Conclusive Proof that God is a Republican?
Well, it's been a while since I blogged about politics. Gotta say, it felt good. But this? Wow...
The Democrats' hope of controlling both houses of Congress suddenly got thrown into question this morning when South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson sufferred an intracerebral bleed caused by a congenital arteriovenous malformation and required emergency brain surgery.
For some reason, when these things happen, politicians feel the need to say obvious and/or stupid things:
For the "stupid" side, we turn to Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who rushed to Johnson's bedside upon hearing the news. Senator Reid told the press that "There isn't a thing that's changed. He looked great." Except for the fact that he's unconscious, has his head wrapped in bandages, and is listed in critical condition, I guess. Remind me not to call Senator Reid for my next physical.
On the "obvious" side, we have soon-to-be Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who responded to a question about the political ramifications of Johnson's illness with "That is a hypothetical that I really don't want to address." I would think not, Madame Speaker.
Also, there was Laura Bush, who gave the perfunctory "our hopes and prayers are with him" speech on CBS's "The Early Show." I have not read of a quote directly from the President, but I assume he has said almost (if not exactly) the same thing.
Allow me to extend Mrs. Bush's "hopes and prayers" message, if I may:
-- I hope and pray that the senator has a full recovery. Full stop.
-- If he doesn't fully recover, I hope and pray he's able to continue in the Senate. The backlash against Dick Cheney (who would have the tie-breaking vote in a 50-50 Senate should South Dakota's Republican governor nominate a Republican to replace Johnson), would be akin to the cries of "election stealing" that came after the 2000 election. If the mess back then contributed to us taking our eye off the Al Qaeda ball, even for a second, you'd think it would've taught us about the downside of distracting our leaders with this kind of nonsense. I'm not optimistic, though...
-- If he's not able to serve, I hope he resigns. Back in 1969, another South Dakota senator, Karl Mundit (a Republican), sufferred a stroke while in office. He offered to resign on the condition that South Dakota's governor appoint Mundt's wife to fill the vacancy, but the governor refused. So he served the rest of his term (four more years), even though he was unable to cast a vote. Keeping a vegetable in office just to maintain control of the Senate would create a similar kind of backlash to the one described above, and we're better off without it.
-- Finally, I hope that no one accuses Karl Rove of secretly poisoning, or otherwise harming, Senator Johnson. I know this sounds crazy, but remember - there are still people walking around on the planet today who think that Bill Clinton personally shot Vince Foster in the head. I'd just as soon not have to listen to it...
posted by Brian at 1:29 PM