Thursday, December 14, 2006

Senate Control Hangs In The Balance As Johnson Clings To Life

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) is listed in critical condition this morning after undergoing surgery overnight at George Washington University Hospital. He was admitted yesterday afternoon after having stroke-like symptoms during a press briefing before he later collapsed in his office. The Democrats have a slim 51-49 majority. If Johnson is forced to give up the seat because of health or otherwise, South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican, would appoint his replacement. A 50-50 tie would allow Vice President Cheney to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Republicans favor.

It is worth noting that another former South Dakota senator, Karl Mundt, suffered a severe stroke in 1969. He remained in office until the end of his term in 1972, even though he was unable to attend sessions of Congress. Republicans, then in the minority, stripped him of his committee assignments. Because Johnson's vote is needed to give Democrats a one-seat majority, any absence from the Senate's work by him or any other Democratic senator for that matter, will make conducting business extremely difficult for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY) was recently diagnosed with leukemia after he was hospitalized for pneumonia. Wyoming's governor, David Freudenthal, is a Democrat.


Anonymous said...

Pray for his recovery. This harkens back to the days following late Gov. Frank O'Bannon's stroke and subsequent passing in 2003.

Anonymous said...

At a time like this, control of the Senate should take a back seat. We're talking about the life/death of a human being, regardless of his party affiliation. Leave it to the blood thirsty Republicans to seize the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

take a back seat?

That's insane considering that this country is at war. Today is the 14th day of the month and already 47 American servicemen & women have died in this poorly planned war.

how many more have to die before this country is prepared to make sacrifices?

I was against this war from the start but I agree with John McCain that we cannot cut and run and that another 20,000 to 30,000 more troops need to be sent in so that we can stablize that country. Otherwise an even greater war will break out between Iran and Saudia Arabia over the control of Iraq.

indyernie said...

No one wants the Senator to die. Leave it to the blood thirsty feeble minded Democrats to believe that Republicans would ever think like a Democrat and consider the seat over life or death. The Democrats express their opinion on this issue (life & death) daily, via their stance on abortion.
I wouldn't put my name on that post either if I though that way.

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard or read of a single Republican Senator or operative, publicly or off-the-record, who's said anything other than good wishes for the senator's recovery. To their credit.

However, the erstwhile Republican governor of S.D. could put all this to rest with a simple statement something like this:

"Sen. Johnson and I disagreed vehemently up to the day of his election. After that day his job became representing the people of our state, and he has done so admirably. In the unfortunate event I am called upon to act, I will not subvert the voters of this state; I would appoint a person to serve from the same party."

If Sen. Johnson cannot continue to serve for whatever reason, it is not up to one man, the governor, to change the face of an entire state's electorate in one swoop of a pen.

Let's hope he doens't get the opportunity to think about it.