Things looked very grim at the beginning of the week. What made the difference? Zarqawi didn’t hurt, for sure. If they got cloture in the Senate today, senators would have likely spent the next week debating the Akaka bill instead of the Defense-authorization bill. That would have looked great. Senators aren’t that blind.
Credit, multiple sources tell me, should go especially to Mitch McConnell’s whip team as well as Cornyn, Sessions, Alexander, among others. As one staffer puts it, “Some spoke at the lunch yesterday, some worked senators on the floor, and some just chatted people up wherever and whenever they could. But they got it done in a real old-fashioned way.”