The demise of majority rule in the Senate is a violation of the Founding Fathers' clear wishes and intent.
When it came to procedures, they believed that simple majorities, not supermajorities, should be the rule. This is demonstrated in Article 1, Section 5, of the Constitution which says that "a majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business."
During the Constitutional Convention, the Founding Fathers had considered supermajority quorums but rejected the idea. Federalist Paper No. 58 says that "in all cases where justice or the general good might require new laws to be passed, or active measures to be pursued, the fundamental principle of free government would be reversed if quorums of more than a majority were required. It would be no longer the majority that would rule: the power would be transferred to the minority."
There is no difference in procedural effect between requiring a supermajority quorum and requiring supermajority approval to bring a matter to the floor.
Furthermore, the Founding Fathers required supermajorities in only five very special circumstances -- another clear indication that they assumed majority rule would be the norm. Two-thirds majorities were prescribed only to override vetoes, ratify treaties, expel members of Congress, propose amendments to the Constitution and to convict in impeachment cases.
In addition to ending majority rule, the routine practice of preemptive cloture is unconstitutional because it gives a minority bloc the equivalent of a veto power, a power that the Founding Fathers conferred only on the president.
But throughout the course of the 111th Congress, if a bill did not meet the approval of the minority bloc in the Senate, it was threatened with a filibuster. This threat was so powerful that it was tantamount to a veto. The veto could be "overridden" only if a supermajority of three-fifths could be found to support the bill. Most bills that came to the Senate from the House died by the hand of this veto -- no motion to proceed was even attempted.
Those bills that did get to the floor for debate had been heavily watered down to secure the concurrence of sixty Senators. Just as a president can strongly influence the content of legislation by threatening to veto it, the minority bloc was able to force bills be to considerably altered. As a consequence, the legislation that did pass was much less effective than it might have been.
For example, most economists thought that the stimulus package was too small to really jumpstart the economy and reduce unemployment. The health insurance reform that was finally passed failed to provide for the competition necessary to keep premiums low, and the financial reform legislation sidestepped the "too big to fail" problem and did little to deal with the risky financial instruments that are likely to become toxic assets.