No soothsayer has been more prophetic than Eartha Kitt, who accurately forecast the zeitgeist of 2009 in her 1953 holiday hit, "Santa Baby":
"Santa cutie, fill my stocking with a duplex / and checks. Sign your 'X' on the line. Santa Cutie, hurry down the chimney tonight."
Thus did the Cat Woman predict the major storyline of the last 12 months: the real estate meltdown, the stimulus package, bailouts and the growth of big government. She also foresaw the cash-for-clunkers program:
"Santa baby, a '54 convertible too. Light blue."
Eartha, who died last Christmas Day (what are the chances?), amends the Dickens parable of charitable giving to celebrate, instead, the joy of receiving. For we are in the age of rapture, the fulfillment of the liberal promise of the federal government as munificent provider of the national figgy pudding. An all-knowing government that can create jobs and wipe away debt, bail out corporations and abolish mortgage defaults, and pour untold riches down the chimney to satisfy every earthly desire.
Nationally, for the first time since 1995, Democrats in Washington bow to no one - except the emperor of Japan. While they have not stimulated the job market, they thoroughly Christmas-goosed us conservatives. Who knew Republicans had a pulse? Or that 2009 would be the year right-wing mouth-breathers discovered the Saul Alinsky book Rules for Radicals - all yellow-highlighted - at a Mifflin Street yard sale?
Tea parties, guns and raucous town hall meetings! Sarah Palin - indisputably fertile and going rogue! Conservatives just want to have fun. Let's take it one level of government at a time.
Locally, the quote of the year belongs to county Supv. Brett Hulsey, after the public registered 498-14 against expanded shoreline zoning in two public hearings: "This issue just provides the tea bag, anti-RTA, anti-Obama crowd with a reason to come out."
Nine unelected people named by seven appointing authorities will form a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) with the power to raise $42 million in taxes annually without recourse to a referendum of the people. It's the ultimate liberal triumph: government reproducing asexually!
In early June Jason Joyce, writing in Isthmus, pooh-poohed Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele's concerns regarding Madison's southwest side, suggesting everybody needed to "take a deep breath." Five days later, 17-year-old Karamee Collins Jr. took his last breath, deep or otherwise, thanks to the bullet fired into his back.
The Madison Landmarks Commission withheld its "certificate of appropriateness" from the proposed Edgewater Hotel expansion because it is "incompatible" with its surroundings. Eben and Rosaline Peck had to do without this obscure government certificate when they built their log cabin hostelry in the wilderness of 1837. Yes, the first structure in Madison was a tavern/hotel. It did preserve a view of the lake, however.
In the spring election, Police Chief Noble Wray and the police union defeated Brenda Konkel.
President Obama on Nov. 4 became the first sitting president to visit Madison since Harry Truman. He inspired many children and signed a Cheesehead at Wright Middle School. A shrine is planned pending the first miracle.
The state's flagship university (enrollment 40,433) played Wofford State, enrollment 1,273, in a game of football. Next year, hacked emails reveal, the Badgers plan to take on the University of East Anglia.
On the state level, the bipartisan Pew Center for the States named Wisconsin one of the nation's 10 worst-managed states. Forbes piled on by scoring us the third-worst for business. "My work here is done," Gov. Jim E. Doyle announced.
Barbara Lawton, Doyle's estranged Number 2, was the front-runner to replace him until she dropped out for "very personal reasons," which translates to "None of your damned business." Politics abhorring a vacuum, talk radio and Internet bloggers supplied their own lurid details.
Tom Barrett jumped in to break up a fight at State Fair Park but dithered for months before dipping his toe into a far more dangerous situation - running for governor to clean up after Jim Doyle.
State Rep. Jeff Wood continues to fly at low altitude over the state's highways and median strips, even while expressing support for tougher drunk-driving laws.
Nationally, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) set the tone by shouting "You lie!" at Obama during his health care address, without benefit of a teleprompter.
Early this month, Obama accepted his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo while waging two wars and escalating one of them. He's also very close to an Eagle Scout badge.
A military shrink and jihadist named Nidal Malik Hasan screamed "Allahu Akbar" as he sprayed lead at Fort Hood, prompting liberals to question why guns are so easy to get at military bases.
Fox News found itself on the current president's Enemies List. National Public Radio asked correspondent Mara Liasson to quit appearing on Fox because of the network's bias. Fox's, not NPR's, of course.
When Obama left his Illinois Senate seat, Gov. Blago sang his own version of "Santa Baby" in secret tapings. But "F--ing gold" did not rhyme.
ACORN went head-to-head with H&R Block by promising to help with your labor, immigration and tax issues, according to cinema verite posted on YouTube.
Ted Kennedy and Bill Safire passed into glory. Moonwalker Michael Jackson exited stage left. Patrick Swayze became a real live ghost. Mary Travers now has a heavenly hammer. Walter Cronkite signed off for good. Farrah Fawcett is an angel.
And, in the ultimate proof of God's forgiveness (and sense of humor), Tom DeLay danced with the stars.
David Blaska blogs on TheDailyPage.com.