Like death and taxes . . .

. . . there's always something going on in the world of politics to keep people buzzing. There's that oft-repeated image of the outgoing President ducking, which is wearing thin. But I see some more stories that for me are far more interesting.

New York, my home for over 30 years, is all abuzz with reports that Caroline Kennedy (does she not use her married name anymore?) has asked the governor to appoint her to the about-to-be-vacated Senate seat of the future Secretary of State.

Whether it be New York or North Dakota, it seems terribly unfair to people who've admirably served in Congress and hope to advance their careers to be knocked aside by someone with a famous name, no matter now intelligent, informed, committed, well educated, and hardworking. I mean, if it weren't for that name, could Ms. Kennedy even get Governor Paterson to take her call? I'm curious to see what he'll do, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Meanwhile, down in Illinois, a state in which by pure coincidence I also lived for a few years, the lead story has been the governor's attempt to pay his personal bills - he is reportedly half a million dollars in debt - by selling the President-Elect's vacant senate seat to the highest bidder. It's story that would make Al Capone proud. No one knows how this story is going to end, who will get the seat, or, in the face of calls for his resignation, who will decide who gets the seat. Congressman Jesse Jackson's name has been mentioned prominently and he is presently attempting to clear his reputation that he offered money for the appointment.

An interesting postscript to this ongoing story (that's probably the wrong word, since the story isn't over, but it's late and I'm tired) is that Jesse Jackson Jr.'s name was not on the list of candidates that Barack Obama's aide gave to the Governor Blagojevich. This didn't come as a surprise to me; the President-Elect doesn't want someone to just fill the seat for two years, he wants someone who can be elected on their own in 2010, and while Congressman Jackson is popular in Chicago, he isn't downstate and probably will never be. (With Mayor Daley in power since 1989, the congressman's political ambitions seem limited.)

Let's mention the other Senate vacancy, the seat formerly occupied by Joe Biden of Delaware. A top aide has been named to fill the seat for the remainder of the Vice President-Elect's term, a gentleman who, at 69 years old, has made it clear that he will retire at the end of the term and will not try to win the seat on his own in two years. So that transition, at least, is smooth, and the Delaware politicos on both sides are already getting in line to run in two years. The fact that I never lived in Delaware, the state where there's no controversy regarding filling the chair, is, as I said before, purely coincidental.

Now, back to my latest romance proposal, which I absolutely have to work on before I go to bed. It's about (what else?) a charismatic Illinois politician.