While listening to the opening of today's session of the Democratic National Convention, I heard some of the most remarkable political theater, at one of the most unexpected moments, that I've ever encountered.
Convention Chairman and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villarigosa introduced former Ohio Governor Tom Strickland who was the Chairman of the party's Platform Committee which has taken so much heat in the press over the past couple of days for removing any reference to God and certain positive statements regarding Israel, including recognition of Jerusalem as our ally's capital.
Strickland first asked for the rules to be suspended so he could move a motion. Villarigosa asked for a voice vote of the delegates, noting that a 2/3 majority was needed to approve the suspension of the rules. Based on the yells of the delegates in response, it was well above the 2/3 majority. In fact, Villarigosa obviously thought of the vote as such a foregone conclusion that he started saying (and I won't get the words precisely right) that "In the opinion of the chair, a sufficient majority has approved the suspension of the rules" even before the sound of the few "no" votes had stopped echoing in the room.
However, Strickland then went on to propose a 2-part amendment to the party platform: One item would add a reference to God back into the official document. And the second item would say that President Obama recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Villarigosa then went back to the delegates, saying that a 2/3 vote was needed to approve the amendment. He asked for the "ayes", which were quite loud, then asked for the "nays." Immediately after asking for the "nays" he started to say that in his opinion there was a sufficient majority, but the sound of the nays was so loud -- to me it was as loud as the "ayes". He stopped saying that there was a majority and asked again for the voice vote, and again the opposition was, to me, just as loud as the support.
Then (and since I'm traveling and can't go back and listen to it today, I hope one of you will...I was listening on CNN), I heard a quiet voice, apparently speaking to Villarigosa, mutter something like "let them do what they're going to do." Villarigosa asked for a third voice vote and this time, even though the support and the opposition sounded equally loud to me, said that in his opinion there was a 2/3 majority in support and the amendment to the platform was accepted.
I tell you, from how it sounded to me listening on satellite radio, there was no way it was a 2/3 majority.
I understand that Bill Clinton will be the big story of the DNC today, but this should be right up there.
Clearly a large number the Democrat delegates are perfectly happy with the platform as it was modified, to exclude God and Israel. And clearly the Democrat big-wigs brought this forward without talking to the delegates first. They are, after all, used to members of their party doing whatever they tell them to do because if you don't, you are likely to be reminded by Barack Obama himself that he is "keeping score."
Based on my score-keeping, the vote on the platform amendments was a tie, and the umpire lied.
Just the latest example of the petty tyrannies of the non-democratic Democratic Party.
Seriously, this needs to be the main story of today's Convention proceedings, if we can get through all of Bubba's hot air.