by Jim Nintzel
Talking Points Memo sums up the winners and losers in the filibuster deal that was struck today to allow the Obama administration to appoint people to run federal agencies:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) lost big in the filibuster battle that ended Tuesday morning. Senators struck a tentative deal to confirm seven nominees to run federal agencies and departments, in exchange for Democrats agreeing not to nuke the filibuster on executive branch nominations — for now.
But McConnell is still winning the war. In his 6 1/2 year reign as Republican leader, the Kentuckian has so dramatically strengthened the minority’s muscle on routine matters that his concessions this week amount to little more than an half step back toward normalcy.
The deal was brokered by John McCain, who undercut McConnell and is fully emerging, yet again, as his old centrist self. Exactly what happened to flip the switch in McCain’s brain from “Obama Hater” back to “McConnell Hater,” it is hard to say. Whatever it is, the old-new McCain is back again, which seems to be a significant development, given Obama’s inability to find any Republicans who aren’t terrified of working with him.