The office parties you wish you went to (or not)

/ Source: National Journal

'Tis the season, we're told, to be jolly — with your bosses, co-workers, their significant others and a random assortment of folks to whom you occasionally nod "hello" in the halls, bathrooms and elevators.

If you're among the fortunate, your office holiday party was painless. If you're very fortunate, it was fun. (If you're among the most fortunate, you had a legitimate excuse to skip it altogether.)

But as I bid adieu to this historic year in politics, I'm pondering the parties that may, or may not, be taking place these days — around town and across the country — as various "offices" gather to celebrate this joyous season.

Among the most notable parties and their hosts:

  • Biggest: President-elect Barack Obama, who insisted there's "only one president at a time," but still decided to throw a full-scale dress rehearsal for his Jan. 20 inaugural (complete with presidential seal, 21-gun salute and estimated 4 million guests).
  • Smallest: John Edwards. Two Americas. One party. Zero guests.
  • Most awkward: Hillary Rodham Clinton. Ever the go-getter, Clinton decided to invite her new boss. Hey, we're all just one big happy administration now! Pass the cheeseballs.
  • Most fun: New Orleans Republicans, which apparently isn't an oxymoron anymore. Party now, Congressman Cao!
  • Most dull: Ralph Nader, who opted to forgo "major party" labels and instead staged a three-hour debate, with himself, on the sidewalk outside the Washington Post. Guest count unavailable.
  • Most depressing: This is a tie, between any newspaper company (are they even holding holiday parties this year?) and the Big Three.
  • Biggest drunken debacles: See "most depressing."
  • Most likely to get broken up by the cops: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who told the police to [bleep] the [bleep] off, cranked the music louder and kept his cash bar open 'til the bitter end. The next morning, his wife, Patti, wrote a letter apologizing to their [bleep]ing neighbors.
  • Longest: Al Franken and Norm Coleman. The parties themselves actually ended on time. But the post-party analysis over whose was more crowded has been endless.
  • Best theme: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen's "Red to Blue to Blackout."
  • Worst theme: Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's "A Night Under The TARP" (I couldn't resist poaching this one from The Hotline's Evan McMorris-Santoro).
  • Most random guests: Jim Martin and Ludacris.
  • Biggest marital spat: Well, they're not currently married. But any gathering of New York Democrats would likely feature state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and his ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy, who these days is urging Gov. David Paterson to choose her cousin Caroline over Cuomo for Clinton's Senate seat. As the couple's daughter said this week, "This is very awkward."
  • Most extravagant: Sarah Palin's. Decorations, catering and entertainment came courtesy of the Republican National Committee.
  • Least extravagant: Jim and Dina Matos McGreevey, whose event was catered by T.G.I. Fridays.
  • Best dancing: A tie between Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) and new "Meet the Press" host David Gregory. (Yeah, it's old, but the classics are never out of style — or in.)
  • Most exclusive: Democratic superdelegates, who didn't want anyone to know who they were, where they were holding their party or why they were celebrating.