Harry Reid has been exceptionally ineffective as the Democrats’ majority leader.
The number of cloture votes skyrocketed in the 110th Congress following the Democratic takeover of the Senate and Reid’s assumption of the majority leader position. The Senate voted on 112 cloture motions in the 110th, exactly double the number (56) of cloture votes in the 109th Congress, and two-and-a-half times as many as the average number of cloture votes (44) over the previous nine Congresses. Of these cloture motions, 51 were rejected (meaning that opponents of a bill succeeded in blocking an up-or-down vote) and 61 were passed….
I don’t imagine the culture of the Senate changing in the new Congress so long as it’s under Reid’s direction, and Reid is highly unlikely to be replaced. There is some chance, however, that Obama rather than Reid will dictate the tone, particularly if Joe Biden is dispatched to Capitol Hill fairly often….
The bottom line, however, is that the Republicans are filibustering more and more often because they can get away with it. If Reid can’t get them to pay a greater public price, then the Democrats ought to find somebody else who can.