Giessel Loses It
by Thomas Dewar
…on television. Making this fact even more stunning is that she herself paid for the air time. Oh yes, gentle reader, in Cathy Giessel’s latest bizarre ad, she gives you a stern talking to. Because who doesn’t enjoy being yelled at by the politicians we employ?
Even under the best of circumstances the senator’s demeanor is one of barely contained rage and contempt, and a race she feels slipping away is far from the best of circumstances. Even her own, high-profile supporters have publicly noted that the race is surprisingly close. In order to cope with the momentum, money and endorsements having flowed to her upstart opponent, she simply assumes her constituents to be absolute morons. Witness, for example, the recent community forum hosted by the Seward Chamber of Commerce.
Cathy Giessel began her presentation to the good people of Seward by showing them a map and explaining where exactly they’re located in relationship to Anchorage, and then slowly explaining which towns lay between points A and B. It was cringe-inducing to see people who’ve lived here all their lives, who are more than familiar with which towns they pass on the Seward Highway, thus patronized by one who spoke to them as if they were toddlers in potty training.
So here now we have Giessel on TV, sporting a palpable desire to lunge through the screen and throttle you, spitting contempt at those who veer off script and dare hold her accountable for positions she’s taken on the issues of the day.
Her voice rising and unsteady, printed materials are indignantly slapped upon the table. You’re in the dog house, dear viewer, and the Senator knows what you did this summer. You’ve been informing yourself about actual issues again without permission, haven’t you?!
As one whose social views were more prevalent in the 18th Century, you see, she’s apparently also more comfortable with the technology of that era. Giessel really resents that a digital camera was present at one of her Tea Party shindigs and had the audacity to record her own views, only to broadcast ‘em on those newfangled interwebs! That meant that more moderate Republicans and independent voters throughout the newly drawn District N would know she favors “the complete privatization of Alaska’s school system.”
Man that makes her mad, as one who enthusiastically confuses things that are, with things she wishes were. She cannot simply by sheer force of will and rage wish away that which has occurred.
Since she’s totally busted, and the evidence favors Devon, she has now taken to yelling at you. And shouting “Obama!” real loud while pointing a finger toward Ron Devon. I asked Devon about this whole guilt-by-Obama association, and he said that, as Giessel put it, “a member of his household” did indeed contribute to the President’s ’08 campaign.
“I’ve got family members all across the political spectrum, some are far right, some are liberal, and I love them and wouldn’t disown any of them because their politics differ from mine. I guess I just gave my opponent more credit than that, and don’t think we should go after each other’s families. I have more respect for the voters than that, and have kept my criticisms of her based on issues like education and the PFD.”
And what of Giessel’s accusation that he’s an Obama tool? Devon laughs.
“The only time I’ve ever been affiliated with a party, it was the Republican Party —back when it was represented by folks like Eisenhower and Jay Hammond and Uncle Ted, not extremists like Cathy Giessel. Her last-minute claim that I’m a big Democrat Obama supporter is quite simply a lie. I’m proud to have broad bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats alike—something she has demonstrated she does not.”
Once again, the evidence—sent out by Giessel herself—favors Devon. For her most recent direct mail piece, Ms. Giessel could not even find a single one of her own Republican Senate colleagues to pose with her. As if it’s some sort of indication of her ability to work cooperatively for the greater good, Giessel poses between state Reps Mike Hawker (R) and Mike Chenault (R). The emblazoned text, “working together” adds more overt comedy, and the grand finish is her posting it to Facebook with the introductory “continue to work with colleagues from both parties” bit. As she poses with colleagues from one party. Make that, “one wing of one party.”
I’ve witnessed some pretty ridiculous characters in political life, from both sides of the aisle, but honestly nothing as completely absurd as Cathy Giessel. It is a matter beyond party affiliation or political ideology when one confronts a person who is quite delusional and disconnected from reality. I don’t think the trembling rage in her new TV ad is an act. I actually credit the Senator with feeling those things sincerely, but that means she has convinced herself of an alternate reality wherein she didn’t really take the positions she has taken.
If you’re a politician who appears in a friendly (Tea Party) forum, being asked a question by a friendly moderator (Dave Stieren, not exactly a left-wing megaphone), who even repeats for emphasis the word “complete” in the question “do you favor the complete privatization of Alaska’s school system?” and yours is the first affirmative paddle immediately flying up into the air, and you even look up to ensure it’s the right color, then you taking such a position is not—it is not, ma’am—the same thing as “lies” from an opponent, or “sound bites.”
It’s just you being busted by the teacher:
There are two stark differences between Ron Devon’s criticisms of Giessel and the latter’s attacks on Devon:
1) Issue-based (such as education or the PFD) vs. personal (ie, attacking someone’s family).
2) Unfounded, speculative rumor-mongering (“you secretly love Obama!”) vs. that which can be proven.
These distinctions—things like facts and evidence—apparently still matter to Alaskan voters, as the race has become dead even within a few months, and Devon has received endorsements from the ADN to the Seward paper to our cops and fire fighters. This shift in momentum and a gap that has disappeared may be what is driving Giessel to tantrums these days. Although my personal bet is on this mailer from Alaska’s law enforcement community. It’s tough to diss our cops and other first responders as unthinking knee-jerk liberals when they’re giving such love to Mike Hawker, isn’t it?