It came as a small surpise that the a few Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement that averted the showdown in the Senate over Justice appoinments. It was little surprise because it has become very clear that the Democratic party is like a horse with a broken leg: lame.
Under the agreement reached the Democrats apparently will roll over and play dead on the three justices currently up for approval. In return the Republicans will agree well not to officially kill them off (not use the "nuclear option"). The Democrats would reserve the "right" to filibuster any "extreme" justices.
Democrats play dead on these extreme justices, one of which believes that most labor, environmental and civil rights legistlation are unconstitutional. They beg to not be officially locked out of decision making in the Senate.
Republicans can still "Nuke 'em" should they be in the mood.
Thats not much of a compromise. Somewhere in the discussion of the "excessive use" of filibusters by Democrats is the fact that the vast majority of Bush appointees have been approved by both Democrats and Republicans. The ones who have been stalled are the extreme ones. And the Democrats just gave a free pass to those. That's not a compromise, thats crumbs off the table.
On the other side there is much ranting about Republicans selling out their base. Maybe they think so, but I think it's a ruse. Three appointees have just been given the all clear and as soon as the Democrats make a stink about the next two the Republicans can go and threaten them all over again. If I were a Republican I would be very happy with this compromise. Each time the Dems get out of line, I'll threated to lock 'em out and they will roll over. It's less convenient than an outright lockout, but the appearance of negotiation makes for a good cover.
Personally I think the Democrats should have held thier ground and allowed the Republicans to change the rules. They would have been creamed in the next election where the ever popular Bush cannot run and the true nature of the Republican Party would have been exposed. And of course because all things change at some point the Democrats will gain a majority again they would then wave that magic stick handed to them by Republicans and tell them to complain to Bill Frist if they don't like it. Sometimes you need to let the monkey climb.