Senate Democrats had an opportunity to get together and make the Senate a working, majority-rule-based chamber. They could have recently used the “Constitutional Option” at the start of this new Congress to rewrite the Senate rules to either eliminate the filibuster outright or at least make staging a filibuster more difficult. Yet, due to a combination of a greedy refusal to give up any individual power, and a pitiful cowardice about a potential future in which the voters reject them, Senate Democrats collectively chose to throw away this opportunity. By doing nothing, they effectively voted to give Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell total veto power over everything.

Currently, McConnell and the rest of the Senate Republicans have the ability to kill any legislation, stop any nominee from getting confirmed, or hold any bill hostage until their demands were met. Democrats spent the past two years complaining endlessly about how horrible it was that Republicans used the filibuster to kill popular legislation that had majority support. It was the 60-vote threshold for cloture, and McConnell’s ability to hold his party united in opposition, on which Democrats placed almost all the blame for their many legislative failures over the past two years.

All these awful problems could have been eliminated yesterday in roughly 20 minutes. Democrats could have simply changed the rules and completely taken away McConnell’s power to obstruct. Senate Democrats could have freed themselves to govern as a majority party. They could have made it possible to pass whatever bills they wanted to and no longer be forced to submit to the legislative hostage-taking of a minority. Instead, though, they chose to leave themselves helpless, controlled by the whims of Sen. McConnell.

Senate Democrats had the ability to easily solve the problems they spent the last two years endlessly complaining about, but choose not to. By their failure, they have lost all right to complain, and they now have absolutely no one to blame for every single future failure but themselves. With their inaction, Senate Democrats have made Mitch McConnell entirely blameless. Every single procedural problem McConnell causes Democrats in the next two years is ultimately the fault of Senate Democrats because, despite knowing his modus operandi, they still choose to leave themselves at his mercy.

At best, Senate Democrats have proven themselves to be truly pathetic; at worst, patently dishonest.