In Case You Needed Another Reason To Hate Politics

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Ugh.

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…

While it might be wishful thinking, Ms. Giffords’s noncampaign is already having a major effect on Arizona politics; other prospective Democratic candidates say they feel compelled not to jump in unless she bows out, allowing Republicans to get a head start organizing their campaigns.

“I’m in but only if she’s not,” said one prospective Democratic candidate, who spoke of his deliberations but insisted that he not be named given the fluid nature of the race. “A Democrat running against her would be doomed.”..

“We could do no better for a candidate,” said Terry Goddard, a Democrat who lost a bid for governor last year. “She’s beyond partisanship.”…

She would no doubt benefit from sympathy she would receive as one of 19 people shot that morning. Political analysts in both parties say her rivals would face the difficult task of campaigning against her without appearing too hard-edged.

“Elections are about emotion more than logic, and she will attract a lot of people to her because of that,” said David Leibowitz, an Arizona political consultant who works for Democrats and Republicans.

I of course wish Giffords the best. And if, after making a full recovery, she then wants to run for higher office, more power to her. And for all I know, she may make a darned fine senator.

But that isn’t what’s going on here. Giffords has become an immensely more attractive Senate candidate because she got shot in the head. And, frankly, because she’s still recovering. These whispers actually started weeks ago, before it was even clear that she’d be able to talk again. Try to think of another profession where something like that would immediately make you more qualified for a promotion, before your colleagues even knew what sort of recovery was even possible.

There are many laudable, commendable things to be said about someone who can survive, and then recover from, a point-blank bullet to the head. One thing you can’t say is that any of that will necessarily make Giffords a better legislator. It will, however, unquestionably make her a better candidate, for all the reasons the sleazy political operatives mention above: She’ll get sympathy votes. It will be nearly impossible for an opponent to attack her, even substantively, without looking like an ass. She’ll get a ton of sympathetic press.

And that the qualifications and characteristics that make for a good candidate so starkly differ from the qualifications and characteristics you want in a legislator is really a huge part of the problem.

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74 Responses to “In Case You Needed Another Reason To Hate Politics”

  1. #1 |  SJE | 

    This is ridiculous. If sympathy were the best way to get elected, then we would have a government full of idiot. oh…wait

  2. #2 |  Michael Pack | 

    Even with all the media coverage I have no idea what she stands for ,policy wise.

  3. #3 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Oh, I don’t know…

    I can see where a politician who has been shot in the head would be an improvement on one who has his or her full capacity for political derangement unimpaired.

  4. #4 |  Dante | 

    So the best candidate, the person with the most potential and ability to do the job, is the one who got shot in the head and suffered brain damage?

    Why can’t we do better? Don’t we deserve better?

  5. #5 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Personally, if she wants to take my money and tell me how to live my life (ie: like almost all democrats and republicans), she’s not worthy of my vote even if she single-handedly solved world hunger, world peace, and discovered an endless source of free energy all while recovering from a point blank bullet to the head.

  6. #6 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Elections are about emotion more than logic…”

    There’s the money quote! Rather obvious, I think. This also happens to be the predominant flaw in electoral politics. My best to Ms. Giffords, but the fact that this atrocity will be used for political PR is a good reason that I have decided to abstain from voting, at least for the foreseeable future.

  7. #7 |  Comrade Dread | 

    Well, you know, in their defense, she has, at least, demonstrated a capacity for learning that the majority of the nitwits holding the job now don’t.

  8. #8 |  Brandon | 

    The sad part is, they’re right. She would be unbeatable in an election now. The sadder part is, they’re happy that someone got shot in the head because it gives their team more power.

  9. #9 |  TX Swede | 

    Meh.

    Political operatives using all available means to win elections. I just don’t think this is new, or even worrisome. Inside Politics stories always are ugly, and they will never go away.

    #5 – I agree. And when she uses her suffering to impose more government on us, THEN this story matters.

  10. #10 |  bb | 

    Wait, this could be the start of a trend. All politicians might jump on the “get myself shot in the head and I’ll be more electable” bandwagon. Just think of what such a trend could do for us when they start scampering out on to hot rifle ranges, or into the mean streets of Camden, NJ or Flint, MI in an attempt to catch a bullet in the brain…

  11. #11 |  David | 

    “Nothing turned, say, a slightly talented musician, into a towering genius faster than the problem of encroaching deafness. And nothing turned a perfectly normal, healthy individual into a great political or military leader better than irreversible brain damage.”

    I don’t think Adams meant it quite like this, though.

  12. #12 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #8 Brandon: “The sadder part is, they’re happy that someone got shot in the head because it gives their team more power.”

    A very cynical analysis. Nonetheless, it is probably accuarate, at least among the “political advisor” types and party bosses. It is terribly disturbing how people allow themselves to act and speak in a manner indistinguishable from psychopaths when they totally commit themselves to an institution, whether that institution is a party, a government agency or a business corporation. Makes individualism seem like a worthy pursuit, I think.

  13. #13 |  albatross | 

    Helmut: Amen. People working on behalf of a cause or movement or company or government or church are capable of basically turning off their moral compass and sense of empathy, and following orders regardless of how horrible the consequences.

  14. #14 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #13 Albatross:

    Indeed. And no matter how many times people try to re-emphasize the lessons of Nuremburg, people continue to believe they will be shielded by their association with an institution. Sounds a bit like “mob mentality.” And we don’t excuse the actions of violent rioters, do we?

  15. #15 |  Nipplemancer | 

    You can’t really be surprised by this sort of thing. I thought something like this would come to be about 10 minutes after I found out she survived the attack.
    I think it would be more fun if she ran against Barry for the 2012 nomination. You can’t vote against a woman who got shot in the head, that’s like kicking a puppy.

  16. #16 |  Peter | 

    Elections are about emotion more than logic

    And this is precisely what is wrong with 70% of our political landscape. This is why Newt Gingrich isn’t giving speeches about TARP or Afghanistan or the economy or the deficit or taxes, because who really gives a shit about any of that?

    But ATHEIST MUSLIM SHARIA LAW?!?!?! That will get some fuckin’ votes.

    Vote Haircut/Soundbite in 2012, or the godless terrorists will collude with the devil and the pedophiles and destroy your soul!

    McCarthyism never has gone away, it’s just gotten slicker and smarter.

  17. #17 |  Aresen | 

    Well, Louis XVI was a much better politician after January 21, 1793.

  18. #18 |  BSK | 

    Didn’t a dead guy get elected a few years back? Like, everyone knew he was dead, but they hated the other guy so much, they voted for the dead one?

  19. #19 |  BSK | 

    Peter-

    But one can’t possibly be both Atheist and a Muslim in support of Sharia Law. Surely Newt knows people will figure that out. Right???

  20. #20 |  Goober | 

    No person who desires power over me deserves my vote, nor shall they get it. I am of the opinion that any system of governance that relies on people who desire to be in government is broken. The very people who desire power are the last people on earth to whom we should cede it.

    My heart is broken for Gabrielle and her family. I cannot imagine the pain that they are experiencing every single day as a result of this tragedy. I pray for her speedy recovery.

    She is, however, not exempt from my contempt for being the sort of person who would willingly seek an office where she can bend individuals to her political will. To me, that is edging very closely to the same sort of evil that shot her in the head in the first place. All elected officials are simply petty tyrants, to varying degrees, because all of them think that they know better than we do what is best for us.

    I shudder to imagine a government that would not be run by people who willingly choose to participate, however, because then we are talking about conscripting people against their will to run government for us. I believe whole-heartedly that this would result in a far better government, but cannot distiguish in my mind the difference between conscription and slavery.

    There simply is no good answer besides electing willing politicians but hawkishly ensuring that their power is very strictly limited to only those things that are necessary for them to direct.

  21. #21 |  Carl Bussjaeger | 

    I really did try to think of a tasteful way to put this, but…

    Frankly, I don’t really see how a politician who got her brains scrambled with a 9mm can be any worse than Reid, McCain, or “my” senators Shaheen and Ayotte.

    And “Shoulder Thing That Goes Up” McCarthy keeps getting reelected to the House, so clearly even having NO brain is not an impediment to office.

  22. #22 |  Kristen | 

    Didn’t a dead guy get elected a few years back? Like, everyone knew he was dead, but they hated the other guy so much, they voted for the dead one?

    Yep. John Ashcroft, erstwhile Attorney General of the U.S., was the guy that lost.

  23. #23 |  cApitalist | 

    Per Hoppe (paraphrasing), democratic elections necessitate a race to the bottom. The qualities that get someone elected (lying, backstabbing, plotting), are exactly the qualities you don’t want in a person with power. I guess we can add penetrating head trauma to the list…

  24. #24 |  Kristen | 

    If Balko continues to cite stories like this when the blog moves to PuffHo, I cannot wait to see the comments. That’s gonna be some good readin’ right there.

  25. #25 |  Steamed McQueen | 

    Sympathy voting is nothing new. How else to explain the late Ted Kennedy’s career?

  26. #26 |  karl | 

    Nice to see you and the Balloon Juicers on the same wavelength for a change.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/03/31/am-i-the-only-one-to-find-this-creepy/

  27. #27 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Which is why anyone who thinks that democracy is a good system of government is a fool.

  28. #28 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Kristen,

    If Balko continues to cite stories like this when the blog moves to PuffHo, I cannot wait to see the comments. That’s gonna be some good readin’ right there.

    Heh, no kidding.

  29. #29 |  Danny | 

    Ever since 1988, Democrats have reason to see themselves as vulnerable to Republican “rat-f*cking” — a technical term for dirty tricks, cheap attacks, and demagoguery. (The top practitioners, by reputation, were Lee Atwater and Karl Rove.)

    Thus, they put great stead in any candidate who seems to have a defense against rat-f*cking. They thought John Kerry had it, but the swift-boating proved them wrong. Giffords, a gun-injured wife of a NASA astronaut, looks like she has impervious rat-f*cking armor. They may be right, and that is a legitimate tactical consideration, especially in a place like Arizona.

    But note that Obama looked like a rat-f*cking magnet, and the GOP threw everything they had at him, but he still won by a landslide. To this day, if you hit a Republican on the knee with a rubber mallet, they will chirp “Bill Ayers” or “Chicago politics.” At some point, the rat-f*cking becomes so transparent that people gag on it so that, paradoxically, a rat-f*ck magnet like Obama can cause a catastrophic backfire.

  30. #30 |  Aresen | 

    Steamed McQueen | March 31st, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Sympathy voting is nothing new. How else to explain the late Ted Kennedy’s career?

    Yeah. My sympathy for people with alcoholism and priapism only goes so far.

  31. #31 |  qwints | 

    Suffering tragedy could make someone a better legislator to the extent that it raised their awareness of problems facing disabled people, people in the medical system in Arizona or crime victims. I’m sure she represents plenty of people who have dealt with issues of a similar type to what she is now facing. To the extent she can use those experiences to inform her actions as a legislator without letting them define her, she could be a better representative for the experience.

    Of course, what this probably means is that her political allies hope to imply that opposing her is to be on the side of Jared Loughner – an illogical, silly and pointless position to take.

  32. #32 |  Joey Maloney | 

    Cross-posted from Teh Blog Radley Loves To Hate: 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.

  33. #33 |  FridayNext | 

    #8 Brandon: “The sadder part is, they’re happy that someone got shot in the head because it gives their team more power.”

    and others who have made similar points.

    Wasn’t one of the Indiana prosecutors fired for suggesting someone attack Wisconsin governor Walker and claim it was a union sympathizer?

    From an article linked to by Radley:

    ““If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions’ cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions,” the email said.”

    The Giffords’ story is creepy. The Indiana prosecutor story is outrageous.

  34. #34 |  Lefty | 

    Nothing new here. Political operatives are in an ugly business.

  35. #35 |  Joe | 

    Seems it is up to Giffords to tell us what she is intending.

  36. #36 |  Jesse | 

    “We could do no better for a candidate,” said Terry Goddard, a Democrat who lost a bid for governor last year. “She’s beyond partisanship.”…

    Great, so getting shot in the head makes you beyond partisanship. In other words, she will support anything and everything that government wants to do from either side of the very blurred aisle. Great.

    They really need to find another candidate that’s been shot in the head, or experienced traumatic brain injury, to run against her. Just so they can stand there and say, “you got shot in the head Giffords, so what?”

  37. #37 |  edmund dantes | 

    I’d like to see direct quotes. Right now this is baseless “some say” speculation bullshit.

  38. #38 |  edmund dantes | 

    And a bunch of the quotes are the speak no bad of the “dead/injured” type stuff. PEople just CYAing stuff because it would be impolite to say “she’s got shot in teh head and it might be hard for her to recover cognitive abiilty” blah blah blah

  39. #39 |  perlhaqr | 

    Giffords has become an immensely more attractive Senate candidate because she got shot in the head.

    Puts her on a more even footing with the rest of them.

  40. #40 |  albatross | 

    Goober:

    The thing is, the desire for power isn’t always evil. I suspect it’s usually associated with a desire to do good things, to see things run competently, to see bad things ended, etc.

    The problem is more systemic. The more power you have, the less meaningful feedback you get about what you’re doing–you end up surrounded by a bubble of yes-men and potemkin villages and guys whose power comes from their position as your advisors/courtiers, and simultaneously, the concerns of other powerful people become the most important parts of your world, because you have to negotiate with those people to get your stuff done.

    And at each level of power you reach, you need to make more and more compromises. Someone like Bernie Sanders or Ron Paul can remain relatively pure in their ideology, because they have little power, and so they seldom are in a position where, to do the stuff they really care about doing, they have to bomb a helpless third world country or look the other way about a domestic spying scandal or fund an utterly pointless alternative energy scam.

  41. #41 |  perlhaqr | 

    Though, on a slightly more serious note, given the way the left treats Palin and O’Donnell (They aren’t women, they’re Republicans! So it’s ok when we use sexist rhetoric against them!) if Giffords does come back and, as referenced by Qwints above: To the extent she can use those experiences to inform her actions as a legislator without letting them define her, she could be a better representative for the experience. or if she decides that the issue is with crazy people, and not the tools they use, I wonder how long it will be before the left starts deriding her as “brain damaged”.

  42. #42 |  freedomfan | 

    Danny (#29), I sure hope you aren’t naive enough to think there is a substantial difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to the willingness to use dirty tricks to get elected. Candidates from both parties do it and partisans for those candidates fool themselves into thinking that, when their guy does it, it’s okay because the smear is basically true and that, when the other guy does it, it’s a sleazy lie based on an exaggeration/misunderstanding/oversimplification/etc.

    Meanwhile, best wishes to Giffords in her convalescence. But, I have to say that I would be at least somewhat impressed if any of her opponents called bullshit on this. And, frankly, if the opponents can’t do that, then they don’t have the seriousness to deal with the issues, either.

  43. #43 |  B | 

    To be fair to Goddard, I’m pretty sure the “beyond partisanship” comment refers to her record prior to being shot. She was as I recall (I moved out of the district just as she was elected) a politician who navigated Tucson’s somewhat unique political climate pretty well (i.e., pro-gun, mostly socially liberal, vaguely anti-tax, schizophrenic on immigration, and contemptuous towards Maricopa County). Keep in mind her predecessor was an openly gay Republican.

    But yeah, the presumptuous Senate campaign is seriously creepy.

  44. #44 |  pris | 

    You lost me on this one. The woman is in rehab after a gunshot wound to her head, and you all are castigating aspersions. This is filthy politics at its lowest. Can’t you wait until the woman can speak for herself? Pure, unadulterated filfth, Radley. I thought more highly of you. You have lost a fan.

  45. #45 |  Radley Balko | 

    Can’t you wait until the woman can speak for herself? Pure, unadulterated filfth, Radley. I thought more highly of you. You have lost a fan.

    I think maybe you need to read the post again.

  46. #46 |  Lucy | 

    “I of course wish Giffords the best. And if, after making a full recovery, she then wants to run for higher office, more power to her.”

    I don’t know that libertarians should ever use that particular expression…

    And seriously, yes I hope she recovers well, but do we have to actually wish her the best if she wants to run for a higher office? There’s no need to be that magnanimous…

  47. #47 |  Brandon | 

    #44: Seriously? filfth? Castigating aspersions? Can’t you write a coherent sentence? Or read one?

  48. #48 |  Miroker | 

    I see a lot of bitching and moaning about politics, etc. Why do not some of you offer up some concrete suggestions as to how we could correct the corrupt system in place now? I tend to think that some other forms of government that I will not mention would actually be good for the world, but as has been said, power corrupts and there are many examples of that in the past and the here and now.

    I would offer solution of putting names of voters in barrel and every few years following same cycle we have now, draw names and the lucky ones get to go to DC and work some magic. At least that would do away with the power of the dollar in campaigns as there would no longer be such. And if so many of those here are not happy with what we have, quit sitting on your asses bitching and moaning and get out there and do something.

  49. #49 |  A.G. Pym | 

    When the shootings happened, I figured we were in for a few days of “oh, gosh, not again” reportage.

    That was before I understood that her being a congresscritter actually brought the situation to the emotional attention of the rest of that class – hence it was “so, soooo terrible!!” and all the rest – just because she was a “public servant.” IIRR, there were a couple of large traffic accidents over that week that killed more folks at once in various parts of the country, but you didn’t see people crying in the big marble box in the swamp about -those-.

  50. #50 |  B | 

    I think it is a mistake to think that the only reason violence against politicians gets more attention is that their lives are thought to be more important.

    While politics is an ugly, depraved business, it also happens to be the way a civilized society works out conflicts among competing interests. All the lying, lobbying, campaigning, and money can be distasteful, but it beats the hell out of fighting it out in the streets.

    Political violence (or violence that may or may not be political, and in this particular case I don’t think it really was) undermines the society-wide consensus not to use violence to resolve our disputes. That is much more important than the life of any particular politician.

  51. #51 |  Jean Finet | 

    “I of course wish Giffords the best. And if, after making a full recovery, she then wants to run for higher office, more power to her.”

    Based upon what I’ve read of your writing here, how can you say “more power to her” – don’t these guys and gals – the senators, the congressmen, the prosecutors, the mayors, etc. – have far, far too much power all ready?

    It’s one thing to hope she recovers from her being shot, it’s another to hope she succeeds politically.

  52. #52 |  Lucy | 

    Society-wide consensus not to use violence to solve our disputes? Police, prisons and wars beg to differ.

  53. #53 |  Highway | 

    Miroker, either you don’t read this site and other libertarian sites, or you haven’t noticed that the primary way that libertarians want to ‘correct the corrupt system’ is to severely limit its power. It’s corrupt because there’s a lot at stake, and that attracts power seekers and money. And since, as a group (not speaking for individual libertarians, because opinions are as varied as a color chart) libertarians think most of that power that government has is unnecessary in the first place, again, the solution becomes to divest government of that power.

    Unfortunately, when the subject of “How do you reduce corruption in politics” comes up, it comes with the implicit assumption that you keep government doing everything it’s doing now, plus everything you want it to do. The solution of “reduce government power” is off the table from the get-go. So the discussion has to flit around with half-measures and freedom restraints like “Campaign finance reform”, rather than actually addressing the root cause of the corruption: because there’s power to be had.

  54. #54 |  SJE | 

    pris: you obviously didnt read the posting very carefully.

    Besides, even if Giffords were running, why should we be super duper considerate because she was shot…we are talking about a US Senator, one of the most powerful people in the world. It should be an important decision, and one that cannot be reversed for 6 years. Would you buy a car based on feeling sorry for the salesman, irrespective of the brand, price, quality, etc?

  55. #55 |  albatross | 

    Lucy:

    How that state violence gets used is, however, determined by relatively violence-free processes like elections, trials, and requests for assistance by legitimate property owners. This is very different from the situation in a country where the power to decide how the resources of the state are to be used is itself determined by violence–say, by a military coup, or a campaign of assassinations and terror, or by jailing or disappearing all the opposition to the current ruling party. There are examples of all three of those things happening in other countries, and overwhelmingly, those aren’t places we’d like the US to become more like.

    There’s plenty wrong with the system we have now, but adding in seizing control by violence and threats to the list of ways to get to power seems remarkably unlikely to make the country a better place.

  56. #56 |  albatross | 

    Miroker:

    To notice problems is not to have an obligation to fix the problem, or no doctor would ever be allowed to diagnose an incurable illness.

    However, the broad thread of libertarian political thought recognizes these problems with the way power is achieved and used, and proposes having less concentrated power, both by simply eliminating some of it (“Congress shall make no law….”) and by setting up multiple mutually-competing centers of power (courts, states, feds, private property owners, private media), so that it is more difficult for anyone to amass huge amounts of power and use it freely. You can basically go along with this thread of thought, without being a libertarian. I don’t quite fit the definition, for example, though I am deeply skeptical of concentrated power, especially in the hands of governments, and especially in executive branch parts of government (which are optimized for concentrating power in the hands of a small number of people in order to ensure that quick action can be taken at need).

  57. #57 |  Rose | 

    Don’t forget that long before all this happened, Giffords was “targeted” by her own party for not being in lockstep. That makes this all the more sickening.

  58. #58 |  Whim | 

    Ask former Senator John Ashcroft about fighting against the sympathy vote. He was the incumbent GOP Senator in 2000 in the proverbial swing state of Missouri, and was predicted to win re-election.

    His opponent Mr. McCaskill and son then decided to take-off their private plane for a campaign event in very marginal weather.

    Pilots call it “Get Home-itis”. Father and son augered in. Sympathy ensued.

    Ashcroft ended up losing to a dead man. McCaskill’s wife was appointed to fill the seat won by a dead man.

  59. #59 |  JOR | 

    albatross:

    Yes, it essentially comes down to the users and beneficiaries (or at least people who think they are beneficiaries) of state violence being horrified that someone would dare retaliate. Although this still doesn’t quite explain all the attention Gifford gets relative to the shooting victims who actually, you know, died. There really is some idea, at least among Team Red and especially Team Blue types, that politicians (at least on their side) are just more important than the rest of us.

  60. #60 |  JOR | 

    If getting shot and surviving makes one good Senate material, then surely we’d do even better to vote for dead people.

  61. #61 |  Sam | 

    Frankly, I think there’s no reason to be uneasy. I don’t think this really represents what’s wrong with politics. Rep. Giffords was a top choice for the seat due to her qualifications long before she was shot. Politicos were considering the possibility of her running years ago. She was in the past and continues to be pretty much the best chance Dems have at winning the seat, and she previously considered the possibility of running should Sen. Kyl retire.

    Sure, she’d probably win some sympathy votes, but the reason Dems are talking about her running isn’t because she got shot but because she already expressed interest, because she could actually win, and because they think she’d make a damn fine senator. It’s more insulting to her to suggest that she couldn’t run because she got shot than to consider the possibility that she still might go for it and to make plans for it.

  62. #62 |  central texas | 

    “She’ll get sympathy votes. It will be nearly impossible for an opponent to attack her, even substantively, without looking like an ass.”

    Given that is the Arizona GOP who will pick the opposing candidate, I would say that the odds are about 100:1 that he will BE an ass as well as ignorant as a pile of rocks, so I am less sympathetic to your point. Should they find someone who did not recently crawl out from under a rock spouting Tea-bagger talking points, get back to me and I’ll re-assess.

  63. #63 |  Kevin Carson | 

    Know who should run for Senate? Little Timmy, the boy who fell down the well. He’s a hero!

  64. #64 |  Whim | 

    If there are televised debates in the future AZ U.S. Senate race, any mental infirmities exhibited by the AZ Congresswoman will likely be surfaced in a demanding format like that.

    The voters deserve competent representation.

    Back in 2006, ND Senator Tim Johnson suffered bleeding in the brain caused by cerebral arteriovenous malformation. He received brain surgery, was hospitalized for 3 months, and in rehab for 3 more. He’s still not all there.

    VP and former Senator Joe Biden the college plagerizer wasn’t the brightest bulb BEFORE he suffered his massive brain aneurysm. Two actually.

    Maybe that’s why he convincingly repeats the sob story over and over that the truck driver who Biden’s wife mistakenly pulled her family car in front of “drank his lunch”.

    The truck driver was never charged with drunk driving……… Mrs. Biden just pulled in front of a truck on a busy road…..DOA. Biden milked her mistake for every tear drop and vote it was worth, and then some.

  65. #65 |  Whim | 

    Regarding Biden’s repeated sympathy ploys about a “truck driver who drank his lunch” in the 1972 crash that killed Biden’s wife and small child:

    “The rumor about alcohol being involved by either party, especially the truck driver, is incorrect,” said Jerome O. Herlihy, a Delaware Superior Court judge who was chief deputy attorney general and worked with crash investigators in 1972.

  66. #66 |  Windy | 

    Did Biden author the bill that created the ONDCP and office of drug czar before or after his aneurysms?

    Not all aneurysms cause cognitive problems, my youngest son suffered one four years ago and tho he had a minor personality change (he angers more easily but is not violent in anger), his cognitive functions are as good as ever.

    As for Giffords, she was pro-gun rights before, but so was Brady, and he’s not at all pro-gun rights now. Perhaps she won’t be, either.

  67. #67 |  Bernard | 

    The bigger worry I’d have comes further down the line.

    Want to pass hysterical gun control legislation? Who better to propose it?

    ‘How dare you cite the constitution when I’ve been shot in the head!’

  68. #68 |  Kristen | 

    Seems like the PuffHos have already started coming out of the woodwork. Looks like we have a mix of those that can’t/won’t RTFA and pragmatists who think the ends justify the means and we principled libertarians need to get our heads out of our idealist asses and live in the real world that the Ds and Rs made for us.

  69. #69 |  Zeb | 

    “As for Giffords, she was pro-gun rights before, but so was Brady, and he’s not at all pro-gun rights now. Perhaps she won’t be, either.”

    I always think that changes in views based on things like this are weird. Did the possibility that a crazy person could shoot anyone at any time never occur to them before?

  70. #70 |  Cyto | 

    #46 | Radley Balko | March 31st, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Can’t you wait until the woman can speak for herself? Pure, unadulterated filfth, Radley. I thought more highly of you. You have lost a fan.

    I think maybe you need to read the post again.

    Actually, I think it is a perfect illustration of your point… Not only is Giffords beyond reproach, or even comment, even her supporters are beyond the reach of any commentary.

  71. #71 |  Whim | 

    Polling Sympathy Vote in 5,4,3,2,1………

  72. #72 |  Gordon Clason | 

    Hey, you know, why not? Mel Carnahan of Missouri actually managed to win his senate seat in 2000 AFTER HE WAS DEAD.

  73. #73 |  Goober | 

    @#40, Albatross:

    I suspect it’s usually associated with a desire to do good things, to see things run competently, to see bad things ended, etc.

    You and I have a different definition of what is wrong and evil, then. In my opinion, any desire to use power to do that which you consider to be “good things” at the expense of others who might not see those things as “good”, is evil. For instance, some see a total ban on abortion as “doing good” and would use their powers of force and coercion granted them by their position of power to force others, who may not agree, to conform to their views. A more simple example – Obama wants high speed rail. I don’t. He has the power to force me to pay for it whether i want to or not. He sees that as a “good thing.” I call it tyranny.

    Any desire to gain the power to “run things competently” at the expense of others who may not see the things being run as necessary, right functions of government by legislative fiat denies others the ability to “run things competently” by market-based logic by their own will and their own desire. Prime example – Obamacare could be run totally competently and I would still think it to be wrong. Yet, those in power will force me, by coercion and threat of violence if I do not choose to conform, into using it whether I choose to or not.

    Any desire to gain the power “see bad things ended” at the expense of others who may not see those things as bad (gay marriage, the war on drugs, prostitution, gambling – shall I go on?) denies others the ability to continue doing these things that others see as bad but they see as totally acceptable is evil.

    Therefore, the desire to be in power equates directly with the desire to bend other people to your political will, and that equates to evil, whether your intentions are good or evil or whatever.

    The desire for power is simply the desire to use force and coercion to bend others to your will. I call that tyranny. Thank goodness that the tyranny of our elected officials is tempered somewhat by the election process, but they are still tyrants, nonetheless.

  74. #74 |  Goober | 

    @ Albatross Again:

    Someone like Bernie Sanders or Ron Paul can remain relatively pure in their ideology, because they have little power

    This is exactly my point. I’m sorry I didn’t make myself clear enough. Government power must be limited. Drastically. Much more drastically than we currently limit it today, in order to ensure that what you state does not occur!

    If only someone had written a document 200 some-odd years ago that described in detail the limited powers that a government should have, that we could use to restrict the nearly unlimited power that the current government seems to think that it yeilds… Gosh, wouldn’t life just be grand?

    Oh, and I’m sure someone will come on here to tell me that the interstate commerce clause justifies everything the govenrment is doing – it was not intended to be a blank check to government power. The word “regulating” is used in the clause, not “dictating”. Look it up.

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