 [99 favorites]


Would normally have something to say about the politics, debt deal etc etc, but it's just so lovely to see her back and doing ok.
posted by greenish at 4:25 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I see that the Sour Grapes Squad has arrived in their Misery Machine. Wankers.

Bravo Rep. Giffords.
posted by Splunge at 4:57 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Indeed, the best evidence it's probably not a very bad outcome is how *pissed off* both far right and far left are about it.

I tried to walk by this post. I really, truly did. But...

That might be good evidence, except for two little things. One, there is no far left. Period. And, two, most of the right is not really pissed off, because they got everything they wanted. The crazy right is bitching because they couldn't amend the Constitution in the process. And don't even get me started about the "super congress" disenfranchisement scheme.

Anyway, I'm happy for and proud of Gabrielle Giffords. She's driven -in a great way.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:01 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought this was a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Does it serve as a distraction? Not to me. I am still zeroed in on how fucked up this entire situation is - in fact, how fucked up the entire country is across multiple levels and situations. Gabrielle Giffords' appearance yesterday does not change that. It just serves as a bright spot in an ever-darkening spiral into madness. A welcome moment of respite in the storm.

Does it serve as a political bonus for her? Absolutely. The whole "I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy" was ludicrous. I saw it for what it was and blew past it, because I still think her appearance for the vote was a phenomenal thing.

Because, you know, I am quite able to have more than one single thought or idea in my head at any given time. I'm able to drink tea *and* read a newspaper simultaneously. I can hold more than one opinion at any given moment. I am able to do these things because I do not have tunnel vision or a calcified thought process. The same can be said for a great many people.

So stop detracting from the fact that this woman's appearance on the Hill yesterday was anything less than fucking amazing and enjoy the fact that she was able, under her own steam, to get out of bed and walk into her place of work and cast a vote less than eight months after being shot through the head by a psychotic man who was, as someone said upthread, failed by every single member of the human community he came in contact with and is only getting help (after a fashion) now so we can punish him for the fact that we failed him when he needed help most, when it counted most, and that that failure got several people killed and gravely wounded.

Giffords' appearance made me happy for her and her family and her loved ones, but it also made me angry in a very primal sort of way because it is a bitter, bitter victory: Her appearance in Congress for this vote proved that even in the face of appalling, inhuman disregard for one's fellow humans - a disregard that is increasing by the day in this country - they can't keep all of us down. Not all of us - at least if we have the money to pay for the medical care. You go, Gabby. I dont always agree with you, but I'm totally rooting for you, lady.

And yeah - fuck you, Sarah Palin. And just for good measure, fuck you too, Michelle Bachman, and the rest of your ilk. Just fuck all of you.
posted by perilous at 5:06 AM on August 2, 2011 [16 favorites]


Jared Lee Loughner is damaged. You know, mentally ill.H e was failed by his family, his friends, his community, the state of Arizona and this nation. Note, only now will he be receiving anti-psychotics... so he can stand trial. That fact, speaks volumes.

Wouldn't it be ironic if funding for that medication was one of the things cut by this debt ceiling bill?
posted by fungible at 5:08 AM on August 2, 2011


Joey Michaels took the words from my fingertips. Also she did her rehab in my zip code at the same facility as my doctor but there are hundreds of docs there and tens thousands of patients so it was invisible to me.

Is there a word for an anachronistic legend like Nero fiddling?
posted by bukvich at 5:10 AM on August 2, 2011


Her appearance in Congress for this vote proved that even in the face of appalling, inhuman disregard for one's fellow humans - a disregard that is increasing by the day in this country - they can't keep all of us down. Not all of us - at least if we have the money to pay for the medical care.

As a congresswoman, Giffords has free access to what is (as far as I understand) quite literally the best healthcare plan in the world. If not the best, then pretty damn close.

So Giffords, her life saved by our finest doctors and most expensive medical insurance, decides that the first thing she'll do is vote yes on a bill that will soon place these luxuries far out of the reach of the average American - more than they even already are.

You go girl! Don't let these mefi sourpusses ruin your photo op. They probably just woke up on the wrong side of the bed or HEY LOOK DANCING WITH THE STARS IS ON NEXT
posted by WhitenoisE at 5:27 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I believe the outcome of not passing this bill would have been default, and further that default would have caused global problems entirely unlike the current economic malaise we are currently experiencing.

I'm curious, for those that would have preferred a "no" vote from her: do you believe default would not have happened, or that it would have been preferable to passing the bill?
posted by Jpfed at 5:34 AM on August 2, 2011


And Mr. Bad Example's heart grew three sizes that day.

Seriously, you guys, call a cardiologist. I don't think I should be able to feel my pericardium.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:35 AM on August 2, 2011


I believe the outcome of not passing this bill would have been default, and further that default would have caused global problems entirely unlike the current economic malaise we are currently experiencing.

I'm right there with you on this. I'm just disappointed that we couldn't have also de-funded health insurance for children or abolished Social Security. You know, for avoiding default.
posted by indubitable at 5:42 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the GOP and Tea Party are celebrating today. They are celebrating what they call the death of the Socialist Left and welfare spending.

Defaulting would have been catastrophic, no doubt about it. Problem is, this is catastrophic too, it just only affects the little guy. And Congress really doesn't seem to give a fuck about the little guy.
posted by lydhre at 6:12 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't care for the debt deal, but that's a rant for a different time.

Hey look, it worked.
posted by rusty at 6:17 AM on August 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


By the way, any "deal" on raising the debt limit is a big win for the right. Here's how it would have gone if we had a left wing president:

GOP: We're not gonna raise the debt limit!
President: Ok.

The end. Wait for congress to pass a plain old regular routine debt limit raising bill. Veto anything else. It's very simple.

I don't blame the GOP for this, because it only happened with Obama's enthusiastic participation. It's Obama's shitty deal. Don't forget that in November.
posted by rusty at 6:21 AM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Democrats: You can shoot us in the head, and you probably will, but we will always march right back into battle, walk right up to your face, and compromise the shit outta you. Because being fair, decent, and honest may not always be popular, but in the long run it always triumphs. Sic Semper Niceguys.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:34 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Its one of a handful of instruments that can defeat the devil.

Damn, I thought that link was going to be a complete list of instruments that can defeat the devil.
posted by grog at 6:36 AM on August 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


> Yeah, and right in the portion of my post you quoted, I mentioned "At least if you have the money to pay for it."

If you're doing to be a douchebag, at least make an effort at being a good one.
posted by perilous at 6:40 AM on August 2, 2011


I cried. Then, when I saw it on the news 4 hours later, I cried again.

The real politic of this is good - Rep. Giffords chose to return at a time when her return would not be the biggest story. That was not an accident.
posted by andreaazure at 6:45 AM on August 2, 2011


So Giffords, her life saved by our finest doctors and most expensive medical insurance, decides that the first thing she'll do is vote yes on a bill that will soon place these luxuries far out of the reach of the average American that Sarah Palin calls a "Victory for the Tea Party".
posted by 445supermag at 6:47 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


how can you be cynical about something so beautiful?

That's what being cynical is: not being distracted because something is "beautiful".
posted by adamdschneider at 6:52 AM on August 2, 2011 [10 favorites]



You guys never run out of ways to erase the real news from the headlines, do you? They needed a distraction proportional to the epic failure of governance that transpired yesterday, and, god damn it, they found one. Bravo.

You know what ? GOOD.

It's about goddamned time the democrats controlled the news cycle for once.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:55 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there a word for an anachronistic legend like Nero fiddling?

A nerologism.
posted by Rumple at 7:03 AM on August 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


Is this a one off or is she is back to work full time? Tactless of me I know, esp. given how moving people find this incident, but I have to wonder, is it really the best thing for her district (or the nation) that she has not stepped down while working on her recovery? It's been eight months. How long an absence is reasonable?

(Good one, Rumple)
posted by IndigoJones at 7:07 AM on August 2, 2011


Damn, I thought that link was going to be a complete list of instruments that can defeat the devil.

The complete list is rather underwhelming:

Fiddle
Triangle
Kazoo
Brown Jug with Three Xs On The Label
That Sound When You Make An O Shape With Your Mouth And Then Flick Your Cheek Over And Over
Bassoon
posted by FatherDagon at 7:42 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


...
comb and tissue paper
washboard
set of spoons
thumb piano
glass harmonica
tubular bells
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:45 AM on August 2, 2011


.... and that little snoring wuffling sound that tiny puppies make when they are sleeping.
posted by elizardbits at 7:46 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Didn't read all the comments, but her strength and courage and conviction to duty makes most of the rest of Congress look like self-serving flakes.
posted by dbooker at 7:55 AM on August 2, 2011



> Yeah, and right in the portion of my post you quoted, I mentioned "At least if you have the money to pay for it."


Yes...my entire post was a reply to that part specifically. There seems to be a communication breakdown here. Maybe we can improve the signal to noise ratio if, I dunno, we desist from jumping in with name calling when someone's perspective doesn't fit snugly with our preferred narrative.

I concede that you're clearly a better person than me, Perilous, as evidenced by your potent moral outrage and your number of favorites. Let's move pass that and discuss the topic at hand please.
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:55 AM on August 2, 2011


The complete list is rather underwhelming

And wouldn't you know, I've made exhaustive FPPs on two of them...

Kazoo

and

Glass (H)Armonica
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:57 AM on August 2, 2011


The complete list is rather underwhelming:

Fiddle
Triangle
Kazoo
Brown Jug with Three Xs On The Label
That Sound When You Make An O Shape With Your Mouth And Then Flick Your Cheek Over And Over
Bassoon
...
comb and tissue paper
washboard
set of spoons
thumb piano
glass harmonica
tubular bells



Underwhelming or no, it needs to be narrated by Viv Stanshall.
 
Eric Clapton, ukulele.... Hi Eric! . . .
Digging General de Gaulle on accordion. . . Really wild, General!. . .

posted by Herodios at 8:33 AM on August 2, 2011


As a congresswoman, Giffords has free access to what is (as far as I understand) quite literally the best healthcare plan in the world.

Until 2014, members of Congress receive the same health insurance options as all other federal employees, with two differences. First, they can pay to receive care from the Attending Physician, but this does not cover inpatient care. Second, they are allowed to receive care at military hospitals but inpatient care is billed by DoD. All that expensive surgery and rehab and whatnot would have been covered by whatever federal-employee plan she picked out.

In 2014, members of Congress are kicked off the federal employee health care and onto the health insurance exchanges set up by the ACA.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:48 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


So in conclusion:

1) An insane young man decides to go on a shooting spree for whatever insane reason he cooked up in his head that day.

2) He kills 6 people, including a little girl who dreamed of being a just politician, and seriously injures 14 others.

3) Giffords ends up with significant and permanent brain damage.

4) Jared Loughner spends the rest of his life cared for in a hospital or goes to prison. Either way, the taxpayers foot the bill for his treatment all while they are stripped of their own social insurance by the bill Giffords rushes to sign.

And many people are cresting on this tidal wave of emotion as soon as the cameras click. It's a welcome break from the drearily negative news cycle. They don't understand how anyone can be upset at the situation. Don't try to explain either, because they don't want to hear. You are either a wretched human being or a troll if you disagree because you're clearly trying to upset everyone/insult Giffords/get a reaction.

The thing is, if this topic was about Giffords opening her eyes or hugging her husband for the first time, there would be zero snark. Not even on Metafilter. Not even from me. Instead, it covers a transparent political ploy with a mask of cheap sentiment and almost dares people to question the motive.

To me, this is the political equivalent of naming a bill "The Internet Child Protection Act". You can't possibly be against the bill! Why do you hate our children?
posted by WhitenoisE at 8:58 AM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


> It occurs to me that The Palin has been quiet lately. Has she dropped out of sight or is
> everyone finally ignoring her?

The latter, but bardic is trying to fix that.
posted by jfuller at 9:00 AM on August 2, 2011


WhitenoisE, your conclusion jumping and ability to stuff words into my mouth and/or make up dialogue out of thin air as suits your particular needs at any given moment has me breathless with wonderment and amaze.

You can back up off my shit and fuck off now, k? Thx.
posted by perilous at 9:02 AM on August 2, 2011


Ok buddy, I'll see you around. We're still up for drinks at moe's on Friday right? Call me.
posted by WhitenoisE at 9:05 AM on August 2, 2011


Y'all want to cool it, please.
posted by cortex at 9:22 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]



You're right that it is shameless pandering.

And you're right that it would be better if the morons who ruled us were above that.

However, we live in a political reality where this nonsense helps the cause.

If you want the Dems to back your shit, you need the votes. If you want Obama to dig in his heels, you need the votes.

This thing - parading Gabby around as distraction - that gets the votes. The dems have turned the news cycle from how they got stood up to, to look at the heroic and patriotic Democrat returning to office after a devastating injury.

This is the sort of media manipulation that the Republicans have mastered for going on 20 years.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:29 AM on August 2, 2011


Even before learning of Giffords' recovery, I thought the debt deal was a good event (relative to the alternative). I'm not trying to paint anyone as a monster for reacting differently; I recognize that there is a lot of frustration on the left with this deal (there should even be frustration among the GOP electorate, but not because it's too liberal!).

The whole TP-using-the-debt-ceiling-as-a-hostage-situation part sucked, but the fact that they lifted the debt ceiling to avoid default is a really good thing IMO. By the time we got to the House vote, there were two alternatives: shitty bill, or even shittier default. The fact that we're not getting the shittier of the alternatives is, and I say this completely in earnest, a good thing. A couple trillion in cuts will be painful, but I think default would have been far more painful (for example, did you know that there is financial software that hardcodes the assumption that U.S. bonds are AAA, and no one has any idea how that software will react if that rating changes? Fun times.)

I believe that Obama got one of the better outcomes that could have been realistically hoped for out of a game of political chicken, given the constraints of the makeup of Congress. Iterated chicken, unlike iterated prisoner's dilemma, offers no mechanism (within its existing rules and reward structures*) for encouraging cooperation**, which means that it was absolutely correct for him to try to get the debt ceiling increases to be effective for as long as possible.

*So you have to change the rules or reward structures to get anything good out of it. Note the auto-triggered defense cuts in the bill; with this, Obama is trying to make aggressive play hurt for the GOP, reducing the possibility of another round of chicken later.

**This is why chicken is poison to the processes of political deliberation. The debt ceiling itself is quite dangerous because it creates the opportunity for extremists to force everyone to play chicken. Ultimately it must be replaced with another implementation that's not so open to gaming.
posted by Jpfed at 9:33 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Note, only now will he be receiving anti-psychotics... so he can stand trial.

Good.

Fuck you, Jared Lee Loughner!
posted by banshee at 9:55 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


just seeing there and BOOM! am in tears.
such good news.
thanks.
posted by liza at 10:09 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe that Obama got one of the better outcomes that could have been realistically hoped for ...

You know, I think I remember a president that managed to have people arrested without trial and then tortured, all without any serious opposition. This president could have easily shown a little backbone and at least made a credible threat to end-run around congress if he had to. Or as mentioned above, he could have just vetoed any bill that was not a standard debt-ceiling increase, and only that.

The only way to successfully play chicken is to hold onto the wheel and close your eyes - especially when you know that the other guy doesn't have the balls to do the same.

Do you think the bankers pulling the strings of the GOP would have really allowed a default?

(If Obama and the current crop of democrats had been in power in 1962, the USSR would have been building missile silos in Miami.)
posted by bashos_frog at 11:22 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


A bit more context on how this vote was used, from talkingpointsmemo:

"As the clock ticked down, Democrats and Republicans had engaged in a standoff. Democrats were withholding their votes to force Republicans to go on the record first -- Democrats had no intention of letting Republicans off the hook on legislation that so closely adheres to their interests.

That all ended when Giffords walked into the chamber to a standing ovation, and proceeded to vote in favor of the measure. After a long applause, the votes cascaded in and the measure passed easily."

Passage was already a done deal, but the only uncertainty was how many Democrats would have to vote for the bill (a bunch were necessary; without the Dems, this wouldn't have passed). I haven't heard of a single representative, D or R, who was eager to vote for this bill, so I wouldn't take her statements at face value. She was flown in as a political tool, and it worked nicely. None of that in any way diminishes the personal heroism of her recovery, but it's a bit too bad that her first triumphant vote was for perhaps the worst bill under a Democratic president in decades.
posted by chortly at 11:36 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Schwarzenegger only pretended to get shot, and for this he was made a governor. Is Giffords now our empress?

She was flown in as a political tool

Tool implies that she was not there by choice or that she was duped. Really?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:43 AM on August 2, 2011


She survived a literal assassination attempt by a deranged right-wing lunatic, but somehow I almost feel worse for her now, when she's utterly at the mercy of the internet's mobs of callow, nominally leftist character assassins.

The political optics on this might be bad from a certain, purist point of view (gosh! what a shock! a politician's doing something for political reasons again! what a sell-out!), but this thread is even uglier.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:41 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's out of line to ask: does Ms. Giffords have the cognitive ability to weigh a complex political decision of this kind?
posted by Scram at 2:21 PM on August 2, 2011


>>Note, only now will he be receiving anti-psychotics... so he can stand trial.

>Good.

>Fuck you, Jared Lee Loughner!


The point, you are missing it. Had Jared Lee Loughner been able to get proper care, including (quite likely) antipsychotics, he would not have done the thing that is prompting you to say "fuck you, Jared Lee Loughner".

Without claiming to be psychic, I would hazard a guess that what PROD_TPSL was driving at is the idea that Americans are apparently perfectly willing to provide treatment for mental illness if it's required in order to punish the mentally ill person; we are, apparently, not willing to provide treatment for mental illness if it's required in order for a person to be able to live as a productive and contributing member of society.
posted by Lexica at 2:23 PM on August 2, 2011


I don't think it's out of line to ask: does Ms. Giffords have the cognitive ability to weigh a complex political decision of this kind?

I wonder about this too. I am a constituent of Ms. Giffords and I was really surprised to hear about this. Nobody's really been willing to confront the issue of Ms. Giffords competence during her recovery. I voted for her twice but since her attack I have occasionally reflected on the oddness and unfairness of essentially having no representation in Congress.
posted by kjh at 3:52 PM on August 2, 2011


Spot on, Lexica.

Spot on.

An ounce of prevention... and all...
posted by PROD_TPSL at 9:07 PM on August 2, 2011


This thing - parading Gabby around as distraction - that gets the votes.

[citation needed]
posted by aaronetc at 9:20 PM on August 2, 2011


I wonder about this too. I am a constituent of Ms. Giffords and I was really surprised to hear about this. Nobody's really been willing to confront the issue of Ms. Giffords competence during her recovery. I voted for her twice but since her attack I have occasionally reflected on the oddness and unfairness of essentially having no representation in Congress.

You do have the benefit of her fully staffed congressional office though, which can still do most of the ombudsman work that congresspeople do, or so I thought. USA Today notes continued progress, though it remains to be seen how far that will go. She seems competent enough to understand; perhaps the work to be done is in how she expresses herself. Also her husband is retiring from NASA and the Navy.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:53 PM on August 2, 2011


Amazing. The GOP has one house and not the presidency, and they can get almost anything they want. First, the Bush tax cuts were extended (and no doubt Romney will make them permanent in 2013), and now several trillion dollars are effectively diverted from ordinary Americans to the very rich, both without anything in return. Heck, even when they had neither house of Congress, the Republicans were clearly in charge.

As long as the Democrats are obsessed with "compromise", the Republicans will keep using that to do this little trick. Since they know the Dems have no stomach for a real battle, they take the furthest-right position they can, refuse all overtures, and just wait. The Democratic voters will always assume that the Democrat position (which is always a compromise to begin with) is "the left" and demand a compromise between that compromise and the crazy-right position that the GOP pretends* to take.

As several have pointed out, if the president had simply laughed and refused to play this game instead of humoring them and helping them draw attention to themselves with this whole tantrum, a plain, ordinary debt ceiling increase would certainly have passed. This is obvious to anyone who understands politics. By pleading with them and buying them candy, the president has only rewarded their bad behavior and ensured it will happen again.

So since the Democrats won't stand up and fight for us, why do we keep electing them? Look at the legislation passed early in the decade when the GOP had both houses and the presidency. Now look at what was passed in 2010 during the opposite situation. See the difference? Neither do I. What's the point of voting Democrat if the same stuff gets passed either way? If you don't believe in fighting but the other side does, it doesn't matter how many troops you have. One dude with a board with a nail in it can slaughter ten thousand pacifists.

What all this is leading up to is that I no longer believe that electing Democrats instead of Republicans affects policy. I'm glad Giffords is feeling better, but it's a shame she had to come in to do this. Voters, let's give her some extended time off from work so she can have a more peaceful recovery. It's the decent thing to do.

*I say "pretends" because only the Tea-Party contingent would seriously have followed through on this threat, and they never had even close to enough seats in Congress to do it.
posted by Xezlec at 6:43 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I spoke to my nuerosurgeon friend again (same guy who reminded me that he had a teacher return to work after an almost identical head injury to Ms Gifford, see my comments in the original thread) and he said he had no doubt just in viewing the brief segment that she is competent. He pointed out a few things, especially relating to body language that are pretty convincing.
That said it remains an incredible result and one he feels sure is helped along by the patient's own drive.
posted by Wilder at 7:09 AM on August 3, 2011


Terrific news to see the Congresswoman back in action.

Her constituents deserve accountability and representation. Now that she is back casting votes on key issues (like the debt ceiling), she needs to demonstrate to her constituents that she is competent. Yes, she has a staff that is capable of advising the Congresswoman and handling constituent requests, but that staff wasn't elected. I think that by casting a vote on the debt ceiling, Giffords needs to show the people of her district that she understands the issue and can answer their questions on it.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:12 AM on August 3, 2011


OK BobbyVan, what exactly would that look like? I mean different from how her constituents are being served now? If she had taken time off to have a baby, or was injured in a RTA, what is the procedure?

"a pound of flesh, perhaps?"
posted by Wilder at 12:17 PM on August 3, 2011


Well, she suffered a traumatic brain injury, and her job is to make decisions on behalf of her constituents and the nation. Whether she is up to the job is a legitimate question, and one that we shouldn't be afraid to ask. Giffords should, at the very least, sit down with journalists or editorial writers and answer their questions. It doesn't need to be televised. That would go a long way towards putting these legitimate concerns to rest.

Sorry, but your neurosurgeon friend diagnosing her as "competent" based on her C-SPAN appearance is about as reliable as Bill Frist saying that, in his medical opinion, Terry Schiavo was conscious.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:47 PM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here is a video of a guy who is a social worker at Hermann Hospital in Houston where she did her rehab. He also is a brain gunshot survivor.

Michael Segal

(His prognosis at T = 1 day was no better than hers.)
posted by bukvich at 12:43 PM on August 7, 2011


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