w00t, w00t! Get FISA Right finishes #5 in Ideas for Change! Congratulations and great job all!

With a late rush,  Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties squeaked into the #5 position in the change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition with 12285 votes!

Alas, even though our other endorsement Bob Fertik’s Appoint a Special Prosecutor for the Crimes of the Bush Administration picked up over 500 votes this morning, it appears to have fallen heartbreaking short by just 19 votes.   Still, overall, wow, what a huge success for Get FISA Right — and civil liberties!

Just think about it: despite virtually no help from the progressive blogosphere or 501(c)3s, we more than held our own against some really tough competition: big mailing lists, political allies.*   It’s an incredible validation of the power of our grassroots approach and social network advocacy.  Yay us!  And it’s yet another clear sign that no matter what they think in Washington and the mainstream media, Americans do see the Constitution and the rule of law as a priority right up there with health care, peace, sustainability, and drug law reform.

So thanks to everybody who was a part of this.  Once again, I’d especially like to acknowledge Democrats.com and DreamActivist.org for including us in their last-minute mailings … it made a big difference.  Neocons’ worst nightmare, indeed!  Thanks also to Jason Rosenbaum of The Seminal for a big endorsement this morning.  Within Get FISA Right, it was definitely a team effort, so thanks all around — with extra thanks to  Thomas and Patrick who really stepped forward in the last 24 hours.

Of course, there’s still a lot to do.  Most importantly we need to think about launching President Obama, please get FISA right.  We’ll ask change.org if we can get it up on their site, and start working with MySpace as quickly as possible;** tactically, it’d be great to doing a media release combining Ideas for Change win with our  inauguration video.  It would be ideal to get this out on Monday; we’ve started on a draft here.   And there’s a new change.gov project called Citizens’ Briefing Book; John and Craig are working on submitting an idea there and will have more to say soon.

For now, though, the first order of business: celebrate our success!  Congratulations, all, and thanks once again!


* For example, Department of Peace soared to #2 on Wednesday after mailings from Yoko Ono, Marianne Williamson, and Dennis Kucinich.

** I’ve exchanged email with Ben Rattray of change.org and we’ll be talking after their event tomorrow, at which point I should have more details.


13 Responses to w00t, w00t! Get FISA Right finishes #5 in Ideas for Change! Congratulations and great job all!

  1. jonpincus says:

    And, lest I forget, congratulations as well to the other top 10 ideas — it’s an excellent and very diverse group!

    Props also to the other ideas in the finals. It was a tough competition and there was plenty of effective advocacy. Excellent work!

  2. Victor says:

    Jon, thanks for all your hard work and amazing dedication.

  3. slinted says:

    Congrats on the #5 finish! As you said in your post, it’s amazing how well you did without big league support. Go-go internet grassroots!

  4. Victor says:


    I have the feeling we need to read and understand this article from today’s New York Times:


    Intelligence Court Rules Wiretapping Power Legal
    Published: January 16, 2009
    The ruling validated the president’s power to wiretap international phone calls without a court order.

    “Barack Obama, then a United States senator, was highly critical of the presidential wiretapping power claimed by Mr. Bush, and threatened to filibuster the final bill. But he ultimately voted for it, angering some of his liberal supporters. His administration is expected to examine possible changes in wiretapping law and operations, a review that will probably be affected by the findings of the FISA appeals court.”

  5. jonpincus says:

    Excellent article, Victor, thanks for the link! A couple of key excerpts:

    The opinion did not directly rule on the legality of the once-secret operation authorized by President Bush between October 2001 and early 2007, which allowed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on the international communications of Americans suspected of ties to terrorists….

    Still, the new ruling is expected to have broad implications for federal wiretapping law, because it is the first time that any appeals court has ruled on the constitutional question of the president’s wiretapping power.

    Also, the court found that the Protect America Act did not violate the Constitution because the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, contained an exception for the collection of foreign intelligence information.

  6. psychicwars says:

    Jon and everyone,
    Great work!!! I really started to get nervous when we were hovering around the #9 & #10 spots. I also think we owe Bob Fertik and democrats.com a debt of gratitude for working collaboratively with us.

  7. slw says:

    Great job Jon and all the others who helped make this happen! And thanks for letting us know. I can sleep tonight. I went to the site and could only find our Idea ranked 10th, which really scared me, along with the notice that the ten winners would be announced later.

    And thanks Victor for posting that link.

  8. jonpincus says:

    And thanks all for the praise! I was pretty nervous too — as we dipped down to #10 I remember sending people some email saying “I’m freaking out a little here”. Any idea could have surged the way Secretary of Peace did …

    And yes, we owe Bob and Democrats.com big thanks — as well as anonymous DREAM Activists at DreamActivist.org, who had a ringing endorsement of us and included a link to our idea in their final day ‘action’ mail. These are alliances that’ll outlast the competition too, especially since we managed to help them as well. In my day job, I’m a strategist, and my research partner Sarah Blankinship and I have spent several years looking at different “team of rivals” strategies … I’ve never seen quite as pure an example as here.

  9. ravenwind says:

    Great work, and back pats to all of us who reached out to all our own contacts to widen the possibilities.

    Jon, you’re amazing!

  10. Gail Forman Flackett, says:

    I want to congratulate you on all the work that you have done. I did send your notes off to my lists. I hope that they contributed their votes too. Gail

  11. […] videos at the Republican National Convention and during the Inauguration. In January 2009, we finished #5 in Ideas for Change in America with over 12000 votes, holding our own against ideas with sponsorship from non-profits and groups […]

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