This sudden lurch toward two-party give-and-take should come as no surprise, according to a new Gallup poll that finds the Tea Party dropping past a tipping point, with a slim majority viewing them unfavorably for the first time.
Now the real work in Washington begins: finding government’s way back to some semblance of traditional rationality. One sign is Speaker John Boehner, who for two years has let extremists hogtie his House is now pushing back, solemnly asserting he is now “shocked, shocked” to find there has been gambling in the casino.
"You know, they pushed into this fight to defund 'Obamacare' and to shut down the government," Boehner tells reporters. "Most of you know, my members know, that wasn't exactly the strategy that I had in mind...
"But if you recall, the day before the government reopened… one of these groups stood up and said, well, we never really thought it would work. Are you kidding me?"
Democrats too will have to adjust to a new climate, as Nancy Pelosi tells her troops to “embrace the suck” and get on with moving forward next year to regain some of the ground lost in the long Washington siege.
If there is a seismic shift back toward traditional American government next year, it could be helped by new leadership on both sides of the aisle. Congress may be leaving Washington less depressed for the holidays, but the true tests will come when they come back for a new year.
Can sanity survive the holidays?