In a Tuesday post, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas celebrated the "genuine progress" American liberalism has made over the past ten years, but warned that it still must battle plenty of countervailing forces, including -- yes, NewsBusters readers -- a pro-conservative media.
Kos notes that Democrats now control the Senate, which wasn't the case in 2004, and observes that since then, the party's caucus in the upper chamber "has shifted significantly to the left," given the departure of supposed squishes like Evan Bayh and Tom Daschle as well as the arrival of progressives such as Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren. He also exults that fewer than two dozen Blue Dog Democrats remain in the House of Representatives, making today's House Dems as a group distinctly more liberal than a decade ago.
I haven't even gotten into policy: marriage equality, marijuana legalization, better access to health care, renewed push on economic issues (such as minimum wage hikes and broader discussion on income inequality), and so on. The Virginia election in 2013 was won on an explicitly liberal agenda.
We still have to contend with that GOP gerrymander in the House and at the state level (2010 was a huge step backward), with a conservative Supreme Court, and a media and political establishment that still overly defers to increasingly fringe Republicans. And of course, our party can be infuriatingly slow to change. But political change happens gradually, over time. And we've dramatically improved the quality and ideological cohesiveness of our Congress and are the beneficiaries of demographic trends that will only accelerate those changes.
Ten years ago, Howard Dean was branded "unelectable" because he supported civil unions. We've evolved dramatically as a society. We're nowhere close to where we want to be. But every once in a while, it's worth taking a deep breath and appreciating just how far we've come. We really are making genuine progress.