Sunday, January 22, 2012

At Last: Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Resigns From Congress

It was certainly tragic when Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was grievously wounded after being shot while meeting constituents outside a supermarket in Tucson, Ariz. The horrible shooting on Jan. 8, 2011, left six people dead and 12 others wounded.

Giffords should be congratulated for her service to her state and country for representation as a strong Democrat since 2007, where she voted in favor of embryonic stem-cell research, raising the minimum wage, the repeal of $14 billion of subsidies to big oil companies—and perhaps the coolest, advocating a national day of recognition for cowboys.

But it’s clear that being shot through the left side of her brain left the official debilitated with classic aphasia: virtually unable to speak, read, write, smile or sadly, to walk. She requires the assistance of a 24-hour home health provider, in addition to full-time care from her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.

In my book, that makes Giffords unfit for public office. Yes, I admire her efforts to rehabilitate, but she was overdue to step aside and let the state—and nation—get back to its daily duties. Every Democrat needs to be on their toes, particularly as the threat of a Republican victory this fall looms ever near.

Over the weekend, Giffords announced, "I have more work to do on my recovery and so to do what is best for Arizona I will step down this week." She's correct. Now Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer can call a special election to fill out the remainder of Giffords' term (in John McCain's heavily Republican state), which ends in 2012. Recognizing it was time to resign is perhaps her most heroic deed. *