Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Johnson watch

It is quite unfortunate that both the press and certain Republican bloggers seem to be taking a measure of delight in the unfortunate situation surrounding the health of Senator Tim Johnson. While I agree with A.C. Kleinheider that the Governor has the right to appoint a Republican and should play the game accordingly, no reputable person of either Party should take delight if this is how the GOP comes by a majority.

There ought to be no enjoyment in this for the Republicans. Granted, they will more than likely have the majority should Johnson die or if he should feel the need to step aside because of an incapacity. It is also true that having the majority in the Senate while Democrats control the House will likely be a political help to the Republicans in 2008, not a hindrance. There are occasions, however, when the weight of history is more important than the short-term political implications. History will Remember that the Republicans got their majority because of one Senator's misfortune, not because of an election. That does not mean I believe, as
some do, that South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds should just appoint a Democrat if Johnson can't serve, and that if he doesn't he is a part of the male anatomy [WARNING-hateful liberal-link contains objectionable language].

Rounds has the right and the duty to appoint someone to fill Johnson's seat in case of a vacancy for any reason. We lose sight of the reality that were Johnson a Republican and Rounds a Democrat, we would not be hearing Democrats question Rounds' right to appoint a Democrat-and knowing what I know about Republican politics, I can say with a near-certainty that those Republicans who would crow for a Republican appointment in such a situation wouldn't be crowing very loudly and would likely be told privately to put a cork in it. If Johnson can't continue and a Republican replaces him, that's the game. Republicans would just need to remember how they got to this point and not act as though they have a mandate that they would not have.

As for me, I'm praying for Tim Johnson's full recovery-because that is what all Americans should be doing.



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