I pondered the above headline; maybe too strong. But Senate life presents so few opportunities to write a headline that fun, and this is one of them, so I'm doing it.
Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell struck a deal this morning, abetted apparently by John McCain, that averted the invocation of the nuclear option by Reid and the Democrats. Reid got just about everything he wanted. The Senate is going to pass through all seven nominees that Reid brought up in this skirmish. It just confirmed the first of them, Richard Cordray, by a substantial margin, 71-29. C-SPAN just said 17 Republicans voted yes; it'll be interesting to see which ones.
It is important and useful to remember here that two years ago, when Cordray was made a recess appointment by Obama, Senate Republicans swore up and down and sideways and backwards that he would never, ever pass a Senate vote. He was toxic for them, mostly because they hate the agency. It's rather amazing that he got through.
Later, the EPA nominee, Gina McCarthy, and Tom Perez at Labor will be approved, as will some others. The only capitulation on the Democratic side is that the two NLRB members Obama wanted will be withdrawn in favor of two others. But the reason is that they, too, were recess appointments, and a conservative panel of jurists from the DC circuit said such appointments were invalid. So Republicans are honoring that judicial decision and demanding that the pair be withdrawn. However, the Republicans have agreed to approve anyone--anyone!--Obama and the Democrats put forward in their place.
Finally, the nuclear option stays on the table for the future. Last night at their big meeting, McConnell offered to advance all seven if Reid promised never to invoke the nuclear option again. Reid said no, he needs to keep it as an option. McConnell caved.
About as clear a win for one party over another as we've seen in a long time. Why did it happen? Because everyone in the room knew that the Democrats had the 51 votes to change the rules. Stand together or fall apart, as the old cliche goes. It's true. It's still pathetic that it had to come to this for the president to fill his cabinet (and sub-cabinet), but it goes to show that holding the line as a group works.