There is one simple thing Republicans can do to retaliate. They can start by ending the Democrat super-majority on legislative issues. They can easily pledge to filibuster every piece of legislation and deny all requests for unanimous consent until the rules change is overturned.
How would Harry Reid respond to a complete shutdown of the Senate? Would he abolish the filibuster even for legislation? Let him try. But for now, he has nothing to fear from just eliminating the filibuster on judges because he knows Republicans will not retaliate. Reid knows that there is not a single issue where McCain, Corker, Graham, and Alexander will now withhold support simply because they were stiffed with the nuclear option.
Just an hour after Reid blew up the Senate, Republicans rewarded him by not objecting to the first unanimous consent. Every day, standing committees need consent to conduct hearings. This is a prime opportunity to grind the Senate to a halt until Reid changes his ways.
Harry Reid has identified a soft target. And until we change GOP leadership in the Senate, he will keep punching.