Representative Gabrielle Giffords is still in the hospital, but some 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.
These supporters say they do not want to get too far ahead of themselves, and make clear that Ms. Giffords, who was shot in the head, is still relearning basic tasks and might emerge from the hospital with neither the same political abilities nor aspirations that she had before. And publicly, her closest aides say the only thing they care about is her health.
Despite such protestations, several of Ms. Giffords’s longtime aides are whispering behind the scenes that she just might recover in time to run for the seat that Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican, is vacating next year.
While it might be wishful thinking, Ms. Giffords’s noncampaign is already having a major effect on Arizona politics; other prospective Democratic candidates say they feel compelled not to jump in unless she bows out, allowing Republicans to get a head start organizing their campaigns.
Ever so quietly, Ms. Giffords’s political allies are laying the groundwork just in case. Friends and allies held a fund-raiser for her on March 15 in Washington — trying to supplement her Congressional campaign war chest, which totaled about $285,000 at year’s end and could be tapped for a Senate bid. Her former campaign manager, Rodd McLeod, has been brought on staff, to fill in for an aide who is also recovering from the Jan. 8 shooting that left 6 people dead and 13 injured.
We all wish Rep. Giffords a speedy and complete recovery. But who openly daydreams about future political ads depicting "images of her wounded"? That strikes me as downright unseemly -- even by modern political standards.