The filibuster fits into the concept of the U.S. Senate, a chamber designed to slow down legislation. Better to take a breath, right, than rush carelessly into something?

The trouble is, the filibuster has been abused, by both parties, though Republicans have escalated the harm dramatically in recent years. Thus, reformers gained momentum. Why not require senators gumming up the works to speak on the floor until they are ready to relent?

On Thursday, even such a modest idea fell flat. Republican and Democratic veterans agreed to minimal changes, leaving the chamber where it long has been, relying on its members to behave better, to apply the filibuster with restraint. And we know how that has been going.