When I heard the news that Gabrielle Giffords was one of the nineteen Democrats that didn’t vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker, I put a call in to Giffords spokesman C. J. Karamargin for some sort of response. He e-mailed it to me, and it is printed below.
This happens fairly often in the Democratic caucus, and I’ve never understood the reason for it. Is there a guy in Hereford who will be casting a vote in 2012 that says, “You know, I was going to vote for Frank Antenori, but hell, she voted against Pelosi!” I don’t quite get it, but what do I know, right?
Anyhow, the bulk of the breakaways voted for Heath Schuler, but Giffords took a different tack. She voted for civil rights hero and long time Georgia representative John Lewis. Lewis’s fellow Georgian John Barrow voted for him as well.
Congresswoman Giffords today cast a ceremonial vote in the process of confirming Rep. John Boehner as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The congresswoman’s vote for Rep. John Lewis signaled her desire for courageous leadership and high moral standards at a critical time in our nation’s history. He is one of our nation’s most prominent civil rights leaders and a hero to all Americans.
John Lewis spent a lifetime standing up for the enduring values that sets our nation apart from all others. He is widely admired by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both houses of Congress. Sen. John McCain, put it well in his 2004 book, “Why Courage Matters: the Way to a Braver Life.” Sen. McCain wrote that “John Lewis was as courageous as anyone could ever hope to be.”
In words and deeds, John Lewis should be a clear and bright guiding light for every member of Congress and every American. His integrity and civility is an example for us all.
CORRECTION: I got the count wrong in my original piece. The number of Democratic defectors has been changed to reflect this.