Thursday, December 14, 2006

Get well, Senator Johnson

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I haven't commented yet on the situation involving Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, but I think it's a bit premature, as well as distasteful, to discuss what might happen if for whatever reason he is unable to remain in the Senate. (Yes, yes, the Republican governor of South Dakota, Mike Rounds, could appoint a Republican to replace him, and then the Senate would be 50-50, and, with Cheney's tie-breaking vote, the Republicans would retain control. But, please, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Our focus should be on Senator Johnson's health.)

According to the Post, Johnson is "in stable condition... after emergency brain surgery, prompting optimism among family and friends and at least temporarily stanching speculation that the Democrats' narrow control of the next Senate might be in jeopardy".

See, it's all about the politics. Why? It's great news -- right now, more important news -- that he's in stable condition, and our thoughts should be with him and his family during this very difficult time. I understand that control of the Senate is important, and I myself hope the Democrats hold on to the majority they won in last month's midterms, but, again, this focus on what ifs, which started pretty much right when the news broke, rather repugnant. At least the politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, haven't succumbed to this media-driven obsession with winners and losers. Or at least they're saying all the right things in public. Trent Lott: "My expectation and hope is that Tim will recover fully and come back and we'll go to work. You know, I'd like to be in the majority, but I don't want to do it that way." Well put.

Here are the two paragraphs in the Post article that actually pertain to Johnson's health:

Johnson, 59, was rushed from his Senate office to George Washington University Hospital on Wednesday, suffering from bleeding in the brain caused by a congenital tangle of blood vessels, the U.S. Capitol physician said yesterday.

"He underwent successful surgery to evacuate the blood and stabilize the malformation," said the physician, Adm. John Eisold. He later said that Johnson "has continued to have an uncomplicated post-operative course. Specifically, he has been appropriately responsive to both word and touch. No further surgical intervention has been required."

Our thoughts are with him. Get well, Senator Johnson.

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