The night Joe Lieberman lost the 2006 Democratic senatorial primary in Connecticut, I was in the audience at Ned Lamont headquarters, loudly chanting "bring them home!"
Thursday, with over 100,000 supportive signatures from the Daily Kos community in hand, I was in the audience at the U.S. Capitol while Sen. Harry Reid gave his victory speech following the successful nuking of the filibuster.
As epic as it was to defeat Joe Lieberman seven years ago, Thursday's gutting of the filibuster was a much bigger victory for the progressive netroots. Here's why:
The key similarity
What makes primarying Joe Lieberman over his support for the Iraq war and nuking the filibuster both epic netroots victories is that both campaigns were conceived and incubated entirely within the progressive blogosphere and netroots.
When they started in 2005 and 2009 respectively, no one in traditional media, establishment progressive advocacy, or the Democratic leadership considered these campaigns to be in the realm of the possible (often, not even within the bounds of polite conversation). It was just a bunch of cheeto-munching bloggers and professional left types who embraced the ideas and slowly pushed them into the mainstream.
The key difference
In 2006, when Joe Lieberman returned to the Senate following his defeat in the primary, he was famously given a standing ovation by his Democratic colleagues.
Yesterday, the entire national Democratic congressional leadership, the heads of several major progressive advocacy organizations, and numerous big-time center-left media types were on hand to give Harry Reid a standing ovation for nuking the filibuster. Here is the video I took of that ovation with my phone:
This time, despite suffering repeated setbacks over several years, we eventually brought everyone in the Democratic - progressive ecosystem with us.
The result will be thoroughgoing, long-lasting change as the doors to the judicial branch of government are finally unlocked and thrown open to progressives. All the destructive court decisions we have recently suffered through on reproductive rights, on rights at work, on Citizens United, on the Voting Rights Act, on making the expansion of Medicaid optional to states and so much more—we now finally have a path to reverse all of that damage.
You did this, all 271,514 member of the Daily Kos community who collectively took nearly 1,000,000 actions relentlessly urging Senate Democrats to reform the filibuster. This is your victory. You were the pebbles that started this avalanche. You have made change happen.
Now please, take a bow, and never again doubt if the actions you take really make a difference.
What was known as the nuclear option yesterday is known as the Reid Rule today. Time will only tell if the Reid Rule is productive or destructive. But we'll leave that to the historians.Our very own David Waldman, aka Kagro X, gets some tremendous and well-deserved credit in that article. He really was the first pebble in all this.
As for how it became the Reid rule, it took a coordinated and sustained effort from an unlikely place -- progressive activists on the blogosphere.