There are two kinds of Washington fights, the theatrical and the genuine. In a theatrical fight, both sides go through the motions. They may look like they are really fighting, but it's really just a charade designed to communicate to constituents and interest groups. The final outcome is preordained.
In a genuine fight, the outcome is actually uncertain, and the combatants are really annoyed, not just pretending. That kind of fight creates real winners, real losers, and, sometimes, lasting rifts and scars.
The fight under way right now about trade between Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama, observes Ira Stoll, is starting to look more and more like a genuine fight.