D.C. gridlock vanishes, when Congress is inconvenienced

Airbus A320, Washington, D.C., Capitol building, Capitol dome, Congress, graphic
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(CBS News) The President was hilarious at the White House Correspondents Dinner last night. He poked fun of himself and the press.

It was also nice to see the former presidents and officials from both parties gather earlier for the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas.

Obama, Conan O'Brien laugh it up at W.H. dinnerLiving presidents join emotional George W. Bush at library dedication

It was the way Washington usually isn't, but the way we all wish it to be.

But those episodes were just blips on a radar screen that reminded us just how toxic and how broken our political system is.

Several days before the presidential library opening and just down the road from Dallas, the Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott had opined that Democrats posed a greater threat to Texas than North Korea.

And just to help us remember that money has become the all-powerful driving force in politics, the president found it necessary to hold a fundraiser while he was in Dallas - he collected more than a million bucks.

And as if to underline that Washington can always find a way to help itself even if it remains gridlocked when it comes to helping others, when the Congress realized late last week that those budget cuts from the so-called sequester were going to cause layoffs of air traffic controllers which would cause delays that would inconvenience them, what happened to gridlock?

Well, miraculously, it disappeared, and legislation to keep the planes running on time eased through both houses of Congress like it had grease on it.

How did Members of Congress celebrate the bipartisan breakthough? They headed out of town . . . for another vacation.

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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.