In an article published on theloop21.com, John Wilson, a “regular contributor to Hip Hop Republican,” mused that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) should resign her seat as she recuperates from her gunshot wounds. Citing media reports about Gifford’s medical condition, Wilson compared Giffords to the late Rep. Gladys Spellman (D-MD), who went into a coma while in office. He then asked, “Should constituents allow members to hold onto their seats like political Brett Favres with no concept of when it is time to go?” FrumForum, the conservative news site managed by former Bush administration official David Frum, promoted the article on its website this afternoon.
Thankfully Rep. Giffords is on the road to recovery. However, it will be long, arduous and unpredictable. There is no doubt her constituents mourn for her and her family. But does that mean they should also go without representation in Congress? Certainly not. [...]
Stepping down from one’s office is nothing to be ashamed of. In actuality, the shame lies in not being honest with one’s own self about the responsibilities that voters have entrusted in one and the expectations they have. Constituents should expect that an official will either be appointed or a special election held within six months, not years. This current Congress should take this issue up immediately and in consultation with Giffords’ family and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer come to an appropriate remedy.
Wilson says he is calling for Gifford’s resignation in deference to her constituents who need active representation. However, it seems quite early to make that call. Giffords could be released from the hospital and enter rehab as soon as this week. Since the tragic shooting in Arizona, she only missed one substantive vote. Furthermore, Wilson never voiced a demand for resignation last year when former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) missed over one hundred votes while campaigning for governor or when former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) missed a crucial vote on unemployment extension.
Despite his “regular” contributions to HipHopRepublican, Wilson writes to Mediaite that he is a “registered Democrat.” Apparently, well after ThinkProgress posted this item, Wilson reposted his original piece later on the Huffington Post. Mediaite claimed that because Wilson’s piece appeared on the Huffington Post (Mediaite did not note the timeline of it being posted later), Wilson is not conservative. However, according to HipHopRepublican, Wilson is a registered independent. In any case, Wilson provided a full response to ThinkProgress, and stands by his original article comparing Giffords to a “political Brett Favre”:
Yes, I’ve written for conservative publications as well as many others, however I’m actually a registered Democrat. And while I certainly would not prefer one less Democrat in Congress, completely ignoring constituents who lack proper representation just isn’t an option. It’s the office of the people, not a party or individual. Frankly, if elected Democrats pursue the option of having Giffords step down, it would probably bode well in voters eyes when it comes time for a special election.
Furthermore, you’re right that I never voiced complaints about Rep. Deal (R-GA) missing votes while campaigning. That’s because almost every member of Congress misses votes while campaigning and it’s temporary while medical incapacitation is not. The Slate article I referenced buttresses my argument: Regardless of an officeholder’s party affiliation, there needs to be Congressional guidance going forward on medical incapacitation.