"Had the nuclear option prevailed, it is almost certain that other valuable Senate traditions would soon have fallen to political expediency, raw power, simple majority vote, and we would have become another House of Representatives. Confirmation of a handful of controversial court of appeals nominees was a small price to pay for preserving the sanctity of the Senate rules for future generations. "The Senate was not established to be efficient. Sometimes the rules get in the way of efficiency. The Senate was established to make sure that minorities are protected. Majorities can always protect themselves, but minorities cannot. That is what the Senate is all about. For more than 200 years, the rules of the Senate have protected the American people, and rightfully so."Ironically, because so many Democratic Senators represent entire states with large populations -- New York, California and Illinois spring to mind -- the 44 Senate Democrats actually spoke for a larger number of the American people than did their 55 Republican counterparts in the last Congress. This makes GOP attempts to silence their voices on critical judicial nominees even more despicable than the debasement of honored legislative procedure threatened by their party. And, assuming Tim Johnson (D-SD) recovers from his health problems and returns to the Senate, the new Republican minority can at least show up for work on January 4 knowing that, while Reid may fight them along partisan lines on some issues, he won't stoop to their tactics of altering the Senate's foundation to suit his current agenda. "The need to muster 60 votes in order to terminate Senate debate naturally frustrates the majority and oftentimes the minority," said Reid on the final day of the 109th Congress. "I am sure it will frustrate me when I assume the office of majority leader in a few weeks. But I recognize this requirement is a tool that serves the long-term interest of the Senate, the American people and our country." You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.