2012 was a pretty good year for those of a progressive/liberal political point of view and Winning Progressive has compiled a good summary. You can read the entire article here, but I’ve pulled out some of my particular favorites – in my own order of significance.
First I have to talk about Mitch McConnell who not only lost his effort to make President Obama a one-termer, but last night voted to increase taxes. (Although since it happened after we technically went off the cliff at midnight, he will probably spin it as a decrease.) I think he an John Boehner were the big losers last year, not Mitt. Mitt is done with politics, but McConnell and Boehner have to continue to try to herd their Republican members and get re-elected.
So now to some accomplishments.
* President Obama Re-Elected With A More Diverse and Progressive Congress– The November elections saw the re-election of President Obama and the election of four new progressive U.S. Senators – Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). In addition, Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is finally leaving the Senate! On the House side, the Democrats elected in November will be the first major party caucus in US history that is majority female and people of color. New House progressives will include Alan Grayson (FL-09), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), Grace Meng (NY-06), Patrick Murphy (FL-18), Rick Nolan (MN-08), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Mark Tacano (CA-41), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), and Kyrsten Simena (AZ-09). On the flip side, tea party conservatives Allen West (FL), Chip Cravaack (MN), Bobby Schilling (IL), Roscoe Bartlett (MD), Ann-Marie Buerkle (NY), Francisco Canseco (TX), and Joe Walsh (IL) were all defeat and, hopefully, will never be heard from politically again.
* LGBT Equality– 2012 was, of course, a banner year for advancing LGBT equality. For the first time in US history, equality was supported by a majority of voters facing ballot proposals approving marriage equality in Maine, Washington, and Maryland, and refusing to ban equality in Minnesota. The first openly lesbian U.S. Senator, Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) was elected in November as were a record seven openly-gay House members. President Obama publicly supported marriage equality, and anti-equality forces in Iowa failed in their effort to recall a state Supreme Court justice who declared that state’s ban on marriage equality unconstitutional. In February, a federal appellate court ruled California’s anti-marriage equality Proposition 8 unconstitutional, and two federal courts in 2012 did the same with the Defense of Marriage Act.
* Health Care Reform – In a decision that surprised many commentators, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare.”And while the GOP-controlled House has voted at least 33 times to repeal ObamaCare, President Obama’s re-election in November virtually guarantees that will never occur. In implementing ObamaCare, the Obama Administration, standing up to strong opposition from conservative religious organizations, finalized rules requiring that contraception be included as a preventive health service that insurance policies must cover with no co-pay. This will help millions of women afford access to birth control and also save money by reducing unintended pregnancies.
Those are my personal big three.
Yes, there is a lot left to do and a lot that happened that I didn’t particularly think was terrific, but on the first day of a new year, we should celebrate our successes!
- Senate’s New Year’s Cliff Deal Shifts Pressure to Boehner – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Obama Pushes for Marriage Equality in Illinois (advocate.com)