by Bruce S. Thornton // Defining Ideas
Gabby Giffords, the former Democratic Congressman from Arizona who was shot in the head at a campaign rally in 2010, has come under fire recently for exploiting her horrific experience for political gain. Using her celebrity as a famous victim of gun violence, Giffords has created a Super PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions, focused on gun control legislation. Her group has produced political ads for Democratic candidates that feature other victims of gun violence, and that suggest the candidate’s opponent supports policies that contribute to such violence.
Even supporters of Giffords’ own party are uncomfortable with this electoral tactic. At Politico, Alex Isenstadt wrote recently that Giffords “has unleashed some of the nastiest ads of the campaign season, going after GOP candidates in Arizona and New Hampshire with attacks even some longtime supporters say go too far. And Republicans on the receiving end are largely helpless to hit back, knowing a fight with the much-admired survivor is not one they’re likely to win.”