Friday, December 15, 2006

Get Well Soon, Senator! (I mean, really)

I, for one, am not troubled by the spectacle of discussion about the dramatic change in the political landscape that might result from the death of a single politician, rather than mere concern for his well-being.

This is one of the things that journalists get a bad rap for, unfairly: the most newsworthy thing about the condition of Tim Johnson, the relatively-obscure South Dakota senator upon whom surgery was conducted to stop bleeding on his brain, is that if he must be replaced the power in the Senate could revert to Republicans despite the hard-fought and dramatic mid-terms elections which gave Democrats a one-seat majority.

One of the interesting questions is what muse South Dakota's Republican governor, Mike Rounds, would heed should it be necessary that he select a successor:
  • Would he see the wisdom in replacing one elected Democrat with another?
  • Would he support the spirit of the mid-term by not taking this opportunity to undo the impact of the election?
  • Would he do what any partisan is permitted, by making the most of an opportunity?
It's bad enough that the Democratic majority in the next Congress depends on the contentment of Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who has good reason to consider the Democrats fair-weather friends. Now we have to worry about those couple of dozen states that have Republican governors and more than a dozen Democratic U.S. Senators among them.

Perhaps the last word of reason will be provided by Trent Lott, who knows a lot about saying the wrong thing:

On the state of the Senate, some have taken the high road, complaining that talking about politics at this time remains rather ghoulish. (Senator Trent Lott, the incoming minority whip, said that while he’d like to have Republicans in the majority, he would not want it this way.)

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