The XX Factor

Stop Talking About Gabrielle Giffords Running for Senate

ABC News just put a clip up with the headline ” Will Gabrielle Giffords Run for Senate? ” The clip is about four minutes long, and it’s an interview with Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, mostly about whether he thinks that the government will actually shut down. At the end of the clip, the correspondent asks Grijalva if Giffords will run, and he says, “If she is strong enough and I think her family and her physicians will tell her that, I think she’d make a great candidate.” That’s a perfectly sensible response to a question that was reasonable to ask, as Grijalva is a colleague. However, the fact that ABC News used it as a clicky teaser gives me the creeps, and reminds me how many people are already trying to capitalize on Giffords’ heroism (if you want to get meta about it, maybe even my writing this post is playing into it!).

Despite the fact that Giffords is just beginning to walk and speak again after she was shot earlier this year, the speculation about her Senate run is intense. A week ago the New York Times reported :

[S]ome 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.

I agree with Grijalva-she’d make a great candidate if she regains her mental faculties, and that’s still a big if. But trying to package her bravery as a campaign talking point before the woman is out of the hospital is so crass and cynical it belongs in a political satire, not in the New York Times .

Photograph by Scott Ferrell for Getty Images.