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In what can easily be described as an uncomfortable three minutes for the Democratic National Convention, its chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was forced to take three, apparently close, voice votes from the delegates in Charlotte,  to amend the party's platform, Wednesday, to include mentioning God and affirming the party's belief in Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"Let's try that again," Villaraigosa told the crowd, when it was obvious he did not have the two-thirds majority needed to get the amendments included. After the third vote, which seemed just as close as the first two,  he declared, "In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds have voted in the affirmative, the motion is adopted."

"After the first one, and then the second one, then the next thing that should have happened, the chair should have called for a divided house," said Rex Richardson, a delegate from Long Beach, California, adding that's when "the whip should have gone out and collected votes."

But, said Richardson, who voted in the affirmative, "The chairman has to make the call, and nobody can make that call but him. He made the call, after the third time, that two-thirds had it, and there it is."

"My honest opinion of the voice vote was that there was not a two-thirds vote there, but parties get to play how parties get to play," said Massachusetts delegate, Steve Leibowitz, who also voted for the amendments. "It doesn't change anything qualitatively about the platform, so it didn't bother me."

Richardson agreed. "I read it. It didn't seem like it was anything I wouldn't necessarily be down with as a Democrat," he said, "so I voted in support of it. It didn't draw a red flag to me."

The amendments were offered by Gov. Ted Strickland, of Ohio, who was the chairman of the Platform Drafting Committee. According to reports, the White House ordered the change to the platform in response to Republican attacks at the absence of the specific language. In offering the amendment to restore the verbage, Strickland noted, "President Obama recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and our party's platform should as well."

"It takes one thing off the table that would come up in a debate or something like that," conceded Leibowitz.

The C-Span video of the process shows one delegate, near an Arab American Democrats sign, vehemently voting in the negative. According to the Council on American Islamic Relations, there are more than 100 Muslim American and Arab American delegates at the convention in Charlotte.

It should be noted, though, that there were far more than 100 nay votes on the amendment.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Some smart Party (4+ / 0-)

    Will realize someday that since the only people that care about these platforms are those serving on the platform committees, they'll drop the whole thing. I think that the only point of these platforms are to provoid fodder for the other Party to attack. I propose that this is the last Democratic platform, ever.

  •  It was not a close vote, from what I hear (10+ / 0-)

    The nays obviously outnumbered the ayes and the chair created his own reality to rule the way he was directed. Check out the full story from our old friend thereisnospoon.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 06:00:12 PM PDT

    •  And Debby Wasserman-Schultz (7+ / 0-)

      goes on CNN and quite obviously lies, saying it was clearly a 2/3 vote AND that it was just a technical point, not a vote on substance. She's feisty, and good on the issues. But as a flack for Hillary ("the FL primary absolutely should count!") and now for the DNC she really hurts us in the truthiness department.

      •  It was embarrassing from what I've read so far (8+ / 0-)

        From the Guardian:

        Barack Obama intervened personally to try and head off a mounting clamour from Jewish donors and pro-Israel groups who objected to the dropping of a line supporting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel from the Democratic policy platform.

        A day after the platform was published without the recognition of Jerusalem, the line was reinstated. Pressure had been building over not only the dropping of that statement – which was part of the Democratic party platform in 2008 – but also the removal of any reference to God in the document. Those omissions threatened to alienate both Jewish Democratic supporters and Christian swing voters.

        But the reintroduction of the lines was equally controversial; its clumsy handling resulting in a confusing vote and booing on the convention floor.

        At the formal opening of the day's business, the convention chairman, Antonio Villaraigosa, proposed a vote to return to the document its past commitment to Jerusalem as the Israeli capital as well as a reference to God.

        He called for those in favour of the change to shout 'Aye' and those against 'No'. It was a hard to tell, with the two sounding evenly-divided. Villaraigosa called the vote a total of three times to no certain result but eventually called it for the Ayes.

        In fact, the change required a two-thirds vote in favour and it definitely did not sound anywhere close to that. But Villaraigosa pushed it through anyway, determined to try to bring a speedy end to an awkward row. There was loud booing in the hall when he announced the changes had gone through.

        Jewish donors, particularly in New York, and pro-Israeli lobby groups are generous supporters not only to Obama but to individual senators and members of the House, who are also facing election in November. The changes were pushed through after Obama contacted party leaders asking for their reinstatement.

  •  first cave of the 2nd term (9+ / 0-)
    According to reports, the White House ordered the change to the platform in response to Republican attacks at the absence of the specific language
    This should answer the question of whether the administration will go left after the election. It won't and we'll have to make the best of it.

    If our values are on the left we'll have to figure out other ways to get things done, probably locally and then we can worry about 2016.

  •  Concern trolls: (5+ / 0-)

    Please go cry in your pillows and stop writing diaries on this.  The President made the call to reinstate "God" into the party platform.  Some delegates objected.  The motion was passed.  Now, along with several other mentions of faith and religion, the word "God" now appears in the Democratic party platform.

    Move along...

    "The shame would be if Democrats get thrown out of office without ever having tried Democratic policies." -Bill Maher

    by DirkFunk on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 06:09:35 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for your CONCERN n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    volleyboy1, Dave in Northridge
  •  This is a mess-up and trying to fobid (14+ / 0-)

    discussion of it by labeling diarists and posts as concern trolling is pathetic. Get out and read a few other sites and see how this is being reported. It is being reported as either a screw-up or a cave-in and it was entirely self-inflicted either by poor vetting of the original platform or poor implementation of the changes or by ramming through changes a majority of the delegates didn't want. Take your pick.

    To the censors - The cookie still exists even when Mommy hides it away.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 06:27:29 PM PDT

  •  No spine in this party (5+ / 0-)

    All the apologists are trying to hush this away.

    Keep moving to the right and keep rationalizing it...

    You've become so skilled at doing just that.

    •  Yeah, we have no spine. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      volleyboy1, charliehall2

      Because we spend all our time fighting to for gay and women's and minority rights, combating global warming, poverty, and lack of affordable health care. But we have no spine because we put the word God in our platform, and a meaningless sentence that says that our embassy should be in Jerusalem (even though it's not and there's no plans on moving it there).

      Politics is a serious business. If you think what our platform says, one way or the other, is important enough to sabotage the election, you are not so serious.

      •  All compromised (0+ / 0-)

        You take crumbs and pretend they're cake.

        This party faithful continue to rationalize even the most obvious things that are staring them in the face. The worst part about this behavior is the fact that they can't even admit it to themselves which allows the party to keep getting dragged to the right. Because the party faithful resemble the other side in their picking and choosing of accountability, their inability to admit they are wrong and that their candidate's feet also should be held to the fire as well, nothing will change. Which is why I can only conclude that we need to rebuild the left.

        Meanwhile, Republicans say jump, Democrats say uh do I have to jump so high this time guys? When what the Democrats sorely need is a push back towards the left.

        "Politics is a serious business." That's a setup to rationalize compromise as a policy platform. How often do you use it? Are you able to apply it to Bush's third term on the war on terror as well? I mean both Bush and Obama have made all the atrocities that come with our 'war on terror' so blasé as it is.

        Thomas Frank nailed it in this month's Harpers magazine.
        Obama’s squandered hope

        Lofgren is also dead on in his summary of what's happened to the Democratic party:

        I think they got complacent during the '60s, '70s, and '80s. And then finally after that period, they woke up, found they had lost three straight presidential elections. So they had to retool and make themselves more corporate friendly.

        ...Absolutely. And it certainly helped Bill Clinton get elected. And while he did some good things like balancing the budget, he also unleashed Wall Street by repealing Glass-Steagall, and he signed bills that would end regulation on derivatives. So he is at least to some degree responsible for the Wall Street debacle.

        ....And that's how, to quote a third of your subtitles, “The Middleclass Got Shafted”?

        MIKE LOFGREN: Both parties don't really seem to care about having a vibrant manufacturing base in this country, regardless of their rhetoric. I remember throughout the '90s the Clinton administration was lobbying relentlessly for free trade deals. And the promise for each one was, it will bring jobs to America. And in every case, the jobs left.

        The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted
        •  Oh brother. Dude, we're winning, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and we're the good guys. A positive attitude is what is needed this close to the election. Enough with Negative Nancy.

          •  Oh brother dude? (0+ / 0-)

            I should not even bother responding since you're stuck in the happy-go-lucky denial state of being. So, winning is all that matters, even if you're looking more and more like Republicans every day. So what if you continually compromise to do it? Gotta win and maintain that positive, unthinking attitude!

            Republicans say jump, you say well how high this time? And then you clap and smile because you're doing it altogether.

            And yet that is exactly what has happened over the past four years. When the president said and did all the things I have listed here, he no doubt thought he was reaching across the aisle, as the expression goes. Everyone could see that he has adopted many of the other party’s positions, that he was using their rhetoric, that he was showing respect for their values and bowing to their household gods.

            Back in the Clinton years, such moves [embracing the corporate state and deregulation of Wall Street] were hailed as a kind of advanced political judo, throwing Republicans off balance. This time, though, the skills are all on the other side. Republicans have grasped that if the contest is not about issues but the relative position of the two parties, then they are free to move ever rightward, dragging the center with them, always keeping it a few inches away from the president’s anxious, conciliatory grasp.

            And why not? Since what they say and demand today will probably be what he (or his centrist successor) says and demands tomorrow, the obvious choice is to keep escalating those demands and that rhetoric. And by insisting with such unanimity on the absurd charge of “socialism,” they have actually done a very canny thing: they have defined whatever Obama embraces – bank bailouts, kill lists, herding the public into the arms of private insurers – not as the Democratic mainstream, but as the outermost fringe of the party.

            Historians often say of Franklin Roosevelt that he “saved capitalism” by steering the nation through the Great Depression with relatively little upheaval. Sure, he reformed the banking system, built strong regulatory agencies, and saw to it that organized labor flourished, but compared with what might have happened, FDR’s New Deal was mild.

            What Barack Obama has saved is a bankrupt elite that by all rights should have met its end back in 2009. He came to the White House amid circumstances similar to those of 1933, but proceeded to rule like Herbert Hoover. Today the banks are as big as ever, and he has done precious little about it. The regulatory system is falling apart, and he is too ideologically demure to tell us why. Organized labor is crumbling, and has done almost nothing to help it recover. Meanwhile, the people who told us finance was king, that the “new economy” changed all the rules, that we didn’t really need a strong supervisory state – those people are still riding high, still making their pronouncements from the heights of the op-ed page and the executive branch.

            And while Obama and his fellow Democrats have been off chasing postpartisan soap bubbles, the right has seized the opportunity to make itself into the great expression of hard-times protest. When unemployment is high this time around, it is the right – with its mythology of heroic “job creators” – that we ask to rescue us. It is the right that talks about the little people, about smashing the cozy Beltway consensus, about bringing in a whole new crop of leaders.
            As I watched this upside-down unrest emerged, I used to wonder how long it would take Obama to switch on his inner FDR and start grappling with the nation’s problems the way they obviously needed to be grappled with. The years passed, and I finally realized this was never going to happen. Then a different possibility started to dawn on me: Maybe a second New Deal is precisely what Obama was here to prevent. Maybe that was the hope all along.

        •  Supporting Israel is NOT moving to the right! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Supporting Arab dictators would be, though.

          •  I know, those Palestinians don't really exist. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Friendlystranger, mickT

            Oh and do you mean dictators like Mubarak? You know the guy that Israel was angry at Obama for not supporting more vocally as the Egyptian people rose up to tear him down?

            The good thing is that your nonsense is becoming harder to sell to the public today.

  •  What about supporting the Philippines? ROC-Taiwan? (0+ / 0-)

    Where is the U.S. when the Philippines is trying to defend it's claim to the Spratly Islands?  Why is there not as enthusiastic support for the Philippines when it's trying to keep these oil-rich islands away from a Totalitarian, Expansionist Communist China and Communist Vietnam as "supporting Israel"?

    The Philippines is an island of individual rights and democratic government in the sea of totalitarian Asia--it's basically part of America.  Who would you rather buy Spratly Islands oil from, Expansionist Communist China or The Philippines?

    Also the Democratic Party needs to affirm that Republic of China--Taiwan is the legitimate government of China.  Mainland China needs a democratic government and America is obligated to support democracy over totalitarian government.

    Metricating removes gas-guzzlers from the road. Good for the economy and the environment! U.S. Metric Association

    by movingforward on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 06:39:27 PM PDT

  •  WTF? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, reset, Euroliberal

    The Republicans had a far right platform, while the Democrats changed the part of their platform that Republicans didn't like.

    Dear Obama, when people tell you to show some backbone, they mean against Republicans, and not against liberals.

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 07:17:22 PM PDT

  •  Jay Carney just had a facepalm. n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  What the heck was the God language? (0+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:45:38 PM PDT

  •  The most serious thing about this IMO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mokurai, elliott

    is that the person at the podium pulled a Sununu to get what he was ordered to get. Simply rejecting votes until the parliamentarian told him he could do whatever he wanted, most likely.  Not related to what was in fact heard in the hall several times at all. We have to be careful that we as a party do not become what we beheld last week in Tampa where the same Chairman stunt was pulled by Sununu when he was the Chair of the Rules committee and Romney's people wanted to eliminate primaries and caucuses starting in 2016 and Sununu gave them exactly what they wanted, including eliminating duly elected Paul delegates and squashing his committee to do it.

    From my point of view, Villaraigosa has become what he beheld, and  demonstrated why he should not go forward in national  party consideration, because supposedly chairs are the servants and helpers of the actual delegates who actually should be making policy. There is to me something inherently foul about a chair deliberately overruling a vote, especially when the vote is required to be two thirds in favor, and nobody has said the Ayes were heard to have that much. This is too much like crude manipulation for me, completely aside from the issues involved, the Jerusalem part of which is much more serious than it looks to some here.

    I'm still trying to figure out why one could say God was eleminated from the Dems after the Sister on the Bus testified.

  •  I was watching live on C-SPAN (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elliott, Euroliberal

    and I was furious at Strickland, Obama, and Villaraigosa for this craven and anti-democratic behavior. The Jerusalem language is stupid and evil. To Palestinians, saying that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel is a Dog Whistle for saying that the Jews [sic] get all of Jerusalem, and the Palestinians get bupkes. [There are no Palestinians. Israel was empty when the Jews started to move there in the 19th century. And other such pernicious, racist nonsense.]

    And in addition to all of that, now I have no hope of getting my ultra-Progressive friend to vote for Obama. He says that he refuses to reward Obama for going along with the Republican attacks on Medicare and Social Security, and here it is again on Israel/Palestine.

    As a Buddhist, I am not that keen on God, either, although I accept that Obama is.

    Hey, Mitt! Thanks for ObamneyCare.

    by Mokurai on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 08:25:07 AM PDT

  •  Well, the platform vote fiasco is more evidence (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the US is not an honest broker for peace in the Middle East.  The Palestinians react:

    The Democrats on Wednesday restored language in the platform saying Jerusalem "is and will remain the capital of Israel." A day earlier, the language had been removed from the platform, prompting Republicans to question U.S. President Barack Obama's support for Israel.

    The language is at odds with U.S. policy calling for the status of Jerusalem to be resolved through negotiations. Both Israel and the Palestinians claim east Jerusalem.

    Nabil Abu Rdeneh, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Thursday the Democrat's decision might just be "election propaganda." He said a failure to recognize the Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem will "destroy the peace process" and lead to "endless war."
  •  Bring on the fainting couches. n/t (0+ / 0-)

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