is what lies in store should Senator Tim Johnson (D-The Wire Hanger State) fail to hang on. A United States Senator does not automatically lose his seat unless he dies (or in John Ashcroft’s case, loses to a dead man) or resigns. Therefore, Mr. Johnson, who suffers from a rare heart disorder that pronounced itself about two weeks ago, driving him to unconscionsness (and a possible coma) is not about to leave the Senate just yet.

Yet the Repubarbarians are literally at the gate, openly praying for death or resignation. (Shocked? Don’t you remember Jerry Falwell praying for a death on the Supreme Court? He actually didn’t care whom God offed, so long as the replacement would do his bidding). Why? Simple math, of course. As of today, Democrats control the Senate, 51-49. Should Johnson die or resign, Governor Mike Rounds (R-Mouth Foaming Bigot) gets to appoint a new Senator, one to serve until 2008. No points for guessing from which party that person will come. In that event, the Senate is deadlocked, 50-50, with Darth Cheinous casting the tie-breaking vote. The last time the Senate was split was 2001 through a brief period of 2002. The two parties agreed shortly before the tied incoming Senate took its place that the Republicans would control the Senate, but the Committee assignments would be split equally. As you might recall, this arrangement gave the Democrats nothing. Which is of course why the Republicans will not enter into it again – because they won’t settle for nothing – they’ll only settle if the other side gets less than nothing.

So, I send my fetid prayers tonight in the direction of South Dakota, toward Tim Johnson. I can’t say I like the guy – he was the first and only one of four Democrats to vote for Supreme Court hack Samuel Alito – but I am praying that he doesn’t die or resign. So, Tim, please hear my prayer: please don’t die or resign. And if you do resign, can you please do it AFTER you’re dead?

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