(Bumped due to a publishing delay and to fix video issues.)
Well, the Democratic National Committee Convention of 2012 is in the history books and, as expected, Barak Obama is the nominee for President. That was hardly a surprise. What was very surprising was the matter of the Democratic Party Platform and the floor vote undertaken to attempt to fix it after the details of the platform were released to the public.
In 2008, the Democrat platform made mention of God, a central component of the religious beliefs of an overwhelming majority of Americans, exactly once and then only in reference to the skills and talents of Americans. It is arguable that this represents a position out of the mainstream of American thought, this relegation of God to a single utterance and then only as an adjective. It was a continuance of the Party’s stance from 2004 which was a reduction from the 2000 platform where God warranted mention something like 16 times. In 2012, however, that last, single mention was removed from the platform entirely. Senator Dick Durbin can be as outraged as he likes over how that looks (while he simultaneously dodges the question of why it was removed in the 1st place) but it’s not open to debate that the mention was, in fact, deliberately removed.
So, too, was the mention of any support on the part of the Democrat Party for the assertion by our ally Israel that its capital is Jerusalem. Again, this was actually in the 2008 platform but was explicitly dropped in the 2012 platform.
When the platform was officially published ahead of the acceptance vote by the convention, those 2 omissions were noted by America and the decision to do so was roundly denounced by Republicans as well as independents and Democrats who disagreed with the move. Now, according to the White House, the President was unaware of the omissions before that point and moved with haste to suggest – actually, to demand, from the sounds of it – that the 2008 language be reinstated. While the contention that the President knew nothing of the language of the platform is debatable, it was most certainly at his order that amendments were offered to put the 2008 language back. Fair enough and, to that point, all is proceeding in accordance with the rules. Amendments to the platform aren’t simple majority votes, however. They require 2/3rds of the delegates to vote for passage in order to be accepted. Witness here the proceedings as they occured that day at the Convention:
Pay attention to the voice votes requested. The first one was to “suspend the rules” in order to consider the amendments, something that also takes a 2/3rd majority. There is no doubt that more than 2/3rds of the delegates voting cast their vote in the affirmative, and the chair recognizes that. You can tell from the sound that there were far more people voting “aye” than “no.” So, the amendments are offered, discussion is called for (there was none) and then the vote was called. Listen carefully and ask yourself if you can honestly even tell which side, aye or no, actually had more votes. People that were there emphatically deny that you could tell. The audio on every recording made at the time confirms this. The chairman, LA Mayor Villaraigossa’s shock is all over his face because he knows that the vote was far to close to even call, let alone consist of a 2/3rds majority. The telepromter was already loaded with his lines to rule the platform amended (which begs the question about whether this was ever supposed to be a fair vote) but he just couldn’t proceed. Now, here’s where things start to skid out of control.
In the event that a voice vote is called in proceedings such as this and the clear and obvious sound of the vote cannot be determined to be for passage of the motion in question, the correct action is to begin a counted vote either by roll call or by written ballot. You cannot, within the rules, simply call a “do over” and re-run the voice vote! The motion was voted upon and that vote must stand on its own. If the voice vote was indeterminable, you can’t just do it again over and over until you get a result you like. But that is precisely what the DNC Convention chair did. And to make matters worse, he did it yet again when he realized the vote did not support passage. The rules are clear, you need 2/3rds to pass an amendment. Failing that, the amendment does not pass and the platform does not change.
The Democrats simply threw the rules aside to get the result President Obama desperately wanted to have. They didn’t even hold their own proceedings to be worthy of following their own rules. What makes anyone think they or the President who now through his own directed actions owns every word of this platform will abide by rules they didn’t make if they won’t abide by their own?
This party and this President cannot be trusted with the responsibility of controlling this nation’s government and that control needs to be taken from them. We need new leadership. We need to elect Romney and Ryan.