See this editorial from the Argus Leader:
Johnson should assure voters he can perform job
By Randy E. Amundson
Published: May 5, 2007
I am puzzled regarding Sen. Tim Johnson's failure to speak his thoughts on some of the issues of the day. I understand that he suffered a serious brain aneurism. For that I am as sorry as the next person. It would not be my wish for that to happen to anyone. It did, however, happen to Johnson.
My problem is the almost total disconnect between the senator and his constituents since the aneurism [sic]. In the position of trust that the people of South Dakota have placed him, he doesn't have the privilege to neglect his constitutional duties to his state and his country. He, rather, has the duty to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.He hasn't been protecting anything but his privacy since his malady.
We have been assured that things are on the mend with Johnson. If that is the case, the senator might consider a news conference or an occasional press release to assure those of us who are represented by him that he is in fact on the road back to productivity.
My suspicion is that the senator's condition is much more serious than he or his staff has seen fit to admit. This South Dakotan is not comfortable when elected officials put themselves and their ideology above the best interest of those they represent.
Back in the good old days, the same thing happened with then-Sen. Karl Mundt. Mundt's handling of the situation wasn't any better for the citizens of South Dakota than Johnson's has been. Many will say that turnabout is fair play. I say balderdash! Isn't it about time that an elected official went out of his or her way for the voters?
The selfish, power-hungry nature of politicians today leaves nothing for this citizen to be proud of. Maybe it is time that all elected officials stepped to the plate and actually went to bat for those to whom they owe their careers.
It's time that Johnson leveled with the voters of South Dakota. Is he capable of representing us in the not-too-distant future? If so, he should extend us the courtesy of letting us know when we can expect him to start earning his salary. When can we expect Johnson to be able to handle the rigors of Washington to the point where he can start casting votes on the issues that are affecting our day-to-day lives?
I wasn't too sure that the voters of South Dakota actually elected him in the days following his last election. His opponent accepted the fact that there was a sufficient vote margin in favor of Johnson, and he was awarded the job. If he is able to perform his duties, now or very soon would be the time to do so. If he isn't up to it, now would be the most appropriate time for him to let us know.
We have been patient, but this citizen, for one, is rapidly losing that patience.
God bless Senator Johnson. I hope he recovers. I also hope he sees the need to inform his loyal constituency of his condition and his intentions to serve.