Barack Obama, his Democratic Party, and most of the major groups that form the American Left thought that Obama’s election victory was a guarantor of virtually any agenda they wished to pursue in 2013.
They’re finding out it won’t be quite that easy.
The Senate decided to pass legislation concerning the filibuster that was a watered-down version of the radical changes the Obama Administration and its allies wanted. This was one of three major issues on the plate for more than thirty groups representing the power players of the American Left that met in Washington in December at National Education Association (NEA) headquarters to discuss cohering in pursuing their common agenda. They called themselves the Democracy Initiative.
The groups included the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Communication Workers of America (CWA), NAACP, League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth, Public Campaign, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, Common Cause, Voto Latino, the Demos think tank, Piper Fund, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, People for the American Way, National People’s Action, National Wildlife Federation, the Center for American Progress, the United Auto Workers, and Color of Change.
The three issues the Democracy Initiative wanted to purse most strongly were campaign finance reform that would lock out wealthy Republican donors, making same-day registration for voting available, and most importantly, changing the rules of the filibuster. Hard-left senators Tom Harkin (Iowa) and Tom Udall (New Mexico) had plans to cut down the use of filibusters, which the GOP has been using to stop Barack Obama’s plans in the Senate. By using the filibuster, the GOP forced the Democrats to come up with 60 votes, which made it difficult for them to pass their legislation.
But Harry Reid folded his hand and agreed to a deal with Mitch McConnell, falling far short of what the Left wanted.
As a result, the entire Left in the media and the government was nearly hysterical because they saw that Obama’s presidency would not have a rubber-stamp Congress.
Some of the many quotes follow:
“Progressive senators working to dramatically alter Senate rules were defeated on Thursday…” The Huffington Post
“a blow to progressive lawmakers pushing for more dramatic reform.” MSNBC
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blew it. He had the votes for serious filibuster reform in the palm of his hand, and he chickened out.” San Jose Mercury News
“…a capitulation by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid…” Common Cause
“Real Filibuster Reform Appears to Be Dead in the Senate … it is a stinging defeat…” Mother Jones
President Barack Obama “might as well take a four-year vacation” Sen. Tom Harkin
“…doesn’t go anywhere near far enough…” Sen. Bernie Sanders
“…filibuster reformers have lost once again.” Ezra Klein
“‘Filibuster Reform’ Deal Is a Joke” Rolling Stone
“…disappointing filibuster reform deal… certainly was a disappointing end to this chapter.” Greg Sargent
“…Republicans have little to fear. The filibuster is safe.” Ezra Klein
“…a missed opportunity to provide meaningful filibuster reform…” Fix The Senate Now
“I’m disappointed. I think it was a missed opportunity.” Joan Walsh
“Winners… Republicans ” Think Progress
“The dream of filibuster reform is over … Who lost, though — well, that’s much clearer.” The Atlantic
“…’filibuster reform’ deal that doesn’t reform the filibuster” Dave Weigel
“Very sad hallway convo with Harkin…” Dave Weigel
“It’s a terrible disappointment…” Hullabaloo
“… leading reformers are so disappointed in the outcome.” TPM
“…the outlines fall far short…” Daily Kos
“does not go as far as we would like … we remain disappointed…” Alliance For Justice
Message to conservatives: enough small victories like that are like a wave on the ocean; it starts small out at sea, but by the time it crashes on the 2014 beach, it could be a tsunami.