Was nothing learned from August? Have 535 lawmakers forgotten the phrase: “Meet the other guy halfway?”

After pushing the nation to the brink of default, Congress went home last month to face a credit-rating downgrade, spiraling financial markets, and surly, scared voters. Returning after Labor Day — with their approval ratings in the tank — lawmakers vowed to do better, only to fall off the wagon again this week with post-midnight fights that threaten the normal operations of government as well as badly needed disaster aid for the victims of recent storms and flooding.