South Dakota Tim Johnson, 59, is fighting for his life in a Washington, D.C. hospital after a congenital defect called AVM caused dangerous bleeding in his brain. Had the rupture occurred in his sleep, he would have quietly slipped away. While he recuperates, we all lift him up in prayer. His health scare threatens Democratic control of the Senate and reveals that the slimness of the one seat Democratic majority rests on men and women over seventy years of age. If Senator Johnson loses his fight, South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds, a Republican will choose his replacement and Senate control will be determined by the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Dick Cheney.
The health of other Democratic Senators in states Governed by Republicans is also at issue. Some of them are getting extremely long in the tooth. In particular, are Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii. Senator Akaka, 82, was just re-elected to a six-year term after fending off the aggressive primary challenge of former Congressman Ed Case, 54. If I had a vote in Hawaii, I would have put Senator Akaka out to pasture. Senator Inouye, 82, was just re-elected in 2004 to a six year term ending when he will be 86, Akaka, 88. These two should have gone home and stayed there some years back. I know a lot of spry oldsters still fleet of foot and clear of mind but I would not recommend that they be serving in the U.S. Senate.
Health is unpredictable no matter what your age, it just becomes increasingly so after 75. Dianne Feinstein 73, was just re-elected to a six year term that concludes when she is 79. Apparently, she intends to die in the saddle with her heels on. Senator Johnson is not the only Democratic member of the Senate we should be praying for.