June 24, 2011, - 1:54 pm
Houston, we have a problem: an Arizona Congresswoman is hanging out in Houston writing her memoir instead of doing her job. All the while, she continues to collect her tax-funded $200,000-plus in salary and generous benefits.
If Gabby Giffords Can Write Memoirs (w/Hubby & Jeff Zaslow), She Can Go Back to Work . . . or Resign
It’s unfortunate that Gabrielle Giffords was shot, but the people of Arizona’s Eighth district deserve a Congressman. Right now, they don’t have one because Gabrielle Giffords is either too incapacitated to work or too busy writing a book while they pay her salary. I’m not sure which it is, because there are news stories about both. But if she’s healthy enough to write a book–as her people and Scribner publishing house have announced she’s now doing–she’s healthy enough to work. And if she isn’t healthy enough to write a book, then her name on it is a complete lie, and she’s a fraud. And if she isn’t healthy enough to write a book–her doctors are now saying it will be a year before they know this (but author Jeff Zaslow and Scribner seem to know right now)–then she should resign and let her constituents have a capable, functioning representative in Congress.
The endless news about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ every papercut is annoying. Again, I’m sorry she got shot. But it happened. Life happens. And being shot and surviving doesn’t make you a hero. It simply means you were fortunate, a medical miracle, as six other people died–they weren’t as lucky. And now she’s resting and rehabbing with no one filling her job and no boss telling her he has to make a decision about filling her job with someone else.
And see, that’s exactly the thing. For the rest of Americans, we do not get the endless, state-of-the-art medical care she is getting. We also would not get endless time on the dole of our employer while we recover. No. Despite various laws, including the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the Family Medical Leave Act, if you were shot and incapacitated, you would eventually lose your job and be put on COBRA–pursuant to which you’d have to pay thousands–or you would be covered by insurance far less generous than what Giffords is getting. And you’d probably be hiring lawyers to fight over worker’s compensation and Social Security disability.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords needs to gracefully resign or get back to work. Yes, I know, she is physically unable to do so. But, if that’s the case, why were yesterday’s and today’s newspapers filled with news that she and her husband are writing a memoir with famed author Jeff Zaslow? If she can do that, she can get back to work. There is no reason taxpayers need to pay for her to stay home and write a book pursuant to a lucrative book deal. Does your employer pay you to stay home and write a book?
Zaslow, whom I know (he lives in the Detroit area), is the go to guy for famous people’s memoirs, since his mega-success with “The Last Lecture” (read my review), the memoir of professor Randy Pausch, who died of pancreatic cancer. He is a terrific writer and his books get huge monetary advances, and Giffords should donate her portion back to the taxpayers who continue to pay her salary while she’s in Houston writing this book with him. Members of Congress aren’t supposed to be able to benefit from outside book deals like this, so it will be interesting to see how the publisher has structured the deal to bypass Congressional prohibitions against a payout for Giffords. The deal was negotiated by high-powered lawyer Robert Barnett, who represented Sarah Palin in her book deals, wo there is a lot of money involved here, and hopefully Congressional ethics investigators are looking into it. Even the New York Times spoke out against the U.S. Senate allowing Hillary Clinton’s book deal struck when she was only a Senator-elect. (Is there really anyone on earth who cares to read about this? Sorry, Jeff Zaslow, but I have as much interest in this as I did in your middle-aged version of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants/Yaya Sisterhood.)
At some point, the Republicans who control the House and/or Arizona Governor Jan Brewer have to say, we must seat someone new who can actually do the job–someone who actually lives in Arizona, and isn’t hanging out with her astronaut hubby in Houston writing a book about how they met and their dating lives. Sadly, since she is a liberal Democrat and the object of unearned awe, and they are Republicans, they simply don’t have the balls to do this.
Again and for the third time for all you lefties and empty-headed jealous conservatives, sorry she got shot. But she did get shot and isn’t working–hasn’t worked for months.
If she is truly deserves even a modicum of the hero status with which she’s been assigned, Gabby Giffords will do the right thing, the classy thing, the decent thing, and hand in her resignation. At some point, if she gets well and can serve and function in Congress, then she can campaign for the office.
But, right now, absolutely no one is being served here. And, frankly, it’s utter gall to advertise you are home writing a book on the taxpayer dime, while millions of taxpayers are out of work looking for jobs.
Gabby Giffords, do the right thing. Resign.
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