The ability to obstruct is an important thing. Especially if you're in a minority and don't want to get run over by a majority.
Gene Healy has a good column out today  looking at the importance of the Senate filibuster, which is made all the more obvious in the current fight over Obamacare.
He points out that a number of liberals are beside themselves about the ability of Republicans to influence and/or slow down the health care debate.
Our entire constitutional architecture is based on the idea that it should be hard to do big things. As Hamilton put it in Federalist 73, "the injury which may possibly be done by defeating a few good laws, will be amply compensated by the advantage of preventing a number of bad ones."
Krugman points out that the 60-vote requirement for cloture "appears nowhere in the Constitution." While he's got the document out, maybe he can enlighten the Times' readers as to where Congress finds the power to force all Americans to buy health insurance.
Instead of getting upset that the opposition doesn't lay down when they try to ram something through, maybe liberals should be more concerned with the fact that the majority of the American public (as opposed to a minority in Congress) don't agree with their plans for health care.
And that majority gets to vote in eleven months.