Friday, January 14, 2011

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
of Arizona
We have all put our foot in our mouth, but when a person is a public figure, that foot has a lot more gravitas.  President Obama learned that when he referred to a Cambridge policeman as "stupid" for his treatment of a black man.  That gaff led to the "beer summit" at the White House.  When politicians misspeak like this, they end up feeling terrible and having to do extensive damage control.

3 Degrees
Told via gaffs and misstatements 

Third Degree: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
A week ago, the Congresswoman was in perfect health, much as she is in the video above.  Now, doctors are considering removing her breathing tube so that she can speak again after being shot in the head at a supermarket political meeting.  Representative Giffords is a moderate Democrat in the House.  She is in favor of some gun control, but she is staunchly pro Second Amendment.  Our prayers are with her, her families, and the families of the fallen.

Second Degree: Sarah Palin
Ms Palin published this crosshair map through her political action committee (PAC.)  The map "targets" members of the United States Congress.  This poster as well as the tweet, "Don't retreat, RELOAD!" is the gaff that Ms Palin will be known for for the rest of her life.  I am sure that she is very remorseful for publishing it, and I do not think that the gunman who tried to assassinate Congresswoman Giffords did so to satisfy it, but Sarah Palin knew better.

Ms Palin received tens of millions of votes in the 2000 election.  On American Idol, that kind of support would make her a celebrity.  As a Vice-Presidential candidate, that makes her a stateswoman.  The poster is not that of a stateswoman, but of an inflammatory lobbyist.

President Bill Clinton
First Degree, President Bill Clinton knew that the NRA is "in the long end game," and will never give up its fight to end all controls on firearms.  He said that the other side needs to begin a long end game too.  He said we need to do this through conversation.  Now, President Clinton has made many gaffs in his presidency, but here, he's right on point.  Gun advocates need to know the terror that people in inner cities face and the horror of being a victim of gun violence.  Progressives need to realize that hunting and firearms are intricately woven into the fabric of our culture, and that this is not only healthy, but good and right.

I believe that liberals and conservatives can agree on this point.  YOU NEVER POINT A GUN AT A HUMAN BEING UNLESS YOU INTEND TO USE IT!!!!  This poster is an abomination. It paints conservatives as gun-toting yahoos who lack common sense and judgement to such a degree, that liberals have to do the thinking for them (in the form of more laws, regulations, and oversight offices.)  That kind of thinking is what conservatives resent about liberals.  The poster lowers the national dialog by polarizing the sides and reinforcing stereotypes.

Now for President Clinton's most famous gaff.  
President Clinton and Pope John Paul II
Bonus Gaff
Congresswoman Giffords can also be connected to Pope John Paul via President Obama.  Obama met Pope Benedict XVI, a great friend of Pope John Paul II.  Here are two Obama gaffs and some commentary by Father Robert Baron.  
Calling a policeman "stupid" might be okay if you are a congressman, but NOT as leader of the free world!


  1. A lot of people (Democrats, Republicans, and None of the Above) are concerned that Muslims urging the kind of violent retaliation Palin wished on her political opponents would have been jailed before they had the opportunity to target incumbent Congress people with gun sights. In the name of equal justice, there is a petition at - which calls for the Dept of Justice to indict Palin for incitement to violence.

  2. That is an interesting point. If a Muslim organization had published a similar poster, they would have been jailed, not just indicted.