How the Hill Got Its Mojo Back

When the electorate starts worrying, the most dangerous thing an incumbent can do is nothing. "Americans want solutions, not rhetoric," House G.O.P. conference chairman J.C. Watts warned Republicans in a July 24 memo. This explains why much of the election-year posturing that gridlocked Congress has evaporated as the national mood has headed south along with the stock market.

A bill to reform accounting and corporate practices--a political no-brainer in the scandal-a-day summer of 2002--finally made it to Bush's desk on nearly unanimous votes. The Senate confirmed overdue nominations to more than a dozen key posts across regulatory agencies, including the Securities...

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