It was almost as though the US Senate had entered a time machine for a brief journey back to the days before hyper-partisanship, polarization, and gridlock. This week, 98 senators got together in one room and talked and listened and tried to find a way forward.
By Washington standards, the meeting and subsequent negotiations qualified as a success. Faced with the Democratic threat of the so-called “nuclear option” to change the rules and forbid the filibustering of executive-branch appointments, Republicans agreed to confirm a number of President Obama’s long-delayed nominees. The president, for his part, withdrew two stalled nominees to the National Labor Relations Board in favor of new choices. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, backed off their rule-change threat.