But this is the news, from the AP story in your Chicago Tribune, that caught my attention:
Gov. Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, will appoint a successor from one of three finalists chosen by the state Republican party.By contrast, this was the story from the AP when Democratic Senator Tim Johnson was downed by a stroke:
The South Dakota senator, 59, suffered from bleeding in the brain caused by a congenital malformation, the U.S. Capitol physician said. He described the surgery as successful. The condition, usually present at birth, causes tangled blood vessels that can burst unexpectedly later in life.Ever wonder how the political party with popular political positions keeps losing to the party with unpopular positions?
Democrats hold a fragile 51-49 margin in the new Senate that convenes Jan. 4. If Johnson leaves the Senate, the Republican governor of South Dakota could appoint a Republican to fill the remaining two years of Johnson's term - keeping the Senate in GOP hands with Vice President Dick Cheney's tie-breaking power.
Let me suggest that a self-inflicted toxic level of courtesy is partly to blame.
Remember when Rahm Emmanuel suggested "off-cycle" redistricting in Illinois as payback for Tom Delay's Republican redistricting in Texas?
Mr Emanuel said he did not like the idea of changing the rules "in the middle of the game". But he had been pushing for Democrats in his home state of Illinois to consider the move, to retaliate against Republicans.In other words, the Democrats didn't want to be rude to Denny Hastert -- the man who not only put party politics before "the institution of Congress" but also put his own pecuniary gain ahead of the institution's integrity.
Illinois Democrats met this week to discuss the matter and "there wasn't really a consensus for going forward", he said, adding that they wanted to put the institution of Congress ahead of party politics. Concern about such a frontal assault on Dennis Hastert the Illinois Republican who is speaker of the House and a chief architect of the state's current map was also a factor.
I have nothing but contempt for the GOP's underhanded methods and I don't propose that the Democrats adopt them. But Democrats must understand that the Republican party operates in an underhanded manner and stop pretending that all parties are politely playing nice.
Democrats should always play fair, but it's long, long past time to stop playing nice.