Above the fold on the front page of this morning's New York Times, a headline reads 'For Giffords, House Shows It can Unite.' That makes a good headline, but it's misleading. The headline speaks only to a momentary halt of intransigence on the part of Tea Party Republicans. Apparently, House members were moved by Gabby's return and decided to put aside partisan spectacle (as the NYT calls it) to vote yes for an imperfect bill that may avert the government's default on its debts.
I surmise that within days, House Republicans will be suiting up for the next horrific battle to make our government ever less effective. I doubt that the Republicans now in Congress will ever give up riling against the administration in 24/7 campaign mode. They appear little inclined toward advancing the common good and they are just terrific bullies. Looks to me as if none of them are giving a thought to job creation, infrastructure projects, education and research. Nope. The government should simply be doing less. Period.
But back to Congresswoman Giffords. Giffords has made an astonishing recovery since she was shot in the head last January in Tucson. Hers is a story of personal tenacity, courage and bravery. That she could walk on to the House floor to vote on this debt ceiling bill is remarkable.
The Times writes "...the weeks-long bitterly partisan spectacle that has engulfed the nation seemed to melt quietly away, and a vital blink of hope that ideological intransigence - something Ms. Giffords had little patience for as a lawmaker - seemed to save the day in a Capital that seemed to be careering toward dysfunction."
However, if we look beyond Ms. Giffords' appearance in the House, her vote for the bill and her ability to capture the hearts and minds of her fellow House members, there is a bigger picture. that makes The New York Times headline and that quote above way off.
This country's House of Representatives is NOT united. And they are already dysfunctional. Any bipartisan efforts are in tatters. There is little governing going on and hardly a compromise for the greater good.
So, yes, for a few minutes, Giffords' presence may have made a difference on the final outcome of this vote and, for a few moments, it certainly changed the House's emotional terrain. But moving forward? Business as usual.