.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Senator Johnson Update: Surgery, In Critical Condition

Keep those prayers coming because things took a turn for the worse last night. From CNN:

With Democrat's grasp of the Senate relying on the thinnest of margins, ultimate control of the chamber hung on the health of a South Dakota senator who underwent brain surgery Thursday morning.

Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat, was in critical condition, said David Boyd, a nursing supervisor at a George Washington University Hospital.

Should Johnson not be able to complete his term, which ends in 2008, South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican, would appoint his replacement, which could shift the balance of power in the Senate.

Democrats gained a 51-49 Senate majority after last month's election. A GOP appointee would result in a 50-50 split and allow the GOP to retain Senate control through Vice President Dick Cheney's tie-breaking vote.

Johnson, 59, was out of surgery at 12:30 a.m. Thursday, a source close to the senator told CNN. He was hospitalized Wednesday morning after he appeared to suffer stroke-like symptoms.

Adm. John Eisold, attending physician of the U.S. Capitol, told CNN that Johnson had "an intracerebral bleed caused by a congenital arteriovenous malformation. He underwent successful surgery to evacuate the blood and stabilize the malformation."

"It is premature to determine whether further surgery will be required or to assess any long term prognosis," Eisold said.

We know there are political implications in this, but I do not like the fact that CNN decides to put all of that before telling readers what the man's condition was, and what it was that caused him this hospital visit. I would think that the update to his condition would be more important, but I guess it is not to CNN.

But Allah @ Hot-Air is quite correct. Inevitably, it does come down to the politics:

The two-term senator's illness -- which sent Senate Democratic leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) rushing to the hospital to check on Johnson -- underscored the fragility of Democrats' hold on the next Senate, which they won by the narrowest of margins in the Nov. 7 elections. Should Johnson be unable to complete his term, South Dakota's Republican governor, Michael Rounds, would name a replacement for the next two years.
With Johnson in office, Democrats would hold a 51-to-49 edge in the Senate that convenes Jan. 4 as part of the 110th Congress. (The two independents have said they will caucus with the Democrats.) But if he is to leave office before then and Rounds replaces him with a Republican, the GOP would control the chamber.

In a 50-50 Senate, Vice President Cheney could break tie votes in the GOP's favor. But a Senate that becomes evenly split after it is in session would not necessarily fall to Republicans, Senate historians said. Rules and precedents could leave a party in charge of the chamber even after its membership falls below that of the other party. ...

...In order to adopt new rules organizing the Senate, the two parties must reach nearly unanimous agreement. Democrats in 2001 blocked the naming of committee chairmen and members, demanding concessions before agreeing to the rules. Among those concessions: Should the numerical advantage change, all committee assignments and chairmanships would be nullified, and a new organization would have to be submitted…

Senate Republican sources said yesterday that their party is likely to press for similar concessions when negotiating the operating rules for the next Congress. But even if Johnson were incapacitated, Democratic aides say, they would resist.

Now, here is the rub of this. January will come around, and Senator Johnson will not be there. That is when the rules are voted on, and chairmanships are handed out. It will end up being a 50-49 split (Lieberman caucuses with the Democrats), and that means the Democrats are going to get their rules pushed through no matter what.

Governor Rounds is being tight-lipped about who he will choose to replace Sen. Johnson. The recovery time from this is months, not days and weeks. And it ultimately falls to Gov. Rounds to make that determination. Howard Kurtz is spot on in saying that it is time to get rid of that rule though. And as Allah points out, that rule about governors replacing senators is a throwback to the days when state legislatures chose the state's senators.

Now that senators are directly elected by the people, the rule does need to be changed. Sen. Johnson's replacement should be chosen by the people, and not the governor. And I know a few conservatives just fell out of their chairs over that statement. Do not get me wrong. I appreciate the fact that this will likely end up in our favor, tipping the balance of power to an even 50-50 split, but in the end the people get shafted. They elected Sen. Johnson, not the governor, and it should no longer be the job of the governor to make the determination of who will replace a missing senator.



Post a Comment

<< Home

weight loss product