When 42 Democratic senators stood firm yesterday and used the filibuster to stop the Republicans from killing the Iran nuclear deal, it was another huge accomplishment for President Obama. He is building the kind of legacy we anticipated in 2009 . . . but that seemed impossible when he began his second term in 2013.
Now a win in the Middle East can be added to Obama's legacy: the triumph of diplomacy and negotiation over war mongering, the Affordable Care Act, the economic recovery, saving the auto industry, getting rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and being on the winning side of marriage equality, re-establishing diplomatic and economic ties with Cuba, and much more.
Of course, John Kerry and his team at the State Department deserve a major share of the credit for negotiating successfully with the Iranians and with our five partners. But getting 42 senators to support it is more than anyone expected. Credit Joe Biden with some of that. A couple of weeks ago, it was not even assured that Obama would get the 34 needed to sustain a veto. But it won't come to that, since the bill was killed by the filibuster.
Many people, myself included, would have like to have a vote on the merits of the deal itself. But there was no way they could have gotten 51 votes, with all Republicans opposed. They have no cause to complain on the use of the filibuster, since they routinely used it even for far less important matters when they were in the minority.