It's probably less of an olive branch than a recognition of reality, but George W. Bush has now abandoned efforts to get four of his most controversial judicial nominees through the Democratic-controlled Senate.
As the Associated Press reports, William Haynes, William G. Myers III and Terrence Boyle have asked that their names be withdrawn from confirmation consideration. A fourth Bush nominee, Michael Wallace, checked out of the process last month.
In a statement, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy called Bush's decision not to renominate the judges the "right decision" and a "welcome beginning." Leahy's right about the first part of that: If these nominees couldn't make it through the Senate when the Republicans were in control, there was no chance they'd make it with the Democrats in charge. As for the second part -- the "welcome beginning" bit -- we're all going to have to wait and see.
Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.