After Blagojevich revealed on "Good Morning America" that he considered offering the Senate seat to Oprah Winfrey -- Is this true? Does it even matter? -- Oprah herself said she was dumbfounded by the news and had no idea her name was ever in the running (and that she never would have taken the job anyway).
Later, Blagojevich went on "The View," which gave us the surreal experience of seeing the governor asked to do a Richard Nixon impression. He declined. Tonight Blagojevich will be on Larry King Live, and it's not clear whether he'll be asked to do any impressions during that appearance.
8 a.m. ET: It's a bit strange to wake up on a Monday morning and not have some bizarre Senate appointment fight to follow, isn't it? Kirsten Gillibrand will soon be sworn in to the chamber, and Caroline Kennedy can try to go back to her old life (which may be what she wanted). Roland Burris is practically a Senate veteran at this point, and not getting much attention on the Hill, even as the man who appointed him continues to star in a self-created circus. (Just think, we could have had Sen. Winfrey.)
Entertainment value aside, is there a way to avert future dramas such as these? Russ Feingold thinks so, and he plans to introduce a constitutional amendment requiring that vacant Senate seats be filled by special election, rather than appointment. “The controversies surrounding some of the recent gubernatorial appointments to vacant Senate seats make it painfully clear that such appointments are an anachronism that must end," Feingold said.
Is this a necessary remedy? After all, there was no appointment in Minnesota, and that contest is still a mess. Four states already require special elections to fill empty seats without any appointments, and several others call for "fast" special elections, with the appointees only serving a short time. And of the four appointments that have happened this year, two were dramatic but the other two -- Colorado and Delaware -- were not. But the latter two states did see the appointment of Senators who may not have been voters' first choice; Michael Bennet was definitely a surprise pick, and Ted Kaufman is widely seen as a placeholder for the Biden family.
All those appointees have two years before they face voters, while President Obama has four. That may be a good thing, as the health of the economy will be key to determining whether he wins another term, and the economy looks likely to get worse before it gets better. Obama is adding a daily economic briefing to his schedule, to go along with his intelligence briefing. Hopefully the combination of those two sessions every single day won't make our new president too depressed to get out of bed in the morning.
If Obama was on the ballot again soon, would he really be asking for another, larger financial bailout? The administration has to hope that by 2012, the economy will be back on the upswing and voters won't necessarily remember, or care, how it got that way. All 435 House members, on the other hand, and a chunk of the Senate have to face their constituents in about 21 months. Republican opposition to more bailout money and the stimulus plan appears to be hardening, as the minority calculates that the public has had enough. Either way, voters will have their say in less than two years, which is probably, Russ Feingold would argue, as it should be.
January 26, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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