Now it was announced that the ulcer was caused by B-Cell lymphoma,….. stomach cancer.
The Senator will undergo chemotherapy treatments and as was the case with his earlier discovered ulcer, Doctors say the cancer is treatable and that the Senator will have a complete recovery.
Let us hope so.
Regardless of differences of political opinion, as a Senator, Frank Lautenberg has made sacrifices. Life in the public eye requires sacrifice and it also opens one up to criticism of everything they do in life. So those of you who do not think that serving in high elected office is work and requires sacrifices, try living your life on a national stage and having every move you make scrutinized and used against you. I do not write this in the hope that you have sympathy for your public officials but empathy is a different story.
So while I do not like Frank Lautenberg’s politics or political conduct, I do hope that the Frank Lautenberg whom I have not known personally, the Frank Lautenberg that is a friend and father, I hope he has a full, speedy and painless recovery.
But on the political side there exists some concerns here. Especially in light of a remark made by a Lautenberg spokesman when he stated that the 86-year-old Senator will finish out his current term and plans to run for reelection in 2014.
At 86, in 2014, Senator Lautenberg will be 90. At the end of a record 6th term, Lautenberg would be 96 years old.
Now Frank Lautenberg had already retired from the senate in 2000. But then in 2002, after Democrat Senator Robert Torricelli was censured by the Senate for ethics charges, Torricelli was losing his own reelection to Republican Doug Forrester. So with only 30 days to go before the election, Democrats convinced Torricelli to pull out of the race and allow another Democrat to run in his place.
The problem though, was that according to election law, candidates could not be replaced on the ballot at any point that was thirty days or less before the election date.
So the case went to court.
In the mean time Democrats found Frank Lautenberg to be the only Democrat who had the popularity and name ID that could beat the Republican nominee, Doug Forrester, in a thirty day campaign. So they pulled him out of mothballs and decided to have him take Toriicelli’s place on the ballot.
In the end, the state supreme court ruled that although it was against the law to switch candidates this late in the game, the need for there to be two candidates on the ballot who were actually running, meant that insuring that the democratic process went on, overrode the law that prevented any party from switching candidates this late in the game. So in what was quite an historic decision, a state supreme court set presedence and sanctioned the breaking of the law.
30 days later, Frank Lautenberg won the election and assumed his nonconsecutive, fourth term in office. In 2008 he was elected to his fifth term and now he is talking about his sixth term.
Senator Lautenberg has already been seen as bit overwhelmed by his job. Until he began his campaign for reelection in 2008, you really had to look hard for any signs of life from the Senator. And during that campaign, he often came across with rambling statements that at best, sounded incoherent.
Now the octogenarian Senator who served three terms, retired, and was brought out of retirement and allowed to run for a fourth term under very controversial conditions, is falling down with stomach ulcers and being treated for cancer.
This Monday, a crucial vote on a jobs bill will be taking place. For Democrats, Frank Lautenberg’s vote is crucial in allowing them to cut off debate and proceed to a vote. But the aging and ailing Senator will not be able to assist them.
Democrats are now playing a dangerous and unscrupulous political game. They did this before with Frank Lautenberg when they illegally replaced his name on the ballot when it looked like they were going to lose with the candidate they had legally nominated. Now nine years later, they are attempting to keep the seat in Democrat hands even if the Democrat serving can not effectively represent his constituents in Washington.
Now that Republican Chris Christie is Governor, Republicans will fill any vacancy in the senate. So Democrats will do everything possible to insure that that does not happen. Even if it means keeping the seat warm with an aging and ailing, formerly retired, Senator who can’t properly represent the people of his state.
Is this just partisan politics or is it pathetic? I think it is both.
But control of the United States Senate could be in the balance here. With midterm election projections showing as many as eight to ten seats possibly switching from Democrat to Republican hands, every seat will be essential to their hold on power. If Frank Lautenberg’s health forced him to resign, that additional loss could seal the deal and put the G.O.P. in control of the Senate.
With candidates like Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold trailing people like Republican Tommy Thompson, Barbara Boxer of California having very close numbers against her likely opponent, the retirements of North Dakota’s Byron Dorgan and Indiana’s Evan Bayh, the possible retirement of Maryland’s Barbara Mikulski, a bloody Democrat primary against Kirstin Gillibrand in New York, and seemingly likely losses in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Colorado, Nevada, Arkansas, North Dakota, Delaware and Indiana and Illinois, the loss of a seat in New Jersey is frightening the hell out of Democrats and they will do everything they can to prop Frank Lautenberg up no matter how ineffective, incoherent or incapacitated he is.
The question becomes, is that really for the good of the people? Is this need to hold on to power at all costs, really in the best interest of the people of New Jersey or the nation as a whole?
But to make matters even more politically distasteful and shady, a bill sponsored by Sate Assemblyman John McKeon, an Essex County Democrat, seeks to change the law that Democrats benfited from and now require the Governor of New Jersey to temporarily fill U.S. Senate vacancies with a members of the same party as the person whose seat they fill.
Desperate people really do call for desperate meaures.