Senator Tim Johnson & Polonium-210
Having said this, the political implications of this situation are immense.
Heading into the start of the January 2007 US Congress, the Democrats hold a 51-49 seat majority in the Senate. If Johnson is unable to be seated next month that majority would fall to 50-49. Next, if North Dakota Governor John Hoeven (who is a Republican) chose a Republican appointee as Johnson's replacement to the Senate seat the Democrat/Republican seats would be deadlocked at 50-50, with the Republican Vice-President Dick Cheney, as the deciding vote favoring the Republicans.
No doubt that someone will soon be speculating that Johnson's illness is the result of some sinister dirty trick from the mind of Karl Rove, probably involving Polonium-210 or something even more exotic.
The truth is, of course, that politics, like life itself, is not an exact science. My life, your life and the life of Tim Johnson do not necessarily submit to the desires of those who love us, hate us, vote for us or vote against us.
Life, while fragile and uncertain, is generally considered to be either a gift (for most religious believer) or a possession that is to be preferred and preserved over and against its opposite, which is death.
I would hope that all Americans, regardless of political persuasion, would join me in praying for Tim Johnson to be alive and well and back in the US Senate this coming January.