The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, had some unusually effusive praise for Sen. Chris Dodd’s farewell Senate speech on Tuesday.

McConnell called Dodd’s remarks “one of the most important speeches in the history of the Senate.” He added that no one else has “so cogently” laid out why the uniqueness of the Senate, with its arcane rules, is so important to protect. McConnell even said that he would offer it up as recommended reading for everyone serving in the body.

Why such gushing words from McConnell, a fierce partisan not known for warm relations with the opposing party?

Perhaps it’s because Dodd’s speech laid out a compelling case against changing the Senate’s traditions: most notably the filibuster, a tool the minority party can use to block the agenda of the minority.

McConnell has made ample use of this procedure, and it’s unlikely he will curb his inclinations to do so in the next Congress, when his party, still in the minority, will wield even more power in the sharply divided chamber.

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