There are several Senate seats that still need to be filled by dedicated public servants as America starts its New Year.
In Minnesota, Democrat Al Franken has just moved ahead of Norm Coleman by several hundred votes and is about to win the recount of a very close election.
The result of the recount will overturn a victory of several hundred votes on election night by his opponent, incumbent Republican Senator,Norm Coleman. The recount tally has actually turned into a contest between the two candidates legal teams.
In fact, legal issues abound in this race. There are hundreds of missing ballots which will be counted as voting for Franken. There were disqualified absentee ballots that favor Franken that are now being counted while there were disqualified absentee ballots that may favor Coleman that are not.
The final recount vote totals may show that Al Franken won the Minnesota Senate seat but this whole election mess is going to end up in court. Minnesota's Governor Tim Pawlenty will not seat Franken until all the legal issues are resolved and any attempt by Franken to seat himself will create a Senate Republican filibuster.
Of course, the ultimate question concerns political accountability for this election mess in Minnesota? How could there be missing ballots and disqualified ballots that should have been counted?
Meanwhile, in New York, controversy surrounds Hillary Clinton's former Senate seat. Governor Patterson is under pressure from Democratic insiders to appoint Caroline Kennedy to the Senate until the next election is held in 2010. Various newspapers have opined that Patterson should select Kennedy since that may bring to the polls more Democrat voters and help him with his own re-election in two years.
It makes you wonder what ever happened to the importance of qualifications. Caroline Kennedy's resume shows no real background for consideration for a seat in the United States Senate. The fact is that she has never held public office, has little private sector background, won't release her financial history, and has not been able to articulate a political opinion on many of the major issues facing New York voters.
Another controversial Senate appointment features Barack Obama's former Senate seat. Recently indicted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has just appointed former Illinois Atty. Gen. Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader, Harry Reid has vowed to block the Burris appointment because it was made by the disgraced Illinois Governor. This battle may end up in the Supreme Court and since he has yet been convicted of anything, Blagojevich may eventually prevail.
Unfortunately, the politics of the appointment has nothing to do with the preferences of the voter, since Roland Burris is no stranger to losing real political elections, in Illinois.
Burris failed in three primary bids for governor in 1994, 1998 and 2002. He failed in campaigns for Chicago mayor in 1995 and for U.S. senator in 1984. He has not even held a statewide office in the last fourteen years.
In Delaware, Joe Biden is set to accept the Vice Presidency while still holding on to his Senate Seat. This political oddity is necessary so Biden's former chief of staff, Ted Kaufman, can recieve a Senate appointment to serve for just two years, after which point he will not seek to retain the seat. This will mean that Kaufman can keep the seat warm until 2010 so there will be no incumbent to run against Joe Biden's son, Beau.
The Democrats race to fill four Senate seats involves corruption, lawyers, patronage, power and political expediency. All these political appointments have little to do with the intent of real voters. If this dubious political patronage continues, the United States Senate will soon need to change its name to the United States House Of Lords.