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After suffering a stroke and surviving surgery, Senator Tim Johnson has begun his recovery and appears to be improving. Reports have him conscious and communicating with family and doctors, which indicates that he will recover significantly from the incident. No further surgeries are expected, according to the medical staff.
One would think that all of the above would have ended the speculation about replacing Johnson and affecting the partisan balance of the Senate. However, the New York Times simply cannot stop itself from journalistic ghoulishness in pursuing an increasingly remote chance that any of that will be necessary:
In the tornado of talk about Senator Tim Johnson’s political future after his surgery to stem bleeding in the brain, one man has stayed mostly out of sight and mostly silent but for conveying his prayers through spokesmen.
Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican whose duty it would be to appoint a replacement for Mr. Johnson, a Democrat, if that becomes necessary, finds himself in his most unlikely political role yet: the single person, potentially, to decide the partisan split of the United States Senate.
Besieged with questions about whom he might select, Mr. Rounds has declined to address the topic, his aides denouncing the inquiries as premature and beyond impolite and a subject that Mr. Rounds would not have given the first thought to.
Mr. Rounds had no public appearance on Thursday or Friday, instead attending private meetings in Pierre, his aides said. “Our concern is for Senator Johnson’s health,” Mark Johnston, his spokesman, said. “That’s South Dakota.”
Actually, that's America outside of the offices of the Paper of Record, where editors just ache to find Republican leaders scheming to steal Johnson's seat. Unfortunately, they find none, but that doesn't stop them from speculating endlessly about Rounds and his political ambitions. The Times gets a few South Dakota Democrats to speculate on a Rounds appointment that will never happen in an attempt to cast him as an opportunist.
The Gray Lady needs a grip. The only two developments which will create the situation on which they speculate is Johnson's death or Johnson's resignation, neither of which appears pending. In fact, if one could point to any time to have a medical crisis, this would be the season. Congress is out of session, no votes are pending, and Johnson has a few weeks in which to recover ... if the Times lets him.
The pursuit of this story even after Johnson's successful surgery and the start of his recovery suggests that the desperation can be found at the Times, and not with the Republicans. Can the ghouls please disappear until Halloween, please?Sphere It View blog reactions
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See previous: Viet Nam Vet With Son In Army Critical After Brain SurgeryGhouls In Search Of A StoryEd Morrissey After suffering a stroke and surviving surgery, Senator Tim Johnson has begun his recovery and appears to be improving. Reports have [Read More]
Tracked on December 16, 2006 2:18 PM
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