Washington these days resembles nothing so much as an unruly sandbox. As the shutdown drags on, septuagenarian politicians are squabbling like 7-year-olds, House freshmen staged a boisterous protest march to the empty office of the Senate majority leader and the president’s lawyer went spectacularly off the rails in a television interview. There did not seem to be an adult in sight…

Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from the other, more grown-up Washington, said she recognized much of the current behavior in the nation’s capital from her time as a preschool teacher. Every classroom, she said, had the full range of personalities, including bullies and victims, and the trick, she said, was not to cede to the bully or allow tantrums to disrupt the entire classroom.

“My experience is, you let them calm down and come back to you peacefully before you give them anything,” Ms. Murray said. “You don’t hand them that cookie or piece of candy when they’re yelling and screaming because then you will be doing that until they’re 18 years old.”