Al Franken, Senator

It's over, finally. Marie Diamond explains what it all means:

[Franken] will not make for a particularly crisp #60. Though no one wants to say it, it is not clear that Sen. Ted Kennedy will ever vote again in the Senate, given his medical condition. Massachusetts lawmakers are already quietly jockeying for his seat. A replacement senator in Massachusetts needs to be chosen by the electorate (the governor has no role), which could mean weeks, even months, for primary and general election campaigns to be conducted. Meanwhile, after a month in the hospital, Sen. Robert Byrd was released today to continue his recovery at home, but the 91-year-old remains in delicate health.
Even if senators always voted party-line, which they don’t, it takes 60 senators present and voting to vote cloture. Democrats aren’t there yet. While the verdict for Franken is a victory for Democrats, in many ways the GOP stall has had its intended effect. It is a public-relations accomplishment: They’ve managed to blur the likely result of the 2008 election, casting doubt on the circumstances under which Democrats have come to dominance in the Senate. That’s not a trivial accomplishment during these early months when a new president’s political capital is at its peak.