“Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”
As the second day of the Democratic National Convention got underway, the Party leaders needed to get some old business out of the way. Conspicuously absent from this year’s Democratic platform was the mentioning of God and the mentioning of Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel. So, amidst serious criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, the Party sought to amend the platform. As delegates “booed” the inclusion of the aforementioned amendment to the platform, it would be safe to say that this is a public relations problem for the more-secular Party.
While nobody expected a sermon from the DNC, in past years there has been a mentioning of God as a nod to the Judeo-Christian ethic upon which our nation was founded. Further, as this administration has not been the biggest supporter of Israel, the conspicuous absence of a stipulation that Jerusalem is the capitol of the Jewish state seemed to add insult to injury for supporters of Israel.
So, amidst harsh criticism from both sides of the aisle, the Democratic Party decided to amend the platform approved just days earlier. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, the head of the Democratic National Convention called for a suspension of Party rules and allowed Ohio Governor Ted Strickland to propose an amendment to the platform. He stated,
“This summer, I was proud to serve this party as the platform drafting committee chair. I came before you today to discuss the two important matters related to our party’s national platform. As an ordained United Methodist Minister, I am here to attest and affirm that our faith and belief in God is central to the American story and informs the value we have expressed in our party’s platform. In addition, President Obama recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and our party’s platform should as well. Mr. Chairman, I have submitted my amendment in writing and I believe it is being projected on the screen for the delegates to see. I move adoption of the amendment as submitted and shown to the delegates.”
The amendments on the screen were as follows:
“We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”
“Jerusalem is and will remain the capitol of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”
I know, real fire-and-brimstone, inflammatory rhetoric, right?
After three votes, where the vocal votes from delegates were obviously half-yes and half-no, Mayor Villaraigosa, despite needing a two-thirds majority, ruled to include the amendments and the crowd showed their immense displeasure with “boos” and other jeers.
I honestly don’t know which is worse: that the crowd “booed,” or that the Democrats had to pull some Chicago-style politics to get God His honorable mention.
This is quickly becoming a public relations nightmare for the Democrats, as it alienates core constituencies. Recent polls show that black voters have become more and more disillusioned with the Democratic Party. While Obama’s support for gay marriage may have earned him favor amongst those that would have voted for him anyway, he has alienated many religious black voters throughout the South and some swing states.
Furthermore, recent polls indicate that Obama is losing ground with the Jewish population. With his waning support for the Jewish state already an issue, I don’t see the half-hearted, wishy-washy support for Jerusalem going over too well with Jewish voters.
The best part of this whole fiasco is that by conspicuously abandoning these key points, the Democrats effectively put themselves into a “damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t” situation as they have alienated the right (no loss there as they did that long ago), they alienated the religious, they alienated the supporters of Israel, and they irritated much of the left as they “caved” to pro-religion and pro-Israel forces. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed in the morning…
Overall, the DNC is pretty much as expected. It is the same recycled ideas and messaging. With very few exceptions, they trot out a circling lineup of speakers to appeal to peoples’ cultural identity. Black, woman, Latino, friend-of-the-working-man, repeat. It’s nothing special and it’s certainly nothing we haven’t heard before.