Should we worry about Johnny Isakson’s health?

Isakson 2016

Senator Johnny Isakson has been in politics since 1974. Is 42 years too long in office?

I don’t personally dislike Senator Johnny Isakson. From most accounts he appears to be a genuinely nice man. However, I strongly disagree with nearly all his votes and feel he has served too long. Georgians are overwhelming discontent with Capitol Hill — with a 74 percent disapproval of the job Congress has been doing. Johnny Isakson is especially vulnerable with Donald Trump as the GOP nominee. He also has some serious health concerns which may impact his ability to serve a full six year term.

Johnny Isakson’s  record on terrorism and gun violence votes are abysmal. He has voted against LGBT equality 100 percent of the time. He voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Johnny Isakson’s record on women and equality is equally dismal. He voted  against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that would make it easier for women to challenge unfair and illegal pay, and voted to block legislation to protect a woman’s right to contraceptive coverage and prevent employers from interfering in their employees’ private health decisions.

This career politician (first elected in 1974) has an estimated war chest around $6 million so I know the odds are stacked against his Democratic opponent Jim Barksdale. But we must remind Georgia voters that his positions are out of step with a forward looking Georgia. One need only look at what he let happen to the Veteran’s Administration while he has been Chairman of that Committee to show how ineffectual he has been. Even with his atrocious record as a do-nothing Senator, I also realize it will be an uphill slog to get an incumbent Republican voted out of office in Georgia. In this article I hope to articulate why it is so vitally important for the future of Georgia that he gets voted out come November.  

Johnny Isakson appears very frail and gaunt

A Republican primary opponent named Grayson repeatedly said Isakson won’t complete a third term if re-elected in November. I can’t say I disagree with that assessment. Although that may be an uncomfortable subject to discuss, it is also critically important and pertinent come November when we go to the polls. How many years can Isakson realistically be expected to serve?  

Of all of the incumbent Senators who were up for re-election in 2016, Isakson was out in front about confirming his intent to run almost the minute the 2014 elections were over. A few months later, Senator Isakson also announced he’s battling Parkinson’s disease, which is the latest in a long line of medical maladies he’s bravely fought while in office.

It is very sad that he has a chronic condition like Parkinson’s that will progressively get worse, but at the same time the job of United States Senator is terribly demanding. By choosing to run again he is not only risking his own health but also ensuring that Georgia won’t have as effective a Senator as one younger and in better health. But beyond Parkinson’s I have also noticed he appears to have rapidly aged in just the last few years. I have read numerous reports that claim Senator Isakson was a heavy smoker and reeked of cigarettes in elevators. His rapid aging would certainly be consistent with a long-time smoker. Is it possible that his rapid aging and his gaunt appearance are more related to cigarette smoking than the debilitation of Parkinson’s disease? Judge for yourself in the photos below how rapidly he has aged in just the last few years. He looks closer to 90 than 72 so this is a very serious question we need to ask. 

Isakson timeline dates

Notice an extremely rapid aging of Isakson in just a few short years.

Even if Isakson were in perfect health (which he most certainly isn’t), we have to remember he will be 72 years old at the start of his next term if re-elected and has been a politician over four decades. Isn’t a forty-two career as a politician long enough? I would be beyond shocked if Isakson is able to serve out his full-term until 2022 and voters need to be aware of this probability. If Isakson is forced to resign or dies in office, Nathan Deal will appoint his replacement. I wouldn’t be surprised if he appointed himself. But failing that you can be sure with his record of appointing inept cronies to the Board of Regents we can be confident it wouldn’t be someone that would be elected by voters. But beyond his poor health, let’s examine his record in the Senate.

Johnny Isakson has been a disaster in the Senate

Many falsely claim that Isakson is a “moderate” but the facts say otherwise. Johnny Isakson has among the most anti-gay voting records in Congress during his tenure, has voted repeatedly against womens’ issues from their right to choose to equal pay legislation, and has consistently voted against raising the debt ceiling.

Isakson won re-election in 2010 over Mike Thurmond with 58% of the vote, in spite of a controversy where he met with the candidate challenging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for his seat in Nevada, Sharron Angle, and described her speech to the Senate Republican Caucus as the kind of speech “she wouldn’t give to the unwashed back home” Wiktionary says it refers to the “unwashed”  as “The collective group (‘mass’) of people who are considered by someone to be somehow uneducated, uninformed, or in some other way unqualified for inclusion in the speaker’s elite circles.” This is how he refers to the voters he is supposed to serve. This is exactly the comment you would expect from a country club Georgia Republican. 

Isakson has a long  career of harmful and puzzling votes. Here are just a few:

These last two votes are perhaps the most disappointing of all. A majority of Americans say they want stricter gun laws – but (NRA) money speaks louder than words. Gun enthusiasts also outnumber calling Senators 200-1. They speak up and they speak loudly. Nothing will change until the majority of Americans speak out as loudly and let our voices be heard by calling and voting. We are the true silent majority which is why Congress is so afraid to act. At the very least we owe all the lives lost in Orlando, San Bernardino, CA, Umpqua Community College in Oregon, and in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Connecticut a promise to vote out NRA purchased Senators like Johnny Isakson. 

Remember these Senators who voted no to @ChrisMurphyCT‘s background check bill. #VoteThemOut in November. 

NRA senators

Senators purchased by the NRA. Notice Johnny Isakson has received over $100,000