Joe Biden will be replaced by his longtime Chief-of-Staff Ted Kaufman. Net effect: absolutely none. Kaufman curiously noted that he's "OK with retiring in two years" which will do little to calm talk of Biden's Iraq veteran son replacing him in 2010.

Obama's replacement will come down to Jan Schakowsky, Luis Gutierrez, or Danny Davis, three House veterans who will blow away whatever dipshit the GOP finds to oppose them. Insert your own "a Jew, a Latino, and a black guy walk into the governor's office" joke here.

Coleman-Franken drags on and will drag itself right into court sooner or later. Bank on it.


I am starting to think that the Miss America pageant will become for the Republican Party what the Iowa Caucuses used to be. The right has the most amusing tendency to find its salvation in beauty queens (or alleged ones) who are lauded for their intellectual merit while mouthing the exact same script as everyone else in the movement. It is the Coulter-ization of conservative politics.

Actually, scratch that. At least Ann Coulter's hysterical horseshit is largely original. I'm more fascinated by the B-squad of Great Conservative Minds who are indistinguishable from Jonah Goldberg except for their Great Conservative Tits. And the right isn't shy about objectifying, exploiting, and (we assume) angrily masturbating at the thought of these D-list minds, elevating them to the A-list in short order.

Unless you're really lucky, you've seen the "Pretty in Mink" 2009 Calendar of right-wing pin-up girls from the Clare Booth Luce Institute. I will unironically applaud the Institute for having the decency to picture these women fully clothed; I am not sure that the world could handle the alternative. I also understand that a calendar of this sort is intended to feature attractive people. Nonetheless I think this offers excellent insight into the nature of these womens' celebrity in conservative circles.

Take, for example, Amanda Carpenter. She's everywhere – on all the major cable shows, in print, and online – two whole years after walking away from Ball State with a journalism degree. She has never had an original thought, has had no notable success as an investigative journalist, and adds nothing to the cable network stew that Robert Novak doesn't already provide. The difference, of course, is that unless something is seriously wrong with you, you'd totally hit this over Novak.

How about Michelle Malkin? What is it about anorexia that makes the right manhandle their puds so energetically? Michelle vituperates about affirmative action all the goddamn time, of course, apparently under the delusion that it is her Deep Blue-caliber mind that makes her a celebrity. Someone should let her know that the reason she's a wealthy celebrity and not a 5th-string blogger on PowerLine is that she is female, not white, and, in the far-right's dedicated circles of doughy eunuchs, fuckable.

We could go on. Mary Katherine Ham (another "undergrad-to-Fox News-in-3-years" success story). Kate "GOP Chairman in Virginia, 2004-2006" Obenshain. Coulter. All the usual bits of crumpet that a misogynist, patriarchal movement trots out before the cameras to simultaneously feign diversity and provide a fantasy marital aid to their core supporters.

It's amazing, by which I mean not amazing at all, that the Party of Ideas is so faithfully wedded to a core orthodoxy that it demands little more than rote repitition of the creed from the most appealing spokesmodel. Sure, everyone likes his or her own preferred eye candy in healthy doses, but folks like the CBL Institute and the millions of daily readers who follow these Hotties seem to have dangerously conflated visual appeal and intellectual contributions to the movement. Like 58 year-old fans at a Styx reunion show, the right only wants to hear the same hits over and over. But they don't merely demand to hear "Come Sail Away" – they want a hotter band to play it.