Senator Johnson

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16224094/

The article says he’s recovering. In fact, he was able to “open his eyes” which is probably much more of an accomplishment than a lot of the things a lot of our absurd senators will do this year.

This affliction of Senator Johnson strikes me as being the harbinger of the kind of sick situation only politicians would be able to produce. Clearly, if the man is incapacitated to the point that he never sets foot in the Senate again for the rest of his term, the Democrats will accept this because it allows them to retain control of congress. This is despicable. The people of South Dakota deserve a functioning Senator. The reason they can’t allow him to resign is because if they do then the Governor will immediately appoint a Republican because he will be required to by every powerful Republican on the planet. If he appointed a Democrat he would be a pariah.

And so because of a BS political stalemate, South Dakota will be deprive of ONE THIRD of its ENTIRE representation in the Federal government.

Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats as a whole have any interest whatsoever in what is best for the people of South Dakota because if they did then either the Governor would be urged BY REPUBLICANS to appoint a Democrat to fill out the remainder of the term because that would be the blindingly obvious way to compromise.

The only possible good outcome now is that the guy recovers extremely quickly which seems to be very unlikely.

The whole thing is sickening.

Was it sickening when Karl Mundt represented South Dakota for two years after his stroke?

Sounds like a South Dakota issue for South Dakotans to figure out.

The Los Angeles Times has an article up where they describe how leaving Johnson in office would fit Senate tradition – including as Squirrel Killer pointed out a previous senator from South Dakota.

Carter Glass was the dean of the U.S. Senate and chairman of its Appropriations Committee when he became incapacitated with heart trouble in the 1940s. The octogenarian was absent from the Capitol for four full years, unable to answer a roll call on the Senate floor, cut off from all visitors by his wife.

But if he survives and if history is any guide, the only force that will drive Johnson from office before his term expires in 2008 will be a decision by the senator or his family. The Senate — not governors or voters — has the constitutional power to force a member out, but has been loath to use it.

But history is replete with examples of infirm lawmakers who could not even show up to vote, talk or maintain consciousness — and yet were allowed to keep their seats.

In the mid-19th century, Sen. Charles Sumner (R-Mass.) was absent from the Senate for more than three years after being beaten with a cane on the Senate floor by Rep. Preston Brooks (D-S.C.) in a dispute over slavery. Despite Sumner’s incapacity, the Massachusetts Legislature reelected the slavery opponent.

In 1964, a California Democrat voted in the Senate though he could not speak. Clair Engle, partially paralyzed by repeated operations for brain cancer, was carried onto the Senate floor to cast a key vote on the Civil Rights Act. Voiceless, he pointed to his eye to signify an “aye” vote.

A previous occupant of Johnson’s South Dakota Senate seat, Karl Mundt, had a debilitating stroke in 1969 and was in a coma for some time. He refused to resign, even under pressure from fellow Republicans who feared the GOP would lose the governorship in 1970, and remained formally in his seat until his term expired in 1973.

Wow, an entire long theory about what’s wrong with government based on your suspicions of what democrats are thinking.

Yes. What’s important is having somebody to represent (good or bad) the people of the state.

And let’s just see what happens Jason. If the Democrats urge the guy to resign so they can lose control of the senate I’ll retract my “theory.”

In the mid-19th century, Sen. Charles Sumner (R-Mass.) was absent from the Senate for more than three years after being beaten with a cane on the Senate floor by Rep. Preston Brooks (D-S.C.) in a dispute over slavery. Despite Sumner’s incapacity, the Massachusetts Legislature reelected the slavery opponent.

God damnit, our Congress used to be so awesome.

Spoof, you act like the voters have no involvement here. If they don’t want the guy to resign, why should I? If they do - and I suspect they won’t, because they aren’t stupid - he should. Ta da. No theories about how the parties are cockblocking the voters required.

South Dakota has special elections for this contingency, so it’s not a GOP gimme turnover anyway.