Published on August 2nd, 2011 | by tomkolovos7
Stagecraft substitutes for statecraft: Mission Accomplished II starring Gabby Giffords
Using Gabby Giffords to diffuse the debt ceiling vote was a carefully plotted cynical distraction, the sort of 11th hour plot twist that comes along during an improbable summer blockbuster about a home grown domestic terrorist attack playing at your local multiplex.
It was the first time she had set foot in the chamber since attempted assassin Jared Lee Loughner shot her in the head in January. The tragedy of her shooting had caused a moment of introspection for a nation caught up in political barb-trading. And as she reentered her place of work, the space experienced a release of bitterness. A Congress known for its petulance and ponderousness was suddenly warm and welcoming.
The sound of clapping (and hooting and hollering) overwhelmed the usual muffled buzz of legislating. Gifford’s tearful colleagues formed lines to give her hugs and kisses and welcomes. Giffords cast her vote to raise the debt ceiling to shouts of “One more! One more!” She was part of the majority that passed the legislation. But the significance of the vote was lost in the momentousness of her return.
No, Katy, the momentousness of her return was precisely timed–and spun incessantly today– to to distract us from the significance of the vote, because the vote itself was the missed momentousness. Reducing government spending during a recession is a formula for disaster (and economic terrorism by the Tea Party). And there was nothing in all of this debacle about the most serious issues facing the economy: jobs and housing.
This all reeks of “Mission Accomplished” of May 1, 2003. Though this time there was no mere one dimensional banner behind a white President.
No, now we like out movies in 3D, so who better than Gabby Giffords, the surviving poster child victim of political violence and incivility, to show up in the flesh for a cameo appearance meant to distract us–and keep us distracted (oh, look, she’s alive!)– from the continued economic terrorism and incivility?
A few members tried to return to regular business, thanking summer pages for their service. But the room wasn’t ready to move on. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi eventually came to the microphone. There is no name that engenders more respect and admiration, she said, no one we’d rather see our daughters grow to emulate, than Gabrielle Giffords. “Her presence here,” Pelosi said, “brings honor to the chamber.”
Perhaps. But since Gabby Giffords had to squander her hard earned political and social goodwill at a moment like this, there is hardly any honor to speak of–anywhere–let alone praise.
Let the record show that the sequel to “Mission Accomplished II in 3D” opened August 1, 2011.
Typical shoddy summer blockbuster plot with great special effects, though the villains here are shamelessly lifted from the same ideological bent as the villain of the recent Norwegian tragedy.
RATED R for suggestive and offensive imagery.
Tom Kolovos is Editor in Chief of aConrtolledSubstance.com