Nate Silver thinks Harry Reid is being an ineffective Senate majority leader because he’s letting the GOP get away with holds without the traditional filibuster. However, as I pointed out here in 2003 (and also here later that year), the traditional filibuster is far more burdensome on the majority when the minority is bigger than a single senator; while you need 60 majority senators to be on-call to break the filibuster, all you need at any given point of time is a single minority senator to hold the floor.
Ultimately the “cot drama” makes for nice TV, but dragging out the cots probably won’t win him any friends among the supermajority of senators he needs to break the minority. These problems have also vexed other majority leaders of both parties—if there’s a common theme to in-partisans’ complaints about their majority leaders, it’s “ineffectuality,” without much recognition that Senate majority leaders are institutionally weak and individual senators like it that way. It probably doesn’t hurt that most senators have served in the House and the last thing they want is to have another Speaker trying to boss them around.
On a related topic, McQ points out that the bailout had enough GOP support in the Senate to pass if Reid had successfully herded his party’s cats. But again being a good cat-herder isn’t really the qualification that fellow senators want when choosing their majority leader, so I’m not sure anyone in Reid’s position would have been able to do a better job.