From TPM Reader MA …
I think it is really important to point out that the Republicans had many alternatives to avail themselves and that they chose the worst possible one.
1) Cooperate with White House and Democratic negotiators earlier in the process
2) Negotiate in good faith with Reid following the failure of the original bill
3) Pass the original bill
4) Vote for cloture on the original bill and then vote against it.
Option (4) would have been the grown up and responsible thing to do–the bill had, probably, majority support and the consequences of not bailing out the auto industry are dire. Allowing a vote is not synonymous with acquiescing or voting in favor of the bill.
I think the fact that option (4) doesn’t seem to have even been considered is indicative of the abuse of the filibuster in recent years. The filibuster is meant to be a tool to express extreme outrage, not as a device to force the threshold to passing a bill to 60 votes.
At this point, the filibuster rules have lost their relevance and should be abandoned (despite the fact that it will tie Democrat’s hands in future Senate sessions when Republicans are in control.