For their part, Republicans agreed not to support an attempt to strip Democrats of their right to block votes.
Thing is, we don't know that we had the votes. We had 49. We needed two more. Did we have them?
Now, some wanted to roll the dice, but had we lost, Dobson would've chosen the next Supreme Court justice. I wasn't willing to make that bet, and I'm glad we didn't have to.
On top of everything, Frist looks weak. He's failed his crazies. He's finished.
Things may change, but so far, this is the second-best option. Beating Frist on the procedural vote may've been the best option. But the worst option was too horrible to contemplate.
Here's McCain's explanation of the deal, from Think Progress:
The signatories make no commitment to vote for or against cloture on two judges, William Myers and Henry Saad. Future nominations will – the signatories will exercise their responsibilities and the nominees should only be filibusters under extraordinary circumstances.
Update: From Reid's office: Byrd and Warner brought this deal home, playing the role of "elder statesman".