I take no joy in pointing this out, but voters in South Dakota and West Virginia ought to be aware that Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid believes that their Senators are not up to the demands of the job:
The shift also hinges on Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) stepping down as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which aides say is included in the proposed changes. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) would replace him. Byrd, who turns 91 in November, has been hospitalized three times this year and some have questioned if he is capable of leading the committee…
If Dodd does give up the Banking Committee, the responsibility is likely to fall to Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) instead of the next-most senior Democrat, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who suffered a stroke in December 2006 and returned to the Senate in September 2007. Underscoring the delicacy of the changes being considered, senators themselves are stridently avoiding any comment.
From the little I have seen of Senator Johnson in recent months, it seems that he suffers no lasting effects from his stroke other than a speech impediment. Here he is speaking in South Dakota yesterday:
Whatever his appearance however, it seems that Senator Reid believes that he and Bob Byrd are unable to discharge all the powers and duties that accrue to their offices. That’s something that the people of South Dakota should be aware of before they go to the polls.