POLITICS
02/06/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

2009 Rung In With Unfinished Electoral Business

The 2008 Election! It was supposed to end in, what? 2008 or something? So that we could prepare for March's Iowa caucuses and stuff? These were the furtive dreams of an electorate choked with Hope and Change. But, as you know, this is not what has happened at all, as your Congress has convened with gaping holes and pending decisions. In case you've tuned out (and who could blame you), let's get you caught up on all the extant drama.

Roland Burris
No one outside of Illinois had ever heard of Roland Burris until Patrick Fitzgerald published the transcripts of wiretaps he had dropped on Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, which suggested that Blago was running his own political eBay operation to determine who would be taking over Barack Obama's Senate seat. At the time, the press managed to work itself into high dudgeon over TEH TAINTZ, TEH TAINTZ! This was because they figured they'd be able to catch the President-elect up in the mess, and really, who in the traditional media doesn't like the idea of a pre-Inaugural scalp of President Keep-It-Cool? Blago sized up his options, recognized the press for the pack of fickle dweebs that they are, and figured his best option was to "change the conversation."

So, in a surreal press conference, he appointed Roland Burris and now the media is basically operating under the notion that the only thing that will disrupt the Triangle Trade of rum, sugar and slaves is his successful placement in the Senate. The latest chapter in this magical tale came today, when Burris showed up for work without the necessary credentials and was shown the door. A legal process will play out, with Burris maintaining that the Senate has no basis for denying him the seat, and the Senate maintaining otherwise, but all of that is simply a tactic meant to delay things long enough for Blago to get impeached and a new Governor to appoint a new Senator, who will now inevitably be an African-American because, really, who needs more grief from Bobby Rush?

Harry Reid is thus betting that he can hold out long enough for Illinois to hold successful impeachment proceedings, which, if what we know now of Illinois politics can be of any guide, will probably take the rest of our lives. It's a dumb wager, especially for somebody from Nevada.

Al Franken
Unlike Roland Burris, Minnesota Senate contender Al Franken prevailed in an actual election where actual votes were counted, contested, and recounted. But Senator John Cornyn, best known for a YouTube video where he pretended to be in some sort old-timey Wild West Revue, threatened to use the filibuster to block Franken from being seated. And Norm Coleman is filing suit in Minnesota's Supreme Court, seeking relief from being relieved of his Senate seat.

The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, as is their wont, have officially endorsed the notion that the decision to certify Franken the winner is fraudulent and founded in pro-Franken bias. But YOUR NEW GOD Nate Silver of the spectacular and oracular FiveThirtyEight.com, has taken issue with their reasoning, as is his wont. The gist is, Coleman's lawsuit means you can expect this matter to be resolved sometime between now and Armageddon, when at last, the Lizard People will rise in service of their master, Rod Blagojevich.

Caroline Kennedy
The fate of Hillary Clinton's New York Senate seat is also still up in the air, and Caroline Kennedy is still the odds-on favorite to both fill AND not fill the seat. The whole thing has become a quantum thought exercise, where Schroedinger's Cat is seeking an appointment to the Box, where it may or may not be killed by constant comparisons to Sarah Palin. Kennedy has neither disqualified herself for the office or successfully made a good case for why she'd make a good Senator. There are people in the media who seem to want to shepherd her way to the seat and others who'd like to kneecap her chances. No one has really handled the matter all that well, and despite all the furtive campaigning for the post, ultimately, the decision is in the hands of New York Governor David Paterson. I'm inclined to trust Paterson, because the man has already shown good judgement in his decision to pardon Slick Rick. I defy anyone to dispute the wisdom of this.

Anyway, I'm actually a little surprised that no one's run one of those "what if" thought pieces that details what the state of play might be today if Eliot Spitzer had remained the Governor of New York. And by the way, don't think for a minute that Spitzer hasn't already mulled the possibility of going after this seat in the future. Seriously, you watch: he hates writing at Slate, could maintain a certain amount of credibility if real Wall Street regulation fails to materialize out of the Obama administration, and let's face it - diaper wearing prostituter David Vitter still stalks the Senate. Don't be surprised if Spitzer returns to power, and doom America with his support of hooker-schtupping Terminators.

The RNC Chairmanship
Oh, and during all this while, the Republicans have been trying to decide which party official will be selected to lead the GOP either out of or further into oblivion. Prior to the New Year, the concern was whether it was a good idea for a potential RNC Chair to be circulating satiric songs that refer to Barack Obama as a "Magic Negro." But now, the campaign has devolved into an internecine battle over which candidate for the post has the most Facebook friends. So, yeah. There's that.

Of course, there are other matters, such as who will take over for Bill Richardson at Commerce, now that he's withdrawn under a cloud, and who will take over Rahm Emanuel's House seat. But let's acknowledge the good work of the people of Colorado and Delaware, who managed their transitions without gaping, time-consuming bloodbaths.