December 13, 2006

It might be in bad taste... but the Washington Post is talking about it so....

I may as well bring it up:
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) suffered a "possible stroke" today, and the prognosis for his recovery remains unknown, according to his office....

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.

However, in modern history the Senate has never declared a seat vacant as a result of a senator's physical condition.
That last sentence is key.

68 comments:

Neil Sinhababu said...

Via Ezra Klein:

"South Dakota actually has the fairest of all coping mechanisms. The Governor has to call an election within 10 days of a vacancy, to be held no more than 90 days later."

Simon said...

On some level I really hate to say this, but my immediate reaction is to with Sen. Johnson a swift recovery to health. I'm going to kick myself for saying this later, because the political imperative to retain control of the Senate is almost overwhelming, but not at any cost. Wishing death and suffering on your enemies may be how the left conducts itself, but for the civilized, humanity has to come before politics at some point.

SteveR said...

"in modern history the Senate has never declared a seat vacant as a result of a senator's physical condition"

If you couldn't meet the test with Strom Thurmond, the bar is pretty high.

Here's for a speedy recovery, something I hope we can all agree on.

Derve said...

Wishing death and suffering on your enemies may be how the left conducts itself...

Cheap shot Simon. Remember, this is competing as a centrist blog. Too many unchecked comments already

al said...

Cheap shot Simon.

It's not a cheap shot. Its an observation on the party that uses death when ever possible to advance their agenda.

Simon said...

Derve,
First, whether a blog is centrist, left or right is defined by the blogger, not the commenters;

Second, did you just sleep through the Wellstone funeral, or what? Does the name "Cindy Sheehan" ring any bells? And that's just for starters.

Revenant said...

Cheap shot Simon. Remember, this is competing as a centrist blog.

Please explain how disliking the tactics of the left is inconsistent with being a centrist.

You might also explain why right-wing *commenters* would preclude a blog from being centrist. After all, Ann lets your pathetic left-wing ass slime up the comments section, and that apparently doesn't make this a lefty blog.

Pogo said...

Stroke is such a drag. Poor guy.

Way to soon to draw any conclusions at all. Except that life sucks sometimes, and sometimes alot. His wife and three kids are probably frantic.

Did I mention I hate strokes?

SteveR said...

Coretta Scott King

Neil Sinhababu said...

Now it's not entirely clear what SD law says. Some people think the 90 day requirement is for Representatives only, not Senators.

Mortimer Brezny said...

This is all Jim Jeffords's fault.

Simon said...

Re SD law on succession, this isn't black magic, it's just statutory law.

SD Code § 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."

§ 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."

Dr. Manhattan said...

al, Simon, Revenant,

The point is that this is a centrist blog, which implies that the debate here should be courteous and without hyperbole for the sake of provoking someone who disagrees with you.

saying the Left is unique in its tactics is pretty silly. for every funeral where leftists talk politics, the Right matches with:

-egregious exploitation of 9/11 (i.e., GOP nat'l convention in NYC with stage designed to look like pile of rubble).
-general fear mongering in campaigns.
-contentions that the Democrats are the "Party of Death."

Let's be real. Both sides can be quite tasteless in their pursuit of power, and that understanding is crucial to a centrist outlook.

Bruce Hayden said...

At present though, a (non)turnover seems unlikely. Someone pointed out elsewhere that former Mayor Koch of NYC appeared to have had something similar and is still hanging around years later.

So, yes, it would be great for the Republicans if Johnson's seat becomes vacant, but at present that seems quite unlikely.

Simon said...

Bruce Hayden said...
"So, yes, it would be great for the Republicans if Johnson's seat becomes vacant, but at present that seems quite unlikely.

Not just for the GOP, but for the country, Bruce. But that's the moral bind of this situation! I mean, to do anything other than wish a Johnson a swift recovery to full health would be almost inhuman. But as I noted back after the election, the loss of the Senate - and the effect that has on who can be nominated to the courts - is catastrophic not for South Dakota, not for Johnson's family, not even for Johnson, but for this entire country. Think how many lives could have been saved but for Robert Bork's defeat by the Senators -- by Senators like Tim Johnson -- and Kennedy's subsequent joining of the Casey majority. Think how many more will be lost if Justice Stevens retires two months hence with a Democratic Senate. This is morally a complex picture. It's an awful bind to be in. Ultimately, one finds oneself wishing for a swift recovering and an immediate resignation.

PatCA said...

Sounds like they got it in time to give him a TPA. A 37-yr-old physician I know just had a stroke and felt it coming so went to the hospital. They gave her a TPA and she went home with no residuals the next morning. Angiography showed the clot was gone.

Hoping the same for Mr. Johnson.

Rusty said...

Latest report, no stroke or heart attack.

Could be dehydration, low hemoglobin or any number of causes for the symptoms.

Wishes for a speedy recovery.

Revenant said...

The point is that this is a centrist blog, which implies that the debate here should be courteous and without hyperbole for the sake of provoking someone who disagrees with you.

"Centrist" implies nothing of the sort (and certainly none of the blogs nominated in the "centrist" category exhibit such inoffensive behavior).

A centrist is a person whose political views lie between those of left-wingers and right-wingers. Such a person could be one who falls in the middle because they believe in polite compromise, or one who views the Republicans and Democrats as two evils and struggles to determine which, in any given election, is the lesser.

saying the Left is unique in its tactics is pretty silly.

Saying that the Left is the only one to use a tactic, or that the Left is the most common user of a tactic, may very well be silly. That doesn't make it non-centrist. There is, after all, nothing inherently intelligent or well-informed about occupying the middle of the political spectrum.

Let's be real. Both sides can be quite tasteless in their pursuit of power, and that understanding is crucial to a centrist outlook

Duh?

When, exactly, did Ann ever suggest that one of the two political parties was free from tasteless political tactics? Or are you suggesting that being a "centrist" means thinking that both political parties were identically bad for each and every area of politics? Because I just checked my dictionary, and it doesn't list "centrist" as a synonym for "ignoramus". A centrist could quite easily believe, for example, that Democratic behavior on the war has been far more reprehensible than that of the Republicans, while Republican behavior on gay rights has been far worse than that of the Democrats.

One final note: Simon claimed that wishing death and suffering on political enemies was a left-wing tactic. Ponuru's "Party of Death" book and the Republican habit of playing up fears of terrorist attacks are not counterexamples of that behavior. Counterexamples do, of course, exist (Ann Coulter's remark about wishing the NYT building had been blown up, for instance), but it isn't clear that such tactics are as common on the right as on the left. Was there a film called "The Assassination of Bill Clinton" made by right-wing filmmakers and I just missed it? :)

Personally, I don't care which side uses the tactic more. There are plenty of people on the left AND right whose funerals I look forward to celebrating.

Simon said...

Dr. Manhattan - this isn't the time or the place, but I strongly dispute mostly everything you say in that comment. Stick around and we'll hash it out at a more appropriate time and thread.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Simon, here's what makes it confusing:
--
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. If either a primary or general election is to be held within six months, an election to fill a vacancy in the office of representative in the United States Congress shall be held in conjunction with that election, otherwise the election shall be held not less than eighty nor more than ninety days after the vacancy occurs.
--
If this conflicts with 12-11-5, it seems that 12-11-5 is the one that has to bend, since 12-11-5 only applies where there's no inconsistency with other laws.

The Exalted said...

Wishing death and suffering on your enemies may be how the left conducts itself, but for the civilized, humanity has to come before politics at some point.

as if the timid pansies that run the democratic party would "wish death and suffering" on anyone. get real, dude. the right wing calls democracts terrorist lovers, traitors and baby killers. the democracts sputter and stammer, even though a solid majority of the american public supports them (and not the GOP) on the war and on abortion.

and yes, you are a real humanitarian by saying "i'll be kicking myself later" but to still wish the senator a recovery.

Simon said...

Hmmm. Well, we would have to look at the statutory history - if there is irreconcilable tension, whatever is more recent prevails. Since §1 is a bizarre mishmash and the other sections appear to be all from a single statute, I'm still betting that 12-11-5 controls.

Also, you contend that "12-11-5 only applies where there's no inconsistency with other laws," which simply isn't what the statute says. It says that for the purposes of the election, "[t]he general election laws shall apply unless inconsistent with this chapter."

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

Revenant-

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
-Mark Twain

Sen. Johnson-

A full and speedy recovery.

Goatwhacker said...

According to CNN a stroke has been ruled out and it's not clear what happened.

Cedarford said...

Posters that point out this apparant non-stroke could have been nationally important are correct.
Control shifted at the whim of a Vermont Senator grown so senile he regularly showed up at the House side and had to be guided over to his Senate offices. So once again, we are in a place where control could shift on a plane crash, Sen Byrd dropping dead in the middle of a filibuster, Teddy being found drunk and in a ditch (umm, no on the last...he'd hang on and the Mass Dems would back him or appoint his son...)

Blame us for allowing stupid Senate Clubhouse rules, dumb sucession plans, and a growingly obsolete 220 year old Constitution in bad need of repair and updating.

Some Senator from Johnson's state did have a dehabilitating stroke back in 1969, didn't show up for work for the 3 years left in his term, but didn't resign...and solace towards a fellow "Club" member let it happen despite SD voters demanding a chance to get a Rep...the Senate run by his Party refused to declare the seat was open and risk a turnover.
Thurgood Marshall and Douglas lingered incapacitated at SCOTUS for the same reason.

We have a dumb succession plan that would make Pelosi President if she was out of town and Cheney and Bush got nuked instead of Rice.
Unless enough of the House was nuked that no Quorum existed so she wasn't "legally" Speaker anymore and Harry Reid got the job.

Simon said...

I nearly forgot - it seems relevant to note that Johnson's scare comes less than a month after the Huffington Post prayed "for Dick Cheney's Heart, that brave organ which has done its darn-tootin' best on four separate occasions to do what we can only dream about. O Lord, give Dick Cheney's Heart, Our Sacred Secret Weapon, the strength to try one more time! For greater love hath no heart than that it lay down its life to rid the planet of its Number One Human Tumor."

Simon said...

Molon,
Well, that raises the intriguing question of whether the quote is misattributed, or whether Twain stole it from Thomas Brackett Reed, or vice versa.

Revenant said...

the democracts sputter and stammer, even though a solid majority of the american public supports them (and not the GOP) on the war and on abortion.

Large majorities of the American people say they support Roe vs. Wade. But then, most Americans incorrectly believe that "overturn Roe vs. Wade" means "abortion becomes completely illegal throughout America".

Large majorities of the American people also oppose abortion-on-demand, support much tighter restrictions on abortions, support parental and spousal notification laws, and oppose partial-birth abortion. A majority also supports making abortion illegal when it is the result of consentual sex and isn't medically necessary.

In other words, most Americans support neither the Democratic "abortion on demand, no questions asked" position nor the Republican "no abortions at all, except maybe in cases of rape, incest, or saving the mother's life" position. Their view is more in line with most of Europe, where abortions are for the most part (a) legal, (b) hard to obtain, and (c) not a form of birth control.

(and for the record, I favor abortion on demand -- but I'm not dumb enough to buy NARAL's propaganda that most Americans agree with me)

Mack said...

Simon,

Gosh, what a moral dilema whether to wish that someone be incapacitated by a stroke, when they're a member of the opposing political party.

I appreciate honesty as much as the next guy, but really, would you listen to yourself? You're not sure whether simply being a Democrat makes someone's death, all in all, something to celebrate?

You know, they say religion makes people humble, but I often see the exact opposite effect. You've apparently thought all this stuff through so well that you're prepared to decide who deserves to live and die. Maybe you ought to step back a little bit?


And I suppose nobody sees a difference between celebrating a hero's politics at his funeral, and celebrating an opponent's incapacitation or death...

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

"Captain the melodrama reading is off the scale!"

[points tricorder at Mackan]

Simon said...

Revenant said...
"Large majorities of the American people say they support Roe vs. Wade. But then, most Americans incorrectly believe that 'overturn Roe vs. Wade' means 'abortion becomes completely illegal throughout America'."

That is precisely correct. And it is not accidental that they have come to think that; it is the result of a carefully-waged propaganda war that has been specifically intended to bamboozle people into thinking that one's position on Roe and one's position on abortion are interlinked and that the fate of abortion throughout the country and the fate of that misbegotten case are one and the same. Neither is true.

Simon said...

Mackan,
If Tim Johnson dies, that will be a personal tragedy, just as every such death is. That is unambiguously so. The ambiguity arises by virtue of his public office, that is, it arises over whether it is a good thing that Senator Johnson ceases to be a member of the United States Senate, no matter what the cause of that departure.


"You know, they say religion makes people humble, but I often see the exact opposite effect. You've apparently thought all this stuff through so well that you're prepared to decide who deserves to live and die."

You do realize that I'm not a Christian, right?

Mack said...

Molon,

Well, my tone might be a little off, but it's kind of a serious issue, isn't it? I actually remember eating lunch with a very partisan Republican friend a few years ago when we heard on TV about Paul Wellstone's death, and her happily responding to the others in the group what great news this was. I don't get disgusted often, but that's an instance I'll remember.

I can't say I share the disgust toward Simon's comment, but he did kind of invite it...

Simon,

I shouldn't complain, but I think you mad a significant backstep there. Your original issue was literally whether you should hope for the man to die. You weren't simply talking about whether it was good for the country. You were assuming it was good for the country, and asking whether it was so good that you should actually hope that the man dies.

To say "It's a personal trajedy, but politically speaking, I have to admit it's a good thing," is to walk a fine line. What you did was actually leap over the line and say "I can't decide whether this personal trajedy is outweighed by the political benefit." I don't think I have to be melodramatic to say, wow, that's a pretty bold statement (I'm actually resisting the urge to invoke all kinds of much more dramatic things, on the assumption that the point is clear enough).

As to your religion, I don't think I claimed to know which. Maybe I shouldn't have suggested humility is a component of religion generally, but isn't it supposed to be? Mostly it was your comment on abortion that drew my response, by suggesting that the innocent lives lost from abortion are a reason to hope that Democrats die. I could be wrong, but I'd be surprised to hear a totally secular person suggest that.

Anonymous said...

A centrist is a person whose political views lie between those of left-wingers and right-wingers. Such a person could be one who falls in the middle because they believe in polite compromise, or one who views the Republicans and Democrats as two evils and struggles to determine which, in any given election, is the lesser.

Thanks, but no thanks. This is a lousy definition of a centrist, obviously written by a true-believing ideologue.

How about: A centrist views each political issue separately, rather than taking direction from political opinion thugs of the right, left, or any political party.

Or how about: A centrist is one who agrees with the liberals' goal to of the common man's general welfare, but thinks most of their strategies to do so are either stupid or corrupted by special interests.

michilines said...

While you are diddling in Chicago Althouse (much like our Commander in *don't push me*) you toss off this crap. You know that it could make a difference in the Senate but do you advance an opinion other than whether it is ok to blog about? Nope.

We are at war.

You serve up silliness.

Simon said...

Mackan,
"I shouldn't complain, but I think you mad a significant backstep there."

I don't really think so, but if that's how you want to construe it, I'm open to that.

"by suggesting that the innocent lives lost from abortion are a reason to hope that Democrats die.

It's a reason to hope that they leave office, by whichever door is available. I don't have any objection to people who are personally pro-choice, politically pro-life. ;) Heck, I don't even have an objection, in limited circumstances, to people who are politically pro-choice, legally anti-Roe. ;)

(And, to be honest, I can even respect someone who thinks Roe was wrongly-decided as an original matter but is protected by stare decisis, as long as they have a serious and consistent argument as to why and they aren't a nominee to a federal appellate court or applying for a job that gets to nominate such people).

As to my religion, I have none: I'm agnostic. I don't even have the faith to be an atheist, let alone anything more serious. I'm honestly bemused as to why you'd think that it's impossible to be pro-life without holding any particular religious views; as I explained here, it has to do with your view on when life does (or might) begin.

MadisonMan said...

A centrist is one who agrees with the liberals' goal to of the common man's general welfare, but thinks most of their strategies to do so are either stupid or corrupted by special interests.

That's (a). (b) would add that a centrist agrees with a conservative's goal of minimizing the size and influence of the government, but thinks that most of their strategies are either stupid or corrupted by special interests

Simon said...

John - That's basically just a restatement in other words of what Revenant said!

The partisan moderate said...

I think it is premature to speculate about Senator Johnson's health and is probably in bad taste to do so. That said, I am still going to do it. While in all likelihood the Senator is fine and will return to the Senate in the event that he is not able to do so, South Dakota Governor Rounds (a republican) should name a Democrat as a replacement.

As a Republican, Governor Rounds is under certainly no obligation to do so as past precedent dictates that the governor nominate someone of his/her own party. However, from an ethical standpoint it would not be fair for voters who elected Democratic Senator Johnson (albeit narrowly) to have him replaced by a Republican. Given that current opinion favors Democratic control of the Senate and the recent election demonstrated this, it would be the moral position to appoint a Democrat. I say this reluctantly, as I am a Republican who believes the Republicans are the more effective governing party.

Hopefully, it doesn't come to this and Senator Johnson makes a full recovery.

MadisonMan said...

michilines, I see no profound opinion in your comment, either. Other, than, you know, althouse is bad.

michilines said...

what revenaent said . . . (echo) . . . just what rev said . . (echo)

Rev is the god in human form.

bow down you all.

Simon said...

"from an ethical standpoint it would not be fair for voters who elected Democratic Senator Johnson (albeit narrowly) to have him replaced by a Republican."

Assuming that you mean the voters in South Dakota, those are the same voters who just returned Governor Rounds to office, fully aware that the governor makes appointments in vacancies to the U.S. Senate, 61.7% to 36.1%? Those are the same South Dakota voters who send 51 Republicans and 19 Democrats to the State House and 25 Republicans and 10 Democrats to the State Senate?
Governor Rounds has a mandate from the electorate to execute the duties of his office, which includes appointment of interim senators. Or, if you mean the voters of the national polity more broadly than South Dakota -- well, who cares what they think? Why is that relevant, unless you're one of these Sandy Levinson types who's basically hostile to the federal system?

And for that matter, where was this desparate concern with legitimacy resting when Jim Jeffords jumped parties and handed control of the Senate to the Democrats, despite "current opinion favor[ing] [Republican] control of the Senate and [a] recent election demonstrat[ing] th[at]"?

michilines said...

Vacation time is sweet. I put in one more day tomorrow and then -- the academic life.

Wait, Althouse proves the negative about academics every time she blogs.

Wait, Tom DeLay won't care because Althouse has taken "blogging" to HNL.

You acolytes natter on while your high priestest moonshines in ChiTown.

Makes sense.

The partisan moderate said...

Let me be very clear, I think what Jim Jeffords did stunk. What he should have done was resign his seat and run for re-election similar to what Phil Gramm did when he switched parties.

As for your comment about Governor Rounds' reelection, I will have to disagree with his mandate. The Governor was reelected for state issues and not federal. I hardly think that Rhode Island constituents would appeciate their Republican governor appointing a Republican Senator if one of their current Senators had to be replaced.

While South Dakota is a red state, voters chose a Democrat for that seat and their wishes should be respected. When voters go to the voting booth, few if any, vote based on the possibility which almost never happens that the governor will have the power to appoint their Senator. If people voted based on this power of appoint few Republican governors would be elected in blue states and vice versa.

michilines said...

Simon, you are a nutter extrodinair.

Excuse me while I see that you have reconstructed the election.

weiner.

Get your boy Cheney up in front of the Senate, now, ok.

Oh wait you can't. Can;t find him.

Brace yourself for the numbers in the morning. Iraqis dead. U.S. dead. The numbers come every morning.

michilines said...

similar to what Phil Gramm did when he switched parties.

Completely nutters.

The partisan moderate said...

I don't what completely nutters means.

Anyway, it looks like Senator Johnson's condition is less severe that was initially speculated.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/12/13/D8M09HUG2.html

madawaskan said...

partisan moderate-

I guess it was OK when Georgia did it to their constituents-twice I think.

Then you didn't give a hoot.

Hopefully South Dakota will give their constituents a chance to decide there are many new factors to consider -such is life.

Even though his staff is denying that he had a stroke or a heart attack-something serious is going on-if this report is true-[cannot find a seperate confirmation]

CNN Wire is reporting-

Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota was undergoing brain surgery Wednesday night at George Washington University Hospital after being hospitalized earlier in the day due to stroke-like symptoms, two Democratic sources familiar with his condition told CNN.

This guy needs everyone's prayers, and wishes for the best.

His birthday is Dec. 28th.

Link

The partisan moderate said...

"madawaskan said...

I guess it was OK when Georgia did it to their constituents-twice I think.

Then you didn't give a hoot."

Madawaskan, how would you know whether I cared or didn't care at the time? Don't speculate as to my opinions. Once again, I would have minded that as well. Furthermore, it backfired in one cases as that was way Democrat Zell Miller was appointed. I bet the Democratic Georgia Governor wished he had appointed a Republican in many respects. By the way, are you like 80 years old? Who the heck, uses the word "hoot" that is under 50 except as a joke?

As for Johnson's condition I may stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened, I am sure that everyone here wishes only the best for Senator Johnson and his family.

madawaskan said...

Zell Miller still voted to organize with the Democrats and that was important to the rules, procedures, staffing , and Chairmanships...

Ya I am getting on in years-I was also thinking of John East-who I thought was succeeded immediately by Stanford-but I forgot about Broyhill.

madawaskan said...

East-from North Carolina.

I would hope that neil sinhababu is right-Democrats would trust the people of South Dakota to choose-right?

Revenant said...

Thanks, but no thanks. This is a lousy definition of a centrist, obviously written by a true-believing ideologue.

Um... what ideology is it that I'm supposedly true-believing in?

How about: A centrist views each political issue separately, rather than taking direction from political opinion thugs of the right, left, or any political party.

That's a silly definition of a centrist. For starters, it covers Pat Buchanan, Noam Chomsky, and any other person, no matter how far out on the lunatic fringe, who develops their own political ideas rather than following somebody else's.

Centrists are people who occupy, for whatever reason, the political center. Their reasons for occupying it are irrelevant. Indeed, some centrists are centrists precisely *because* they're followers of someone who occupies the political center.

Or how about: A centrist is one who agrees with the liberals' goal to of the common man's general welfare, but thinks most of their strategies to do so are either stupid or corrupted by special interests.

A person who agrees with liberal goals but realizes that common liberal strategies don't work is just an intelligent liberal. He is not a centrist.

Anonymous said...

Simon,

It is so transparently obvious you are hoping for this man to die so you can get a senate seat for your precious "right to life" party. It's disgusting. Please stop. That's all, my first and last post here.

DRJ said...

I'm not a doctor but Senator Johnson's condition apparently requires brain surgery and that seems serious to me. However, there are excellent doctors in DC that are experienced in treating aneurysms and similar conditions, if that's what this is.

Senator Johnson is a family man who seemed generally healthy, and it would be tragic if he were to die or become seriously incapacitated. I'm a Republican who hopes he makes a quick and full recovery. If Republicans are meant to take over his Senate seat, I hope they do so in the 2008 regular election when his term expires.

Chum said...

'I'm a Republican who hopes he makes a quick and full recovery. If Republicans are meant to take over his Senate seat, I hope they do so in the 2008 regular election when his term expires.'

Well said. Thank you.

Pogo said...

What a shameless town is Washington. He 's already being spoken of in the past tense, with folks projecting the outcome of replacement.

I can't imagine being in this guy's family, where you're merely hoping he opens his eyes, knows you, and speaks, and that Christmas won't become one of those annual holiday reminders of a tragedy.

I understand that strategists need to think this stuff. But not out loud, please.

Simon said...

partisan moderate said...
"As for your comment about Governor Rounds' reelection, I will have to disagree with his mandate. The Governor was reelected for state issues and not federal.

Not really - Governor Rounds was elected to the position of Governor of South Dakota - a job which includes many functions, including the quasi-federal function at issue here. You have to assume - even if it is but the most tenuous legal fiction - that when voters act, they do so understanding the powers of the office and the aptness of the candidate to exercise those powers.

I have to say, I might feel somewhat differently if Johnson had just won his seat this year. I suppose that in that situation, you might be able to claim that he has a fresh and immediate mandate from the voters that creates a moral incumbency on the Governor to appoint a Democrat, in much the same way as it was the right thing to do to appoint Jean Carnahan in Missouri in 2000. But that situation was not this situation, and to the extent that the Governor has any "moral obligation" to go either way, if the worst happens, it is at very lesat not as clear cut as you suggest.

As to whether that interim appointment lasts 90 days or two years, that is a matter of statutory construction, and one that I have no doubt will be fully litigated by Democrats if Johnson leaves office (voluntarily or otherwise) and Rounds appoints a Republican (or a Democrat of insufficient ideological purity for the base, such as elevating Stephanie Herseth to the Senate, a compromise I'd be willing to consider).

michilines - coming from you, that means almost nothing. Same goes for grizz - I made my position quite clear upthread, and it is not as you characterize it to be.

The partisan moderate said...

Madawaskan, I wanted to apologize for my snide comment. However, I still think you are wrong about the Zell Miller appointment. Originally, when he was appointed the Republicans still controlled the Senate so the Democrats didn't get any committee chairs or additional staff or any of the other perks that come with being in the majority.

For a short time span of a year (after Jeffords unexpectedly switched), the Democrats got to control the Senate. This probably actually the Republicans in the 2002 midterms and this period may have led in part to Daschle's defeat in 2004. While I believe, a Republican and not Miller should have been the replacement, Miller became the biggest thorn in the Democratic leadership's side and ended up being the keynote speaker at the Republican convention.

Simon, I never said the issue was "clear-cut". I said tradition dictates nominating someone from your own party. I, however, made a suggestion based on what I saw as the right thing to do. You are free to disagree with me, just don't put words in my mouth.

BTW, I don't think the Democrats would have any problem with Herseth. She is probably more liberal than Johnson (she just has to run every two years) and Democrats couldn't possibly expect a 100% voting record from a Democrat in a red state. Your suggestion might even be a good compromise as Republicans would likely pick up her House seat and have a decent shot and replacing her in 2008.

That said, let me reiterate that I hope and expect Johnson to make a full recovery and serve out his term.

John(classic) said...

Sen. Johnson's term will expire in January of 2009.


(5) "General election," the vote required to be taken in each voting precinct of the state on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year;

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. If either a primary or general election is to be held within six months, an election to fill a vacancy in the office of representative in the United States Congress shall be held in conjunction with that election, otherwise the election shall be held not less than eighty nor more than ninety days after the vacancy occurs.
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.
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.
12-11-6. No special election if appointed senator's term expires at normal time. No special election, to fill a vacancy, may be held if the term of office of the appointed senator expires in the month of January immediately following the next general election that would occur after the vacancy.
12-11-7. Vacancy within ninety days of general election--Concurrent elections. If a vacancy occurs within ninety days of the next general election, the special election to fill the vacancy shall be held concurrently with the general election to be held two years later.

12-11-8. Nominations for specially elected senator--Vacancy near primary election. Nominations of candidates for the special election for senator shall be conducted pursuant to chapter 12-6. If a vacancy occurs within ninety days of the date of the primary election, or between the primary election and at least ninety days prior to the general election, the provisions of §§ 12-11-2 and 12-11-3 shall apply.

Henry said...

As a centrist, I hope Johnson recovers and then switches parties.

Simon, you are equating a tangible evil -- wishing death upon an innocent person -- with the intangible possibility of future evil, several times removed from that individual. I don't see the remotest moral contest between those two points.

David said...

"Given that current opinion favors Democratic control of the Senate and the recent election demonstrated this, it would be the moral position to appoint a Democrat"

The Gov represents the state as a whole. Senators represent their state at the Federal level. They do not represent national will at the Federal level. Their representaion of state issues forms the national will in a very real sense.

Why would it not be reasonable for the Gov to appoint a Repub if he believes that person will best represent SD at the federal level?

Simon said...

David,
And for that matter, even if one allowed that the Governor should bow to popular sentiment, the only popular sentiment he can possibly bow to is that in South Dakota. The last time anyone asked South Dakotans who should represent them in the United States Senate, they picked a Republican - John Thune, in 2004. And for that matter, the last time South Dakotans went to the polls to express a preference for Republicans or Democrats, they overwhelmingly endorsed Republicans, as I noted upthread, including Rounds himself. So even if the argument that Rounds must defer to popular sentiment is taken seriously, it isn't immediately clear that it isn't a red herring, or at least, a fig leaf to cover up the desire to retain the majority.

I have a question for the people who believe that Gov. Rounds should bow to this supposed national sentiment in favor of Democratic control of the Senate by appointing a Democrat if Johnson retires. And I ask it assuming, arguendo, that such national sentiment exists, and even setting aside, arguendo, the fact that the Senate is specifically designed, by its membership being split into three classes elected at different times, to frustrate such national sentiment. Do you also support the idea floated recently that a handful of the largest states should club together and pledge their votes in the electoral college to the winner of the national popular vote, thereby effectively (and unconstitutionally) seeking to abolish the electoral college? That is, are you the same people who share Sandy Levinson's utter contempt for the premise that we are a federal republic, and who desire to basically abolish the Constitution and go to a direct democracy system?

The Exalted said...

there is no rule that states the SD governor has to replace a democrat with a democrat - in fact, i think its always assumed that in such a case the executive will choose a member of his/her own party.

if johnson had been re-elected in the most recent cycle with a "mandate" (meaning not a 528 vote razor edge), then i could see the argument that he should, at the least, appoint a moderate republican.

Simon said...

Exalted -
"[I]f johnson had been re-elected in the most recent cycle with a 'mandate' (meaning not a 528 vote razor edge), then [I] could see the argument that he should, at the least, appoint a moderate republican."

Yeah, as I said upthread, I basically agree with that, in principle.

The Exalted said...

simon,

probably the first and last time we agree --

how do you do the 'upthread' move?

Simon said...

Exalted,
I think we've agreed on things before, and I expect we'll agree on things again. It's just that the stuff on which we're usually animated to comment, we differ on. :)

As to in-thread links. It's a bit of a pain in the ass to do, but what you want to do is this: in the "reading" view, if you like, beneath every comment, there's a time and date stamp that is a link. Right-click on the link, select "copy link location" (in Internet explorer, I think it's "copy shortcut"), and paste that into the address bas. For your last comment, for example, that's going to look like this:

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2006/12/it-might-be-in-bad-taste-but.html#116621367537080095

The bit that you want is the hash (#) and everything following it. What you need to do is to add a c after the hash, and that's the link. So again, in the example above, you want to reduce that link to:

#c116621367537080095

Now use that target as you would any other link, that is, < a href = "
#c116621367537080095 " > (obviously without the extraneous spaces). Hope that helps.

The Exalted said...

Exalted,
I think we've agreed on things before, and I expect we'll agree on things again. It's just that the stuff on which we're usually animated to comment, we differ on. :)


heh i like that

thanks for the tip