Anyone watching Democratic Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa gavel in the changes to the Democratic platform on Wednesday afternoon had to be amazed. Convention rules require a two-thirds vote in the affirmative to make changes at this late date. The response of the voting delegates on the floor was clearly not two-thirds for the ayes.
The party was clearly embarrassed because its platform failed to mention God and overlooked the party’s historic support for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. So, they managed to gavel it through. It reminds me of some deft chairing by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “We’ll have to pass this [2,700-page] bill to find out what’s in it.” That’s how she rammed Obamacare through the House of Representatives. That’s how she got to be the former speaker of the House.
The worst part of the Villaraigosa stumbling — apart from having to take the vote three times — were the loud boos from the convention floor. Who were those liberal delegates booing? God? Jerusalem? It kind of defeats the purpose of the fig leaves to have them blowing in the wind, doesn’t it?
This all reminds me of another quick change that didn’t quite work. General Winfield Scott was past 70 and well over 350 pounds when the Civil War broke out. He had to be helped onto his horse. He rode a gentle mare. After the war, when the time came to erect a statue to “Old Fuss ‘n’ Feathers,” the sculptor naturally enough depicted the hero mounted on his beloved mare.
The Scott family was horrified. A gallant soldier has to be shown riding a charger, they said, a fine stallion. So, the sculptor had to move fast. Like Chairman Villaraigosa, he added to the mare some necessary amendments. It was perhaps Washington’s first public sex-change operation. And just like the Democrats’ quick maneuvers, it wasn’t very convincing.
So now, the Democratic platform has been changed. Are we satisfied? Does anyone think that a party that has to be arm-wrestled into acknowledging God is sincere? A friend of mine tells the story of his pastor. The clergyman grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. It was his job to make oatmeal for his dad and his older brothers before they headed into the fields for a day’s work. One cold morning, the young farm boy forgot to put the salt into the pot as the oatmeal was cooking. So he threw it in on top and stirred it in. It tasted so bad, his dad and his brothers spat the stuff out.
Does anyone think that if he is re-elected President Obama will hasten to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? For the past four years, he has gone out of his way to avoid setting foot in Jerusalem. He’s been to Ankara, Turkey. He’s been to Cairo, Egypt. He went to Jakarta, Indonesia, where he denounced the Israelis for building apartments in Jerusalem. No Jews can live in Jakarta at all.
The Israelis were pretty generous. They said he could build all the apartments he wanted in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside D.C., and they wouldn’t criticize him for it.
Barack Obama has been all around Israel without ever setting foot in the Holy Land. Well, maybe next year he’ll go to Jerusalem.
What we saw on the convention floor in Charlotte was the real Democratic Party. It was hostile to religion and not very friendly to Israel. And that part is no joke.
Ronald Reagan was right when he said of his party: “I didn’t leave the Democrats; the Democrats left me.” This week, a lot more Americans feel that way.
Ken Blackwell was vice chairman of the 2008 GOP Platform Committee.