Thursday, August 17, 2006

Is Gabby Giffords really Snow White?

The Arizona political blogosphere is still in its infancy, and I must admit that my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle have quite the advantage so far on us Republicans, which means that sometimes we have to wade over into their internal discussions, which I am fine with.

But there is something that really has made me wonder. It appears that there is a great cross section of bloggers who have a politician confused with a Disney Princess. Here are the facts:

1. Gabby's "Darkness" ad stretched the truth quite a bit. She knew it when she ran the ad, calculated that no one would challenge it, and lost. I do not think that makes her an evil person, just a politician. You can bring up legislators that "were there as it happened" that rushed to her defense, but we all know that her Legislative peers weren't going to shove her under the bus, especially as she has a pretty decent chance of winning. I especially enjoyed the conspiracy theories that a "Republican" reporter had set out to destroy Gabby. A likelier story is that the only reason that the story was allowed to run was because the larger paper was going to endorse Gabby, and they wanted to show that that they could be tough on "their" candidate as well.

Now the whole idea of newspapers endorsing candidates should be a scandal all in itself, especially this far out. Shouldn't they have to preface any story concerning Gabby or any of the other candidates with "In the interest of full disclosure, we would prefer that Ms. Giffords win the election?"

However, the fact remains that she stretched the truth, dug in her heels when called on it, and waited for other people to help bail her out. It really wasn't her finest moment.

2. The "Push polling" scandal that is all the rage now is not being done by Republicans. The only person with the money to do it would be Steve Huffman, and he is busy push polling and outright negative advertising about Randy Graf. Equally silly is the assertion that it is being done by Patty Weiss herself. I mean, really, if you are seriously thinking that this is what is going on, you need to step away from the Oliver Stone movies (I mean the earlier stuff not his latest ;))

Here's the deal, this is probably not being done by Gabby directly, but either she, or her people know who is behind it, and knew beforehand. She may even come out and denounce it, but not before the calls are actually made. Again, we need to reference the fact that this is the moment that could make Gabby's entire life. To believe that she will not do everything possible to attain it is just not realistic. Those that continue to assert her prom queen innocence do her a great disservice, by the way.

To show that I am equal opportunity, however, I believe the reason that Patty has not said much about it is that she intends to engage in a little push polling of her own.

3. Gabby has raised over $800,000. To believe that all of this money poured in with no strings attached is also silly. When Gabby was in Washington (what is an Arizona legislator doing in D.C. anyway, especially while is session) she was attending meetings with just the type of people that are now donating to her campaign. Her state career was just a step in her national ambitions, which led to her vanilla voting record where she stayed clear of controversy. This is also why she never used clean election funds. Even if she has definite ideas about being her own person, she has taken money from those who think otherwise. This is not even debatable.

All that said, this does not disqualify Gabby from running. Indeed most of the candidates running for office all over the country are just as guilty. The other candidates, more often than not, lose spectacularly. This doesn't mean I will vote for Gabby, but I can understand where she is at. If you feel that she is indeed some virginal vessel of purity that will cleanse Congress by her very presence, you need to be reading Teen Beat instead of political blogs. Francine is actually closer to that type of person (and I will not be voting for her either).

What you need from your candidate is an action item list of realistic issues that they can accomplish on your behalf that the other candidates cannot. If they speak of solving all the World's ills, beware. If you feel that Gabby has those, you would do far better pointing them out than concocting conspiracy theories and excuses about things which Gabby herself wouldn't ask you to defend. Better to be more of an advocate than a fan.


AZYouLikeIt said...

Patty's campaign just sent out a press release announcing a press conference about the push polling. That should put to rest the conspiracy theories.

Gabby's invited too, of course... should she choose to denounce something that benefits her, but she has nothing to do with.

I'm still curious who's behind the poll. I'll give Gabby's campaign the benefit of the doubt, but the fact that it's the same firm that worked for Lieberman makes it look less like a Republican attack and more like a shadowy Gabby-backer with money to burn.

x4mr said...


Thanks for the intelligent, thought provoking post. It points to some interesting concepts. The Snow White distinction is a worthwhile insight on your part, and I would say that more than the other candidates Giffords appears to have a set of "devotees" that has developed over time. At Grijalva’s big "Federal Issues" luncheon I heard an executive refer to himself as a "big fan of Gabby’s."

These fans, and your use of the word fan is completely appropriate, support her as a person, not just a candidate, and I do think a certain “Snow White” pedestal may be in place for some. I’m not clear this is problematic because in the mix there are plenty of clear headed advocates who support her for sound political reasons and a rational belief that she is the best candidate to send to Washington.

Should "practical political necessity" force maneuvers unbecoming of a Snow White, and for simplicity let’s assume we all see them, will the "fans" simply twist their interpretations to maintain the Snow White picture? Some will. Others will shrug, “Yep, that’s what it takes.”

What has happened on these blogs that may have led to your post and could be a concern, is that the Snow White standard exaggerates the slightest "mark" and could work against her. The fuss about the "blocked" ad points to this idea. Remember the Jesse Helms ad showing the white hands crumbling up the rejection letter? In the context of political campaign advertising, the Giffords ad was utterly tame, but a Star reporter over-reacted and some bloggers just about came unglued. Did bloggers who rose to her defense "over defend" and throw some wild shots of their own? Probably, but I would note the blogosphere and its volatility do not represent the real world, and the folks in the coffee shops and cigar bars have far more inertia.

An intelligent voter certainly has to look beyond the candidates positions and consider their ability to actually get stuff done. In the end, we’re voting for a human being that is going to have wrangle and wrestle with incredibly sloppy conversations.

If we have any sense, we want to elect someone who is smart as hell, has good intentions for what is best for most of us, and wants to work hard and serve others. It’s unfortunate our system has made it so possible to elect lazy idiots eager to serve themselves and their closest friends.

x4mr said...

Well, framer, whether Gabby is Snow White or not seems rather academic at the moment.

Surprised our seething bloggers haven't descended here yet. They're probably too busy.

Those behind the push pull that is indeed all the rage have been identified.


To the tune of $400,000.

I personally think Rove is shooting the wrong gal, but what do I know? He's the slime master.

This news could go national.

Art Jacobson said...


You raise a really interesting question, which I have raised in this morning's Data Port: Should newspapers endorse candidates. Does such an endorsement breach, as you suggest, the Chinese Wall between editorial and news.

We might all take a breather from partisan waspishness to chew on this topic for a while.