I am sure you were all waiting to see what the Senate would do about the filibuster rules, right? Yeah, me neither.
The votes Thursday culminated an extended period of public debate and Senate negotiations over the future of the filibuster. Underlying that debate were deep concerns about the ability of the Senate to function as a governing body. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had taken the somewhat unusual procedural step of not adjourning after the first day of the current session in early January. The effect of that move was to extend the first day of Senate business for most of January in order to give himself more flexibility to pass the rules changes with a simple majority, something that could only be done on the first day.
In the end, however, Reid declined to push through more extensive reforms on a simple majority vote — the so-called “nuclear option.” Instead, Reid reached an accord with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for much more modest rules changes than he himself had initially supported. “Today, we took steps towards ending gridlock in the Senate, and making this body a more efficient place while still respecting the rights of the minority,” Reid said in a statement after the votes.
That they did anything at all and considering the egos and the intellectual maturity of the parties involved, it’s a bit like watching a donkey fly: you’re so amazed that they do it at all that you can’t really criticize their technique.