What happens when a one man party loses its one man? The Prime Minister's dash to hospital last night had and continues to have the potential to change the political map overnight. Although it seems from today's reports that it's business as usual, the incident comes as a stark reminder, if any was needed that the PM is not a young man and, given the stress that he is under (both due to his job and his physique), his health is certainly not to be taken for granted.
What would happen if Sharon were to be incapable of continuing? We'd be left in a situation where his new party, built in his image, would be leaderless and rudderless - although the law has been changed, it will be Arik Sharon that people will have in mind at the next election when they cast their vote and not the Kadima list, thus effectively people are casting their vote for the PM and not for the party. Were he not there - would Kadima garner any worthwhile support?
The alternatives are pretty grim - his deputy within Kadima is Ehud Olmert who has weedled himself into a position of power - but doesn't seem to me to be Prime Ministerial material. With the outcome of the Likud leadership battle still uncertain but pointing to Bibi, the alternative from that direction is not earth shatteringly exciting and the less said about Amir Peretz's challenge and what it could mean for the country the better.
Given these possible candidates, my inclination is to pray for a Refuah Shelemah and Arichut Yamim for Arik (although I'm sure that Peres is waiting in the wings....)