About 30 people, including Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, greeted her and Kelly with a standing ovation as they entered the Secretary of War suite at the Eisenhower Executive Building next to the White House. Giffords walked slowly and with a noticeable limp, but she looked overjoyed to see some of her fellow lawmakers again.That's fine and good, and wonderful (of course) that she's recovered physically after such a tramatic injury, and has such presence and dexterity. But....
Vice President Joe Biden emceed the ceremony, which included awarding Kelly two of the military's highest awards. Biden had a little trouble pinning the Legion of Merit on Kelly and blamed it on the dim lighting, but Giffords stepped up and had no trouble whatsoever pinning the Distinguished Flying Cross on her husband.
"Gabby did it better than I did," Biden said as the audience laughed and applauded.
Biden made note of Giffords appearance and her near-constant smile.
"You've been an inspiration, an inspiration to thousands of people who suffer from traumatic head injuries," Biden said. "... People look at you and say, `I can make it. I can do this.'"
As the ceremony ended, reporters were quickly escorted from the room so there was no chance to ask Giffords questions or for her to make any statements. She did not have extended conversations with colleagues at the beginning of the reception, but she turned to them and waved or blew them kisses when they were introduced.Is she on record as having said anything in her two post-shooting visits to Washington? If so I haven't seen it. Meanwhile the Pelosis and Bidens seem to be going out of their way to gush over her recovery and physical capabilities, while her staff seems to go out of their way to ensure that no one hears her speak.
I'm not saying a Congressman with a verbal defect can't be effective, and ultimately, of course, it's up to her constituents to decide her political future. But with questions about her verbal abilities inevitably come questions about her reasoning and critical thinking skills. And if there's an issue there, covering them up just because Democrats don't want to risk losing her seat would be egregious.
Brain injuries like hers take years to recover from, if one recovers at all. And purely physical abilities can return quickly. My father has a stroke when I was in college, and he was never the same after. He recovered most of his physical abilities in a few months (though there were, naturally, some problems with weakness that never returned), but his cognitive and verbal skills were permanently diminished, especially the latter. He still has dysphasia, and never returned to work after his stroke. So I am especially curious about Giffords, and equally curious why no reporters near here are writing about this.