Once again, the only way to break the filibuster of a several-Senator filibuster is through cloture. It cannot be defeated by attrition. And if the majority cannot find 60 votes for cloture, it cannot pass a bill. Forcing a "live" filibuster might or might not win the spin game, but it would not stop the filibuster.
Nor would it overly inconvenience the minority. Friedman and Martin write:
The new-school filibuster would preserve minority rights in the Senate, while imposing significant costs on obstructionist members, changing the calculus that causes today’s logjam. Stuck on the Senate floor, filibustering senators couldn’t meet with lobbyists or attend campaign fund-raising events; they couldn’t do much of anything, really, until their filibuster ended.This is wrong. For a forty-one Senator filibuster, the minority could take turns holding the Senate floor, leaving one Senator to talk for a while while the others go about their normal business. Moving to a live filibuster would impose virtually no costs at all on obstructionist members, but considerable costs on the majority party, which would be unable to conduct other business.
Friedman and Martin talk about Jim Bunning's filibuster of an unemployment benefits extension, but I don't see how that helps their case, since Bunning was defeated under the current Senate practices once it turned out that he really was alone on the Senate side. It's really hard for me to see an argument for the relevance of tracking to the Bunning episode. Overcoming the objections of a single Senator simply require the will of the majority to do so; tracking has nothing to do with it, one way or another. And the fact that Republicans did not support Bunning has little relevance to bills and nominations in which Republicans are united and can muster 41 votes, anyway. The same, by the way, is true of holds in general, which have pretty much nothing at all to do with tracking.
On tracking, the bottom line is that it is a tool of the majority party for the convenience of the majority party. It does not make filibusters easier; it is a response by the majority to the fact that filibusters are easy under Senate rules. Both parties, under a variety of Majority Leaders, have used it, because it helps the majority. If you don't like the 60 vote Senate, then you should support a change in Senate rules to end the 60 vote Senate, because that's where the filibuster gets its strength, not from the tactics that majority parties have adopted to deal with it.
The full argument about live filibusters is here. See also filibuster scholar Greg Koger's comment about tracking here (down at the bottom, although the whole post and the entire series is very worthwhile).