National Affairs: This Sad Episode

Past midnight, the bright white light atop the Capitol dome still shone over Washington, signaling that Congress was still in session. On the Senate floor, after six months of stalling, wrangling and maneuvering, U.S. history's bitterest battle over confirmation of a presidential appointment marched toward the showdown.

In the milling around just before the vote, New Mexico Democrat Clinton P. Anderson and Virginia Democrat Harry F. Byrd greeted each other with grins and back slaps. They had been fighting on opposite sides, but now the fighting was over. "Well, Clint," asked Byrd, "are you...

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