Yesterday, the Democrats turned back—somewhat—on their error of the day before. They restored some (not all) the words about God and Jerusalem that they struck during Tuesday’s session. But to do it, they totally mocked their own rules and any semblance of parliamentary law. Now only the most blind voter will believe that the Democrats are at all sincere.
Democrats realize their mistake
On Tuesday, the Democrats approved a platform that did not mention God at all. Neither did it mention that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. (King David captured Jerusalem, then home of the Jebusites, in the seventh full year of his reign, on or about 1048 BC. He made the city his capital. Jerusalem has been the capital of “Israel” or “Judah” or “Judea Province” ever since.)
Putative President Barack Obama saw the changed platform. He didn’t object then. But he seems to have objected later. Why? Because the public cried out in outrage. So someone prevailed on former Governor Ted Strickland (D-OH) to move to suspend the rules, and then move to amend the platform. (Strickland held the chair of the platform writing committee.)
Robert’s Rules of Order, first edition, 1876.
The first video below shows what happened next. Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa (Vee-yah-ray-GO-sah), Democratic Mayor of Los Angeles, CA, recognized Strickland. Strickland moved to suspend the rules. Villaraigosa asked for a second, and got several. The Party’s rules say that a motion to suspend the rules is not subject to debate and needs a two-thirds vote of everyone present. (Robert’s Rules of Order has the same kind of rule.) Here Villaraigosa made his first mistake: he called for a voice vote. Any moderator must call the roll, or take some kind of vote that he or the secretary can count.
On the motion to suspend the rules, the voice vote did not matter much. Very few Democrats raised their voices to object. Then Villaraigosa let Strickland offer his amendment.
And then came the most embarrassing display in the annals of parliamentary law. The Republicans did something like this last week. The chairman deliberately mis-called a voice vote when the “noes” had it. But the Democrats did worse. Three times Villaraigosa asked for “ayes” and “noes.” Three times most delegates shouted, “No!” After the second shout, a woman (probably the Party clerk) said,
You’ve got to rule, and then you’ve got to let them do what they’re going to do.
Villaraigosa did not. Instead he called for voice votes the third time. C-SPAN clearly shows one delegate, an Arab (probably from the Michigan delegation), waving his hands to emphasize his shout of “No!” Incredibly, Villaraigosa ignored the noes.
In the opinion of the chair, two-thirds have voted in the affirmative, the motion is adopted, and the platform has been amended as [you can see] on the screen.
Some reports suggested that the “ayes” had it, but not by two-thirds. But a careful listener can tell easily that the noes had it.
The worst evidence came this morning on Fox and Friends. An alert reporter took a screen cap of the TelePrompTer on the podium. It showed Villaraigosa’s remarks exactly as he made them, word for word. How could this be? Only one way: Villaraigosa followed a script, and would do anything to stay on that script no matter how the Democrats voted. That’s why he did not take a roll-call vote, or any other vote that someone could count. Because he knew that the motion to amend the platform would not only fail of the two-thirds, but would not even get fifty-percent-plus-one. So instead he took a voice vote, and construed it to follow the script. Delegates, in outrage, cried “Boo!”
Why the Democrats are Not Sincere
No one can accept the Democrats as sincere in setting their platform right. That travesty of parliamentary law is the clearest, most obvious reason. In fact, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz tried to defend what Villaraigosa did to CNN (and also how things even got to this pass). Anchor Anderson Cooper said she lived in “an alternate universe.” (And a colleague asked snarkily whether she
ever got away with [saying], “My dog ate my homework.”
But CNAV can cite two more:
The Democrats did not put the platform back the way it read in 2008. It restored two sentences about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel. It said nothing about pressing the Arabs to accept a new State of their own outside Israel.
The Democrats still have an extremeplatform. It calls for abortion on demand, at any stage of pregnancy, at taxpayer expense. That can never be consistent with respect for God.
The Republicans already have a TV spot showing Villaraigosa calling for three voice votes, and the noes having it every time, no matter what he said. Specifically, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is using that footage in his Congressional race.