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Sen. Tim Johnson Out Of Surgery

UPDATE: Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) underwent emergency brain surgery last night and was in in critical condition this morning.

Johnson, 59, was taken to George Washington University Hospital Wednesday afternoon after feeling ill yesterday morning, according to a statement from his office. His office initially said the senator had suffered a "possible stroke" but later said he had not -- a determination made after Johnson underwent a "comprehensive evaluation by the stroke team."

Should Johnson be unable to serve when the 110th Congress convenes in January, it could mean a 50-50 split in the Senate. Gov. Mike Rounds (R) would be tasked with appointing a successor to Johnson -- presumably a Republican. That could effectively put the Senate, which is slated to switch to Democratic control in January, in Republican hands because Vice President Cheney would cast the tie-breaking vote.

We will have more on this story as information becomes available.

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  December 14, 2006; 8:22 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

"Scott Laughrey" is a sock puppet and an agent provocateur pretending to be a progressive. Watch out for him.

Posted by: Kenect2 | January 3, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I think this article is hilarious, and everyone should at least have a chance to read it. I'd say this were blasphamy if it were mocking anyone but Cheney...it is mocking Cheney so let's all have a laugh:

Washington, DC--An anonymous source in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney has furnished the following transcript of his prayer for Senator Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota, who was rushed to George Washington Hospital on Wednesday, December 13 with a brain hemorrhage and is now in critical condition after brain surgery there.

"Sir--and I call you Sir because I have no doubt, no doubt at all, that you're a sir, no matter what these lesbo-maniacs call you, you won't ever find me calling you Ma'am, no sir--anyway sir, let's get one thing straight up front: I don't kneel. Ever. I salute my chief, I salute the stars and stripes, I salute our brave fighting men and women in the war against terror, I even kiss Karl's ring now and then, but I don't kneel to anyone, not even you, and I'm sure you won't take that personally. It's just the way I am. Other presidents and vice presidents before us, you know, have sometimes knelt down in times of crisis. Lincoln maybe, in the civil war. And in the dark days of Watergate, some say, Dick Nixon hit the floor with Henry the K. And I'm sure that Clinton must have tried it once or twice in the hope of staving off impeachment, which of course he never did--though the slimy bastard finally beat the rap, and I have to say I've never forgiven you for letting him do it. But these guys--these oval office kneelers--they all traded away the powers of the office in return for some quick fix. I won't do that. I want to leave this office--the office of the vice president, and the office of the president too, insofar as I control it, which of course I do--I want to leave both offices stronger than they were when we came in. So I don't kneel, sir. I speak to you from a chair in my office that is reserved only for me. And here's what I have to say.

You know, because you know everything--sometimes I think you know even more than Karl, but of course that's impossible--anyway, you know of course that the Democrat party now holds the Senate by a bare majority of 51 to 49. And you know what the Democrat party will try to do us, to the war on terror, to American families, to American values, to the institution of marriage (lay off my daughter, by the way, that's a private matter), to the right to bear arms against all enemies, foreign and domestic (especially liberals), to the whole system of free enterprise, and above all to the Republican party. If the Democrat party takes control of the Senate, they will do all they can to undo what the president and I have done since we took office. They will take back our tax cuts. They will thrust their greedy hands into the pockets of hard-working American taxpayers. They will make the very richest of us--the people who make this economy grow, who build new businesses, who create jobs all around the country, who fund the Republican party and its finest causes, like the war on abortion and the war on gay culture--they will make the richest of us pay even more in taxes than the intolerable pittance we are paying right now. And they will insist that we in this administration fight terror with our hands tied behind our backs, that we tell everyone--al Qaeda included, of course--just where in the world we are holding terrorists, that we charge every one of those terrorists with a specific crime (as if terrorism itself wasn't enough!), that we give every one of them the right to a complete trial, soup to nuts, access to all evidence, even classified information--hell, might as well hand them the keys to the CIA. And that's only the beginning. If the Democrat party takes over the Senate, they'll insist on drastic action against this phony scare called global warming--as if they'd never heard of air conditioning, for heaven's sake. They'll rant and rave about carbon emissions, as if they didn't know that we're all exhaling carbon dioxide every day of our lives (see I know a thing or two about chemistry myself). They'll choke the coal industry. They'll pile one regulation after another on the backs of American corporations until they suffocate. They'll want gay marriage in every state and abortion on demand in every town. Worst of all, they'll try to make us cut and run from Iraq, just when we're about to turn the corner, just when the Sunnis and the Shiites are about to kill each other off entirely, once and for all, and leave the region's oil fields safe at last for American investors.

Sir, you don't want that, I don't want it, the president doesn't want it, and regardless of how they voted in the last election, the American people don't want that either. That's why I'm praying today for Tim Johnson. If he dies, Governor Rounds of South Dakota--a good Republican, I can assure you of that--will replace him with a Republican, which would give us 50 seats in the Senate, and then of course I could tip the balance in any tie vote.

Johnson is now recovering from his operation, they say, but still in critical condition. And in spite of what we've been told about his chances, I'm betting he's in pain. And even if he survives, even if he has a pretty good chance of full recovery, I'm betting he's likely to end up permanently incapacitated, with the fate of the Senate and the fate of the country and the fate of the entire world hanging in the balance. Don't let that happen, sir. Put him out of his misery. Now.

Now that the laugh is over. I am a Conservative Republican, but view Cheney as a politician's politician that will say anything, and has said anything in his political life, to get elected. I honestly do pray for the recovery of Tim Johnson and pray for his family through their tough times, especially here around Christmas. I do sense a gist of Christian values through how Johnson conducts himself and his past votes, which I'm certain gives he and his family that internal peace Christ brings. I pray that God phsyically heals the senator and gives his family the grace to deal with the situation until then. I urge all of you, whatever party you may be part of, to pray for Senator Johnson and his family as well.

Posted by: reason | December 18, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Just thought this is funny, and hope some of you do as well. By the way, this is honestly taken from some of Cheney's stances on issues throughout the years. Just laugh, folks.

Washington, DC--An anonymous source in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney has furnished the following transcript of his prayer for Senator Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota, who was rushed to George Washington Hospital on Wednesday, December 13 with a brain hemorrhage and is now in critical condition after brain surgery there.

"Sir--and I call you Sir because I have no doubt, no doubt at all, that you're a sir, no matter what these lesbo-maniacs call you, you won't ever find me calling you Ma'am, no sir--anyway sir, let's get one thing straight up front: I don't kneel. Ever. I salute my chief, I salute the stars and stripes, I salute our brave fighting men and women in the war against terror, I even kiss Karl's ring now and then, but I don't kneel to anyone, not even you, and I'm sure you won't take that personally. It's just the way I am. Other presidents and vice presidents before us, you know, have sometimes knelt down in times of crisis. Lincoln maybe, in the civil war. And in the dark days of Watergate, some say, Dick Nixon hit the floor with Henry the K. And I'm sure that Clinton must have tried it once or twice in the hope of staving off impeachment, which of course he never did--though the slimy bastard finally beat the rap, and I have to say I've never forgiven you for letting him do it. But these guys--these oval office kneelers--they all traded away the powers of the office in return for some quick fix. I won't do that. I want to leave this office--the office of the vice president, and the office of the president too, insofar as I control it, which of course I do--I want to leave both offices stronger than they were when we came in. So I don't kneel, sir. I speak to you from a chair in my office that is reserved only for me. And here's what I have to say.

You know, because you know everything--sometimes I think you know even more than Karl, but of course that's impossible--anyway, you know of course that the Democrat party now holds the Senate by a bare majority of 51 to 49. And you know what the Democrat party will try to do us, to the war on terror, to American families, to American values, to the institution of marriage (lay off my daughter, by the way, that's a private matter), to the right to bear arms against all enemies, foreign and domestic (especially liberals), to the whole system of free enterprise, and above all to the Republican party. If the Democrat party takes control of the Senate, they will do all they can to undo what the president and I have done since we took office. They will take back our tax cuts. They will thrust their greedy hands into the pockets of hard-working American taxpayers. They will make the very richest of us--the people who make this economy grow, who build new businesses, who create jobs all around the country, who fund the Republican party and its finest causes, like the war on abortion and the war on gay culture--they will make the richest of us pay even more in taxes than the intolerable pittance we are paying right now. And they will insist that we in this administration fight terror with our hands tied behind our backs, that we tell everyone--al Qaeda included, of course--just where in the world we are holding terrorists, that we charge every one of those terrorists with a specific crime (as if terrorism itself wasn't enough!), that we give every one of them the right to a complete trial, soup to nuts, access to all evidence, even classified information--hell, might as well hand them the keys to the CIA. And that's only the beginning. If the Democrat party takes over the Senate, they'll insist on drastic action against this phony scare called global warming--as if they'd never heard of air conditioning, for heaven's sake. They'll rant and rave about carbon emissions, as if they didn't know that we're all exhaling carbon dioxide every day of our lives (see I know a thing or two about chemistry myself). They'll choke the coal industry. They'll pile one regulation after another on the backs of American corporations until they suffocate. They'll want gay marriage in every state and abortion on demand in every town. Worst of all, they'll try to make us cut and run from Iraq, just when we're about to turn the corner, just when the Sunnis and the Shiites are about to kill each other off entirely, once and for all, and leave the region's oil fields safe at last for American investors.

Sir, you don't want that, I don't want it, the president doesn't want it, and regardless of how they voted in the last election, the American people don't want that either. That's why I'm praying today for Tim Johnson. If he dies, Governor Rounds of South Dakota--a good Republican, I can assure you of that--will replace him with a Republican, which would give us 50 seats in the Senate, and then of course I could tip the balance in any tie vote.

Johnson is now recovering from his operation, they say, but still in critical condition. And in spite of what we've been told about his chances, I'm betting he's in pain. And even if he survives, even if he has a pretty good chance of full recovery, I'm betting he's likely to end up permanently incapacitated, with the fate of the Senate and the fate of the country and the fate of the entire world hanging in the balance. Don't let that happen, sir. Put him out of his misery. Now.

Posted by: reason | December 18, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I echo Scott Laughrey. Between this, the polonium poisoning, and (don't forget) the alleged failed robbery attempt at Dem. Sen.
Pete Domenici's family's home in Silver Spring, MD this week, there is no reason NOT to suspect the Repuglicans for anything
nefarious, low, deceitful, or... repugnant.
I wouldn't trust those mofos as far as I could throm the scum. They are so extreme that they will stop at nothing for control.

Posted by: OakRaidFan | December 16, 2006 2:38 AM | Report abuse

While I can understand the criticisms some people have about those who are speculating about what may happen and/or who may be tapped to serve as a replacement, I think it's a very important discussion to have.

There probably isn't a single person here who isn't hoping for the senator's recovery. However, not having a contingency plan in place or pretending that such discussions are inappropriate seems a bit naive to me.

The senator's health is a major issue here. But in the unfortunate event that he is no longer able to serve either because of resignation or death, the possible changing of Senate control (thus reversing the results of the midterm elections) is also a major issue.

I would urge those who wish to talk about the possible consequences to do so tactfully, which most of us seem to be doing. Those who think we should not talk about the possible consequences at all should respect those who do want to talk about it and not assume they have no shame or tact. I am sure that we all wish for the senator's speedy recovery.

Life comes first, politics second. But this is a scenario in which both elements converge and cannot be separated from one another. Let's not be callous or tacky, but let's also not be naive. Both issues (his health and Senate control) are major issues here.

Posted by: Zzonkmiles | December 14, 2006 8:24 PM | Report abuse

No, this IS a stroke, whether Senator Johnson's staff know what the definition of a stroke is or not.

Any bleeding into the brain that is not caused by trauma is a kind of stroke - a hemorrhagic stroke. The other kind of stroke is called an ischemic stroke, and is caused by lack of blood flow to an area of the brain, usually because of a blood clot.

Hemorrhagic strokes are usually caused by high blood pressure, but can also be caused by aneurysms or vascular malformations.

The reason the media are not reported the possibility of foul play is that it's preposterous. The Senator's hemorrhage was caused by a congenital arteriovenous malformation - congenital meaning present at birth.

I don't think the super-secret Diebold vote rigging satellite technology has been advanced to the point where it can cause arteriovenous malformations to appear in Democrats' brains yet.

Posted by: MD | December 14, 2006 6:33 PM | Report abuse

WOW, does it get much more exploitive and smug and tacky than this?

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/politics/4403017.html

Johnson's illness threatens Dems' power

"Suddenly, the Democrats' grip on the Senate looks very tenuous indeed. "

How can the AP be THIS thrilled over a man's serious illness?!?

My God, what is wrong with our media?

Posted by: Jon | December 14, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Prayers and best wishes for Sen. Johnson. I suppose the media can't be blamed for following the obvious story, that with a one-vote majority, the balance in the Senate hangs on Sen. Johnson's health. But it seems we should all take a break and be human for a while. It seems way too early to be picking over his bones.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | December 14, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

my colleague political scientist reminds me of this: "VP Cheney DID cast tie-breaking vote to organize the Senate in 2001, putting Republicans in charge (although special arrangements were made in committees etc. to engage in certain power-sharing); a few months later, in May 2001, Jim Jeffords switched from Republican to Independent, but aligned himself with Dems, swinging Senate control to them until the 2002 elections."

Posted by: h. steck | December 14, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

If Senator Johnson is unable to perform his duties, there is nothing in either the South Dakota or the United States constitutions that would require him to resign. And should the seat fall vacant, I believe you can expect a strong grassroots effort to persuade the Republican governor to appoint a Democrat -- both on the grounds that he would be replacing a Democrat and that in the 2006 election, the at-large candidate for Congress, Shirley Herseth, received a greater popular vote in her race than Governor Rounds did in his. That, plus the overwhelming national preference of voters for Democratic candidates -- a clear indication that the American people want the Democrats to control both houses -- might persuade the governor supporting a Democrat would be more in keeping with the wishes of the people of South Dakota and the people of the United States.

Posted by: Stephan Lesher | December 14, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

5 minutes of searching on the internet and I came up with the following. If I could do it, makes ya wonder why the paid pros don't.

This by Ken Rudin for, The Washington Post!

"The only way the Senate can remove a member is by a vote to expel, and there has never been any desire to do that for a health-related cause. Sen. Karl Mundt (R-S.D.) suffered a debilitating stroke in 1969 but refused to resign and stayed in office until his term expired in January 1973 - although he never showed up for work following his infirmity. Republicans pressured Mundt to step down shortly before the 1970 elections, when it appeared the GOP was going to lose the governorship, and with it their ability to appoint a Senate successor. There was never talk of a motion to expel, though the Republican Conference eventually did strip him of his committee assignments. In November of that year, a Democrat was elected governor, so the Republicans who were urging Mundt's resignation turned to hoping he would serve until his term expired.

There were other, similar situations. Rep. John Grotberg (R-Ill.) lapsed into a coma in January 1986 after participation in an experimental program for his colon cancer caused him to have a heart seizure. His family and staff refused to consider resignation, and the House took no action. He even won re-nomination to the House in the March GOP primary that year, but his family finally relented and announced he would not run again. He remained a member of the House until his death in November 1986.

In the spring of 1964, Sen. Clair Engle (D-Calif.) was dying of brain cancer, but refused Democratic entreaties to resign. In June, when the Senate voted to break the filibuster that had stymied the civil rights bill, the dying Engle was wheeled onto the Senate floor to vote for cloture by motioning with his hand. He died a month later.

In the spring of 1943, Sen. Carter Glass (D-Va.) was 85 years old, in poor health and simply stopped coming to work. He died in May of 1946, still a senator but no longer a visitor to Capitol Hill. And according to Sen. Robert Byrd's (D-W.Va.) invaluable book of Senate historical statistics, Sen. James Grimes (R-Iowa) suffered a stroke in 1869 and remained in office as an invalid until his death in February of 1872. But there was no move in the Senate to declare any of the aforementioned seats vacant.

The only instance I can think of where lawmakers took action involved Gladys Spellman of Maryland. The Democratic House member suffered a massive heart attack in October of 1980 while campaigning that left her in a semi-conscious, coma-like state from which she never emerged. She won re-election with ease, but once it was determined that there was no prospect for recovery, the House voted to declare the seat vacant in February 1981."

But let's not stop there, here are the pertinent points of SD law, which seem to contradict each other and look like they were drafted by the same rocket scientists who drafted FL electoral law.

12-11-1. Special election to fill congressional vacancy--Time of election of representative. If a vacancy occurs in the office of a senator or representative in the United States Congress it shall be the duty of the Governor within ten days of the occurrence, to issue a proclamation setting the date of and calling for a special election for the purpose of filling such vacancy.

12-11-4. Temporary appointment by Governor to fill vacancy in United States Senate. Pursuant to the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, the Governor may fill by temporary appointment, until a special election is held pursuant to this chapter, vacancies in the office of senator in the Senate of the United States.
And...

12-11-5. Special election to fill senate vacancy. The special election to fill the vacancy of a senator shall be held at the same time as the next general election. The general election laws shall apply unless inconsistent with this chapter.

Thus, it seems pretty clear to me that unless Sen Johnson or his family choose to step down, guess what folks? The Senate splits 50-49.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that and that Sen Johnson lives a full, vibrant life, politically and personally, from here on out.

Posted by: scott | December 14, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Uh, Chris, you're wrong. The Senate would not be split 50-50 should he not be able to serve when the Senate convenes. It would be split 50-49. And it could continue to be that way unless Sen Johnson passes away since SD law doesn't define who determines incapacity and such.

There's plenty online that explains the ambiguity on this.

Posted by: scott | December 14, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Best wishes for a full and sppedy recovery for Senator Johnson.

This was not a stroke.

Senator Johnson suffered from "congenital arteriovenous malformation," probably from birth.

A congenital arteriovenous malformation is a tangle of arteries and veins that have grown close together, often from before birth.

Senator Johnson's immediate condition came from an intracerebral hemorrage from the area of the malformation and also affected his speech and movement to his right side.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/12/14/johnson.ill/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

Posted by: RMill | December 14, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Intrepid Liberal Journal,

No doubt you are a fool for the things you say. Let us leave the partisanship behind while we hope and pray for a human life to recover.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 14, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

rawquip.blogspot.com

How We Failed OUR Democracy

Twenty years from now, we will take a look back at this period in American life with disbelief and regret. In a Kabuki dance, the American public failed the American government, and the political parties--Democrats and Republicans alike, failed the essence of our democracy. History will not be kind to our generation, where we allowed an attack on our homeland to be used as a pretext for an ill conceived war, the three branches of government colluded in the misuse of trust and power, and the fourth estate meekly enabled an administration to lie to the public and exploit frayed nerves into a war of choice and a conflict of calamity.

It goes without saying the harshest judgment lies at the feet of the Bush administration. After September 11th, Bush had an opportunity to coalesce the country under one purpose. The attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were not an attack on a political party nor on a religious faction, it was an attack on all of us. The banality of red state versus blue state disappeared for a day; the red blood of innocent victims was the state of our nation, and the blue color of sadness was the state of a collective loss of innocence. Instead, the images of lost lives, broken families, and charred out buildings was used as a blunt political tool--a day of tragedy morphed into 30 second political ads. A nation, unsettled and shaken to our core, was encouraged to go shopping and to buy stocks; devaluing the lost lives by placing primary importance on the valuations of Wall Street. Shortly thereafter, our collective anger and individual disquietude was manipulated by steady drumbeats on the path to war. Driven by an administration who viewed September 11th as an opportunity to initiate a war plan drawn up years before the first plane hit the first tower, we attacked a nation--based on a superfluous pretext--that neither attacked us nor posed a threat to our country. Unable to admit failure and transfixed on protecting a failed legacy, Bush imperils our soldiers as they stand grounded in the deserts of a broken civilization refereeing an Uncivil War; the red blood of our GI's and innocent Iraqis the state of a shattered Iraqi nation.

The Bush administration's inept and aberrant designs notwithstanding, the Democratic Party's feeble and duplicitous acts of civil subservience will not escape the reaches of historical memory. For every act of treacherous, there is an act of silence; for every deed of trickery, there is a deed of self-suppression. In choosing complicity over courage, they disserted their post as the guardians of our republic. Fearing being labeled cowards and libeled as unpatriotic, they chose to proudly forswear their solemn oath to protect the Constitution from external and internal enemies. Those that hand the keys to an inebriated driver stand just as guilty for the eventual repercussions that follow--action and inaction are one in the same when lives are lost as a consequence of both. They stand before us today, those that cast their vote--and their lot--with a dogmatic ideology and a misbegotten war. It is true that victory has a thousand fathers, and defeat is an orphan--but history will remember whose DNA is embedded in this war's inception. In an unprecedented ceding of congressional oversight, the Democrat's went along with the Republican rubber stamp's imprimatur in signing a blank check to the executive war. George Bush today could attack another country without consulting congress based on that war resolution. These very Democratic malingerers stand before us today, so far doing NOTHING that would deem them worthy of the voters' trust, a trust given not out of confidence but out of dejection in the Republicans' performance. Some even speak of running for the presidency, which I'm sure they will be extolling the vices of this administration while ignoring their aiding and abetting that very administration. One who forfeited their congressional duties cannot be entrusted with the solemn duties of the presidency. Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, and all other Democratic member were presented with three years ago was the ability to displayed distinction and political courage, instead most chose weakness and political expediency. They stand complicit in this Iraqi fiasco; their vote is embedded in the DNA of this Iraqi debacle.

The lack of fortitude does not end with the supposed loyal opposition. The fourth estate's ceding of their duties was just as abhorrent. The fabric of our nation is woven with an informed citizenship, the threads of veracity and guardianship of our rights entrusted to the press. Where our elected officials fail us, our press is supposed to act as a lighthouse, guiding the ship of the state from the peril shores of dictatorial bureaucracy. Our republic is maintained through the notepads of the journalist, the microphone of the reporter, and the ink of the press. The press is supposed to be a vigilante, arousing public sentiment to overcome governmental corruption. Instead, the vigilante became the cheerleader; their notepads turned into an instrument of diction, their microphones morphed into an echo chamber, and their pen ran yellow--spreading lies from power instead of speaking truth to it. Perhaps this is what happens when a free press is consolidated into a conglomerate, where the policies of the government it is supposed to oversee affects the bottom dollar of the various media's parent company. When a newspaper or news show has to answer to Wall Street as much as it answers to Main Street, we have a recipe for a press devoid of valor and derelict in its duties.

The sad truth is that we as a nation failed our nation; we are stuck in a war where all options are dire. We stay and feed the flames of a Civil War, our very presence feeding the flames of hatred that threatens to engulf the whole region. Pull-out and we leave behind women, children and men to be massacred by a virulent enmity unleashed by our occupation. While it is immoral to leave an iniquity created by our own malfeasance, staying there does nothing but extend the day of Sunni and Shiite reckoning. We are in effect acting as a balancing scale, the longer we stay the longer we give a chance for the Shia to train and arm themselves to a point where they will be able to slaughter Sunni into submission. We leave today, and we embolden the Sunni establishment, which still have the technical know-how and the military prowess, to slaughter tens of thousands of Shiites on their way back to a minority ruling class.

We are at a Faustian fulcrum, where our action or inaction will become the catalyst for a Kabuki dance of two sects determined to settle old scores and set the table for a new sectarian dominance in Iraq. Meanwhile, our Kabuki dance continues, debating the meaning of Civil War; and a new catchword--"bipartisanship"--is bandied about to yet again fail our democracy.

More on rawquip.blogspot.com

Posted by: franknva | December 14, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

My sister in law had a similar surgery for the same condition in 2000, and made a full recovery within a year, was able to perform most tasks within a month. The trick is catching the bleeding early enough that there isn't too much pressure on the brain from the bleeding. Indications were that the Senator and his staff got him into the hospital very early in the game, and barring complications, God willing, he'll make a full recovery.

I worked for Tim in 2002 in a very hard fought and nasty campaign, it is a measure of the man, and also his opponent Sen. Thune that they were able to patch things up, and that Sen. Thune was one of the first people to issue a public (and sincerely heartfelt) prayer for Sen. Johnson's recovery.

As to the media reporting on potential issues... its their job to mention the ramifications. There were even some such speculations when Sen Thomas R-WY was diagnosed with leukemia last month.

As far as prognosis, it should be noted that Sen. Spector and Sen. Biden have both had similar surgeries over the last two decades. Given the high level of medical care available to members of Congress, it wouldn't be reckless to say that the odds, given what we know are on Tim's side. But as with many my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

Posted by: Steve | December 14, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Rick, while I agree with your premise, it is a little premature to fathom political repercussions while the poor guy is fighting for his life. Let's not be too hasty.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | December 14, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't anyone else find it unlikely that the Governor of SD would be willing to capitalize on a Senator's ill health to change the political landscape of the federal government?

Sure, he'd have the thanks of Mitch McConnell and the White House, but I believe there would be political and public relations consequences for, in essence, reversing a decision made by voters 4 years ago.

He'd be best appointing a placeholder Democrat that would be unlikely to run again in '08.

Posted by: Rick | December 14, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I echo the comments about the media already writing this man off, or seeming to at any rate. Let the docs sort things out and go from there.

And I am not sure it will be so easy for the Rep. governor to appoint a Republican without some severe backlash. If there is a suitable Democrat, he or she should be given strong consideration given the results of the election giving Sen. Johnson the victory last time he ran.

Posted by: hokala | December 14, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

drindl, it sounds like an aneurysm from the decriptions being reported. Very bad...bleeding in the brain-type thing. Glad the surgery went well; although it's tough to go through for the patient typically. Best wishes to the Senator for a full recovery.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | December 14, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure when the Post will update; I know they have a tendency to hold stories until there is a greater degree of certainty (largely my experience in trying to find out the DC primary numbers) but I've been seeing reports around the internet that it was a brain hemorrhage resulting from a congenital defect.

Best wishes to the Senator and his family for a full, speedy recovery.

Posted by: dilbert719 | December 14, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Scott, the media hasn't considered that because it would be wildly irresponsible. There's no evidence of foul play here. Any media outlet who started ranting about poisoning would be a laughingstock. You're just contributing to the coarsening of political discourse in this country.

Posted by: Blarg | December 14, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

how sad that people even have to speculate about the ghoulish possibilities... let us hope that we ar e not so bitter we can't pray for his recovery.

but i do wonder--if he didn't have a stroke, then what happened?

Posted by: drndl | December 14, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Why hasn't the corporate controlled media (like the WaPo) considered a scenario like the polonium poisoning of the ex-Russian agent? Is it that far-fetched that the Repugs might try something like this? The really cool progressives must consider all points of view, not just the jingoistic propaganda put out by the corporate controlled media. Come and debate me on this topic at the Baltimore Sun bulletin boards. I use the names Kenect2, Mithrilknight, My Two Cents, and a few more that are secret. Peace out -- Scott Laughrey

Posted by: Scott Laughrey | December 14, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse

So how long are they supposed to wait? The media would be derelict in their duty to keep the public informed of the situation if they didn't mention the possibility that this could swing the Senate.

Posted by: Mitch | December 14, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Can the media cheer any louder for the death of Senator Johnson? These ghouls are practically praying for a return to power of the GOP. How about letting Senator Johnson have a few days to recover -- after al, the media rolled over and went back to sleep when The Decideress decided she couldn't yet decide what to do in Iraq...

Posted by: tab khan | December 14, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Jon: Why would the "liberal" media be "desperate" for the Republicans to be back in control? And why is the media to blame for quoting something said by a South Dakota official who could be at the center of this story as it unfolds?

You seem to be slinging cliches without having thought this through.

Posted by: Eric | December 14, 2006 9:17 AM | Report abuse

In this holiday season particularly, our best wishes should be for Sen. Johnson, his family and friends.

Posted by: Craig | December 14, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

from what i understand, sen. johnson's son, staff sgt. brooks johnson, is back from Iraq and Afghanistan and is now a recruiter based in illinois.

also, remember what happened several years ago when GA republican senator paul coverdell died while in office. democratic governor roy barnes appointed the now infamous, but still back then democrat, zell miller to coverdell's seat. likewise, there's nothing in sd law that would prevent rounds from appointing anybody but a republican to johnson's seat, or for an election to be called anytime before '08.

wishing the great senator a speedy recovery, my heart and prayers go out to him and all of his loved ones.

Posted by: david | December 14, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

To be fair, I don't think that speculation about worst case scenerios means that ANYONE -- Republican or Democrat -- actually hopes Senator Johnson fails to recover.

Posted by: Colin | December 14, 2006 8:38 AM | Report abuse

No doubt the evangelicals are praying for Johnson's death.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | December 14, 2006 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I hope Sen. Johnson will make a speedy recovery. None of the media that I have seen so far has reported whether his son will be allowed to return home from Iraq to see him.

Rob
http://robwire.com

Posted by: Rob | December 14, 2006 1:28 AM | Report abuse

The media reaction to this story really did tell me how desperate many of them are to have Republicans back in control. One AP (I think it was AP) story had a quote from SD's secretary of state saying there was no reason the governor would appoint a Democrat to replace Johnson. The article also breathlessly pointed out that this would give the Senate back to the Republicans. The media seemed to be eagerly hoping that this poor man would be out of office for good. It's despicable, and all too common in our "liberal" media.

Posted by: Jon | December 14, 2006 12:15 AM | Report abuse

My prayers are with Senator Johnson, his family, his friends, his caretakers and his physicians in this time of need and fear.

My prayers also go out to my fellow Americans and others throughout the world who are suffering from disease or who are one misfortune away from financial ruin.

This is a good time to think about legilators' responsiblities to provide laws that will enable the government to care for its citizens when events such as this befall them.

Let us all hope that the 110th Congress convenes in a spirit of bipartisan benevolence that enables all to take part in a debate about how to organize the society best to provide opportunity for the healthy and care and succor for the needy.

Robert Chapman
Lansing, NY

Posted by: robert chapman | December 13, 2006 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Not knowing the extent of Sen. Johnson's illness didn't stop Washington journalists from considering possible scenarios.

A number reported that if Sen, Johnson had to resign and a Republican was appointed to succeed him, then the Senate would effectively be 50-50 and because V.P. Cheney would has the "tie-breaking vote," the Senate would stay in Republican hands.

I don't think so. The Vice President isn't a Senator, and does not vote on how the Senate organizes itself. Isn't this exactly why Sens. Daschle and Lott "alternated" in the Majority Leader position not too long ago?

Tim Russert reported the following that there is a precedent for an incapacitated Senator staying in the Senate. Ironically it was a Republican Senator from South Dakota.

From Wikipedia: "After suffering a severe stroke in 1969, he (Karl Mundt) remained in office through the end of his term on January 3, 1973, but was unable to attend sessions of Congress and was stripped of his committee assignments by the Senate Republican Conference in 1972. He did not seek reelection in 1972." Karl Mundt passed away in 1974.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 13, 2006 8:10 PM | Report abuse

SD Law says the Governor appoints. A new Senator would serve until the next normal election cycle, at least two years then. Someone please verify my interpretation.

Stroke victims are often able to fully recover, or recover substantially. I hope this occurs for Senator Johnson.

Posted by: BlueDog | December 13, 2006 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Sending Wishes for the Best of Health to Senator Tim Johnson, and a wonderful Holiday Season for him and his family.

Posted by: Marylin:hellomm@yahoo.com | December 13, 2006 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Senator's in most states are appointed by the Governor to serve the remainder of the term. A special election is not always required. I'll check SD law.

Just a note: Representatives cannot be appointed, a special election is required, even if it means the seat is empty until the election.

Talk of candidates and races is premature. Give the guy a few days before writing him off.

May God Bless and Watch over Senator Johnson.

Posted by: BlueDog | December 13, 2006 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Sending Wishes for the Best of Health to Senator Tim Johnson, and a wonderful Holiday Season for him and his family.

Posted by: Marylin | December 13, 2006 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Amen.

Posted by: William | December 13, 2006 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Johnson. We all hope for the best - a complete return to full health.

Posted by: southern blue dog | December 13, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

There wouldn't be a special election to replace Johnson in November?

I think Herseth (D) would be a lock to win that race. She is the only politician in SD with statewide recognition, aside from the senators and Rounds, as the at large conresswoman.

She's considered a rising star in the Dem party, and I think she would easily win Johnson's seat.

Even as a Republican, if I lived in SD, I would consider voting for her because she is hot. For a politician.

Posted by: William | December 13, 2006 5:47 PM | Report abuse

From your front page story...
Johnson was elected to the Senate in 1996 when he defeated Sen. Larry Pressler (R). He won an extremely competitive race six years later against then Rep. John Thune (R), who he defeated by 524 votes. Johnson is up for reelection to a third term in 2008.

"who he defeated..."???

Posted by: azeditor | December 13, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

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