Bill Cassidy devotes seven minutes of Senate floor time to ... the blown call in the Saints/Rams game

“We must open our very important government immediately,” sniffs Stephen “redsteeze” Miller, taking in the clip below. Thank God for Cassidy’s sake that the shutdown ended within a few hours of him doing this. He would have been obliterated for goofing around with sports garbage while federal workers are lining up for payday loans.

The whining from Louisianans has now reached the stage where my position has officially shifted from “Saints was robbed” to “I’m glad they lost.” Purely as a challenge to myself, though, I’m going to try to argue that Cassidy’s display wasn’t a total embarrassment.

1. He is, of course, correct that the refs’ call was shameful.

2. In particular, he’s correct that the refs not only missed pass interference but a helmet-to-helmet hit on the same play. The NFL finally remedied that today — sort of, a little — by fining Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman $26,739. I trust that’ll ease the pain of Saints fans angry at having a Super Bowl appearance torn from their grasp.

3. Cassidy’s up for reelection next year so he deserves some extra leeway in heavy-handed pandering to voters back home. True, there’s no risk of him losing a general election in Louisiana, but you never know when a primary challenger might emerge. Consider this insurance against that.

4. He struck just the right tone. Anything angry or even peevish for a stunt like this would have deepened the humiliation. He plays it light, almost half-joking … until the end, when he casually wonders in all apparent seriousness whether the ref had a rooting interest in the outcome because he’s from LA. He should have known better than to level an accusation as reckless as that: People from LA don’t root for any football teams, senator.

5. If you think Cassidy devoted too much official time to NFL nonsense, bear in mind that some members of Congress from Louisiana want to make Roger Goodell testify about the blown call.

6. The fact that one of Louisiana’s representatives has now made this a matter of concern for the U.S. Senate creates a glimmer of hope that we’ll be treated to the spectacle of Dianne Feinstein having to rise in defense of the Rams’ honor. Every other dumb controversy in modern America ultimately becomes a partisan farting contest. Let’s complete the circle here.