The Democrats do have one final weapon in their arsenal. If Republicans try to remove the filibuster option, then Democrats can try to make the Republicans play by all the Senate's Rules, construed literally. That, in turn, would bring the Senate's business to a halt - save for the barest essentials - and thus, Congress' business as well, for the House cannot pass laws without the Senate.
The Senate operates largely by "unanimous consent," which enables it to waive the myriad rules of procedure. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D NV) has made clear that should the Democrats destroy the filibuster option, he will not "enter into any consent agreements" except regarding matters that affect U.S. troops or are necessary for the continuity of government operations.
In effect, the Democrats have the option of nuclear winter. If they don't rely on this counter-tactic - with the hope of restoring Republicans to their senses - they might as well pack up and go home. No longer would there be an opposition party in the Senate...read on
It's a long piece and well worth reading. Dean also says: "When the rest of the country understands that it was Frist who was responsible for the destruction of the Senate, his chances for the Presidency will be over."
(Update) Santorum: Frist will go nuclear : Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, has reassured conservative activist leaders that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is committed to triggering the nuclear option, stripping Democrats of the power to filibuster judicial nominees.