The latest form of political theater descending on D.C. is the crying of crocodile tears. And this season's nominations for biggest mock drops are destined to be swept by Beltway players in their demonstration of their fake concern for South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson. Phony sanctimony has long been a staple of the American way of life. Each of us had an aunt whose major talent was feigning fawning sympathy. Usually she had a mole.
Mine was Aunt Hoogolah who loved to amplify the distress of other family members hoping to drop her daughter's ranking on the screw-up chart indelibly chalked on relatives' minds. Sorry for the convoluted syntax there, but trying to adhere to the embargo on use of the term "black sheep" until the Michael Richards on-stage flip-out has been superseded by another celebrity meltdown. Once the Mel Gibson torch has been passed.
Right now our newspapers and televisions are witnessing such a flurry of fake solicitude they should be handing out snow blowers. Mostly I'm talking about the excruciating sympathy leaking out of the mouths of political pundits everywhere, expressing commiseration for Tim Johnson's medical situation in their most grave and sincere voice. For ten seconds. Then high pitched squeals as they excitedly speculate for the rest of the show on possible ramifications resulting from his imminent demise.
"Our prayers go out to him and his family. (Short pause, turn to center camera). But if, God forbid, he does die, we trust Governor Mike Rounds will do the right thing and appoint a Republican to fill his seat bringing the Senate back to dead even. No pun intended. Then when Vice President Dick Cheney breaks the 50- 50 tie, the America loving GOP will retain control of the senior branch of Congress and the sun will shine and birds will fly, but not a single George Bush directed subpoena will."
Of course, short of dying, which Senator Johnson undoubtedly prefers avoiding, it's unlikely he will abdicate his Senate seat. Historically, physical or mental incapacitation has never been a big handicap to the normal operating procedures of the Most Deliberative Body In The World. Let's not forget Senator Strom Thurmond whose major accomplishment the last four years of his life was to keep the drool from pooling in his lap. C'mon, are you really serving the government when Willard Scott is wishing you happy birthday?
As to suspicions of some sort of hanky panky going on with the sudden onset of Senator Johnson's malady, I'm of the opinion that Republicans will do anything to hang onto power. Whatever it takes. And if similarities to the Vladimir Putin/ Alexander Litvenenko scene do show up, you know with the whole radioactive sushi deal, I semi- seriously propose we zero in on a Republican Senator in a Democratic state and attempt to retrieve the status quo.
A twist on the old Sean Connery "Untouchable" philosophy. "If they pull polonium 210 on you, you pull Americium 241 on them. If they put one of yours under the knife of a neurosurgeon, you put one of theirs under the wheels of a Peterbilt, that's the Democratic Way and that's how you get Trent Lott." This also applies to Independent Senators. From Connecticut. Who suddenly decide to become Republican. For any reason. At all. Mister Joementum.