Some time ago, and more than one time, I predicted that Tim Johnson would not run for reelection. My prediction was based on all available evidence, sound reasoning, and common sense. Apparently, it was also wrong.
As my colleague, Dr. Schaff was quick to announce, ABC News reports that Tim Johnson will run again. I am indeed surprised by this decision, but it puts his recent press dealings in an interesting light. Johnson has been criticized by many bloggers, including my Keloland colleague, Pat Powers, for keeping the local media in the dark while secretly talking to ABC. Now, if I were a real journalist in the region, like the folks at the Argus and Keloland, I would feel a little bit miffed. But I don't think there is much of a case here. Allowing ABC to follow his recovery, while otherwise maintaining his privacy, is reasonably justified on grounds of educating the public about this type of brain injury.
I would just add that Johnson and his staff are also practicing politics at the same time, which is their job seeing as how Johnson is a politician. If he really is running again, his condition is both a potential liability (if people come to doubt his competence), and a source of unparalleled power. If Johnson continues to look able, he has probably turn his strong chances of reelection into a near certainty.
Senator Johnson's admirers see that they have a good shot at having it both ways: Tim is perfectly fit to serve again, and anyone who criticizes him is kicking a wounded man. If I were managing his campaign, I'd be tempted to play it that way. But its not really the best thing for an honest campaign. If the Senator says he is fit to serve, I am ready to take him at his word. Those who suggest that any criticism of the Senator, that any demand for more information about his condition is somehow vicious, are merely exploiting his troubles for their own agendas.